February 2012, N2  

By Victor Volsky             


Is President Obama the mastermind of the radical left movement or merely its symbol? Actually, it doesnt matter. What matters is that the socialist project, which had been nearly a century in the making, in 2008 came to fruition winning the presidential election and seizing power. And whether the face of the movement, Barack Obama, is indeed its leader or just a puppet of a revolutionary cabal is purely academic. Still, trying to divine the truth is an intriguing, intellectually stimulating game. So let me take a stab at it. And no, Im not going to indulge in guesswork, trying to penetrate the veil of mystery surrounding Obama, a man without a past. My intention is to arrive at an answer by induction from what is a matter of public record and what is in plain view.

The more one watches the 44th US President, the more certain it becomes that he is not the person David Axelrod and Co. successfully foisted on the public during the 2008 election campaign; that he is, in fact, the Wizard of Oz, the little man behind the curtain, an empty suit; that the image of a giant who bestrides the world, orders the oceans to recede and heals the planet is a fruit of relentless propaganda and a figment of his sycophants imagination. There are certain personality traits a true revolutionary leader must possess, yet Obama exhibits none of them (other than perhaps the perfect crease of his pants leg deemed by some to be an essential condition of presidential greatness).

The character profile of a true revolutionary leader, a Robespierre, a Lenin or a Hitler, is well-known. The revolutionary giant is a person of titanic energy and vigor, seething with implacable hatred for the status quo (the talent for hatred is the real key to the revolutionary character); a man (or, on rare occasions, a woman) so obsessed with power that everything else pales into insignificance. Characteristically, true revolutionary leaders have been ascetics indifferent to worldly pleasures. Power for powers sake, not its perks, is the real fuel they run on. Indeed, hedonistic urges are the Achilles heel of many lesser revolutionary lights who, finding themselves in the lap of luxury, quickly go soft, lose their edge and are brought down by leaner and hungrier rivals.

Furthermore, the revolutionary giant is typically a person of considerable intellectual vigor and an enormous capacity and taste for work. He is also tough-minded, highly disciplined and possessed of an indomitable will. Finally, he must be charismatic and able to bend people to his will by force of his magnetic personality. It took Hitler just one face-to-face conversation with a bitter enemy, Joseph Goebbels, to win him over once and for all and instill in him a dog-like devotion to his master that Goebbels never lost till his dying breath.

Does Barack Obama exhibit any of these qualities? Alas for his admirers, he fails on all counts. His limp-wristed demeanor, more typical of a world-weary courtier than a king, bespeaks indolence rather than energy. What we know about his schedule is certainly no evidence of a workaholic. Endless hours spent on the golf links, a net of three months over the last three years, so that his caddy has far more face time with the President than any member of his cabinet. Frequent, prolonged vacations in posh spots. Regular, come-hell-or-high-water, parties at the White House, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Sybaritic habits and expensive tastes in food (Wagyu beef which sells for upwards of $150 per pound is said to be a particular favorite) matching his spouses exorbitant tastes in clothes. Lack of intellectual curiosity (even his associates and allies admit that he is an intellectual light-weight). Fixation on middle-brow TV entertainment and sports.

Obama is sloth incarnate, known for a determined abhorrence of steady, nose-to-the-grindstone work and an equally determined love of leisure. Whenever possible, the President shirks the duties of his office. He detests being in the White House and never misses an opportunity to escape its confines. How much time does he devote to work? And what is his definition of work? Flying about the country with a set of teleprompters to deliver endless variations on the same tired, stock-in-trade campaign speech - and thats about it. Come to think of it, can anyone imagine a true leader leaning on the teleprompter like a convalescent patient on his walker?

But what about his grand projects, the Stimulus and Obamacare? Arent they evidence of persistent effort? But he never presented the actual bills, allowing his allies, Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House, to do all the heavy lifting. He is just fine with the Senate refusing to pass a budget for almost three years budget matters are so-o-o boring, its only lonely green-eyeshade fanatics like Paul Ryan like to deal with it. On other big issues, like the appallingly burgeoning national debt, he would grandly appoint a bipartisan commission, creating a simulacrum of activity, only to blithely ignore its recommendations. In statecraft, outsourcing is not work, its avoidance of work.

True leaders are serious people, they are too focused on the brass ring to indulge in childish pranks or ostentatiously flaunt utter disrespect for good manners. At a debate during the primary season in 2008, Obama flipped off Hillary Clinton while pretending to wipe sweat off his brow. It was so surreal I rubbed my eyes refusing to believe their evidence. But then he did it again - to McCain during the general. One instance may have been an accident (however, try to replicate the deed and youll see how inconvenient it is), but two dispelled all doubt. The candidate for the highest office in the land was playing to the gallery in the hood to burnish his street cred. It was a typical act of ghetto bravado; a street tough dissing his opponent and asserting his superiority; the politicians equivalent of trash talk so prevalent in Obamas beloved NBA.

Upon arrival in Arizona he was met on the airport tarmac by Governor Jan Brewer and immediately launched into a tirade castigating her for some unflattering remarks about him in her year-old book Scorpions for Breakfast. The governor tried to remonstrate with the president, but he cut her off in mid-sentence, turned around and walked away. No true leader would be that thin-skinned and small-minded, let alone rude - particularly on camera. But Obama didnt care.

All true leaders rise through the ranks, honing their martial skills in incessant combat on all fronts - now smiting the enemies on the right or on the left; now bracing the timid among their supporters; now crushing dissent among their followers - all the while reaffirming their leadership position. In short, they fight their way to the top. Has Barack Obama ever fought a single fight in his life, other than a one-on-one with an awe-struck former NBA star? He was propelled to the top, his opponents knocked off by any means necessary to clear the path for Obama. True leaders are extremely combative and never miss a chance to mix it up with their enemies. Not Obama. He always tries to avoid face-to-face confrontation, insulting his enemies from a safe distance. Is an instinctive inclination to avoid a fight and to vote present the mark of a true leader?

All true leaders are passionate, full of piss and vinegar. Obama, on the other hand, is clearly a cold fish, totally dispassionate about everything around him, including his own policies. Who can forget his glassy-eyed indifference as he pretended to listen to Paul Ryan trying to explain to him fiscal reality - before unceremoniously cutting off the uppity congressman? This at a time when the centerpiece of his policy was hanging in the balance. He only grows passionate when discussing basketball, though lately he has been showing some signs of life bemoaning the evils of capitalism. But even his animation looks manufactured, like the movements of a wind-up doll.

All true leaders are good actors, feigning whatever sentiment is warranted by the circumstances. Whether or not Obama is endowed with acting ability, he disdains the need to pretend that he cares. The day the Palestinian American Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot up Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 30, Obama was scheduled to give another of his one-a-day speeches. As usual, the President arrived late, dawdled awhile, finally launched into an interminable acknowledgement routine, followed by a shout-out to an Indian chief in the audience, and only then, three minutes into his speech, nonchalantly, almost as an afterthought, mentioned the tragedy, hastily admonishing his listeners not to jump to conclusions about the motives of the assailant (true, the killer ecstatically shouted Allah Akbar as he pulled the trigger, but maybe he was a right-wing agent provocateur trying to tarnish the religion of peace). Any politician worth his salt would fake concern and grief. But not Obama who apparently didnt see any point going to the trouble. Of course, he relied on the complicit mainstream media to cover up for him, but was it a mark of a leader mindful of his image?

So given his obvious unfitness for the job, how did Obama manage to climb to the very top? My guess is he was spotted early on, judged to be a promising prospect (good looks, great voice, gift of facile dissimulation, right ideological credentials) made particularly attractive by the notable paucity of competition, and then carried all the way to the White House with minimum effort on his part. Of course, once there, surrounded by brown-nose courtiers whose well-being hinges on presidential favor, he must have succumbed to megalomania to which, by all accounts, he has long been susceptible. So maybe he even tries, from time to time, to steer the ship of state all by himself. But I doubt it. He is so patently bored by statecraft and so unaccustomed to any kind of exertion other than workouts that it is a stretch to suppose he would sacrifice his leisure on the altar of presidential duties.

But even if its true, it doesnt change the underlying fact that he came to the presidency as a puppet, not a puppet master. With not a single trait of a true leader in evidence, he is not the engine of the radical left juggernaut but merely its hood ornament. The image of a colossus that the elites have forged in their own minds has very little to do with reality and everything to do with their fashionable radicalism, racial guilt, and servile infatuation with power.

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