• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

Victor Davis Hanson Examines the Fog Named Barack Hussein Obama

Obama Mythologos

  by Victor Davis Hanson     at Pajamas Media

Barack Obama is a myth, our modern version of Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan. What we were told is true, never had much basis in fact — a fact now increasingly clear as hype gives way to reality.

Brilliant”

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss, on no evidence, once proclaimed Obama “probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” When he thus summed up liberal consensus, was he perhaps referring to academic achievement? Soaring SAT scores? Seminal publications? IQ scores known only to a small Ivy League cloister? Political wizardry?

Who was this Churchillian president so much smarter than the Renaissance man Thomas Jefferson, more astute than a John Adams or James Madison, with more insight than a Lincoln, brighter still than the polymath Teddy Roosevelt, more studious than the bookish Woodrow Wilson, better read than the autodidact Harry Truman?

Consider. Did Obama achieve a B+ average at Columbia? Who knows? (Who will ever know?) But even today’s inflated version of yesteryear’s gentleman Cs would not normally warrant admission to Harvard Law. And once there, did the Law Review editor publish at least one seminal article? Why not?

I ask not because I particularly care about the GPAs or certificates of the president, but only because I am searching for a shred of evidence to substantiate this image of singular intellectual power and known erudition. For now, I don’t see any difference between Bush’s Yale/Harvard MBA record and Obama’s Columbia/Harvard Law record — except Bush, in self-deprecation, laughed at his quite public C+/B- accomplishments that he implied were in line with his occasional gaffes, while Obama has quarantined his transcripts and relied on the media to assert that his own versions of “nucular” moments were not moments of embarrassment at all.

At Chicago, did lecturer Obama write a path-breaking legal article or a book on jurisprudence that warranted the rare tenure offer to a part-time lecturer? (Has that offer ever been extended to others of like stature?) In the Illinois legislature or U.S. Senate, was Obama known as a deeply learned man of the Patrick Moynihan variety? Whether as an undergraduate, law student, lawyer, professor, legislator or senator, Obama was given numerous opportunities to reveal his intellectual weight. Did he ever really? On what basis did Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan regret that Obama could not be lured to a top billet at Harvard?

That his brilliance is a myth was not just revealed by the weekly lapses (whether phonetic [corpse-man], or cultural [Austria/Germany, the United Kingdom/England, Memorial Day/Veterans Day] or inane [57 states]), but in matters of common sense and basic history. The error-ridden Cairo speech was foolish; the serial appeasement of Iran revealed an ignorance of human nature; a two-minute glance at an etiquette book would have nixed the bowing or the cheap gifts to the UK.

In short, the myth of Obama’s brilliance was based on his teleprompted eloquence, the sort of fable that says we should listen to a clueless Sean Penn or Matt Damon on politics because they can sometimes act well. Read Plato’s Ion on the difference between gifted rhapsody and wisdom — and Socrates’ warning about easily conflating the two. It need not have been so. At any point in a long career, Obama the rhapsode could have shunned the easy way, stuck his head in a book, and earned rather than charmed those (for whom he had contempt) for his rewards. Clinton was a browser with a near photographic memory who had pretensions of deeply-read wonkery; but he nonetheless browsed. Obama seems never to have done that. He liked the vague idea of Obamacare, outsourced the details to the Democratic Congress, applied his Chicago protocols to getting it passed, and worried little what was actually in the bill. We were to think that the obsessions with the NBA, the NCAA final four, the golfing tics, etc., were all respites from exhausting labors of the mind rather than in fact the presidency respites from all the former.

“Healer”

Take away all the”‘no more red state/no more blue state,” “this is our moment” mish-mash and what is left to us? “Reaching across the aisle” sounded bipartisan, but it came from the most consistently partisan member of the U.S. Senate. Most of the 2008 campaign was a frantic effort on the part of the media to explain away Bill Ayers, ACORN, the SEIU, Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, the clingers speech, “get in their face,” and the revealing put downs of Hillary Clinton. But those were windows into a soul that soon opened even wider — with everything from limb-lopping doctors and polluting Republicans to stupidly acting police and “punish our enemies” nativists. The Special Olympics “joke,” the pig reference to Sarah Palin, the middle finger nose rub to Hillary — all that was a scratch of the thin shiny veneer into the hard plywood beneath.

The binding up our wounds myth had no basis in reality, but was constructed on the notion (to channel the racially condescending Harry Reid and Joe Biden) that a charismatic and young postracial rhetorician seemed so non-threatening. The logic was that Obama took a train from Springfield to DC; so did Lincoln; presto, both were like healers. The truth? The Obamites — Jarrett, Axelrod, Emanuel, etc. — were hard-core partisan dividers, who had a history of demonizing enemies, suing to eliminate opponents, and leaking divorce records, in addition to the usual Chicago campaign protocols.

If one were to collate the Obama record on race (from Eric Holder’s “my people” and “cowards” to Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” and Van Jones’s racist rants), it is the most polarizing in a generation. The Obama way is and always was to create horrific straw men: opponents of health care reform are greedy doctors who want to rip out your tonsils; opponents of tax increases jet off to Vegas to blow their children’s tuition money; skeptics of Solyndra-like disasters want to dirty the air; those against open borders wish to put alligators and moats in the Rio Grande as they round up children at ice cream parlors. There were ways of opposing Republicans without the demonization, but the demonization was useful when followed by the soaring, one-eyed Jack rhetoric about reaching out, working together, and avoiding the old politics of acrimony.

“Reformer”

The notion that there was anything in Obama’s past or present temperament to suggest a political reformer was mythological to the core. Almost all his prior elections relied on a paradigm of attacking his opponents rather than defending his own record, from the races for the legislature to the U.S. Senate. He shook down Wall Street as no one had before or since — and well after the September 2008 meltdown. He was the logical expression of the Chicago/Illinois system of Tony Rezko, Blago, and the Daleys, not its aberration — from the mundane of expanding his yard to melting down opponents by leaking sealed divorce records.

The more Obama badmouthed BP and Goldman Sachs, the more we knew he received record amounts of cash from both (were the bad “millionaires and billionaires” snickering that this was just part of the game?). He renounced liberal public financing of campaigns of over three decades duration, as only a liberal reformer might, and got away with it. Obama raised far more money than any candidate in history, and will go back to the same trough this time around. On a Monday the president will vilify Wall Street, on Tuesday host a $40,000-a-head dinner for those who apparently did not get his earlier message that at some point they had already made enough money and this was now surely not the time to profit — or did they get it all too well? Wait, you say, “They all do this!” Well, perhaps most at any rate; but most also spare us the messianic rhetoric and so do not win the additional charge of hypocrisy. Reforming the system is hard; reforming the reformers of the system impossible.

So when Obama speaks loudly about Wall Street criminality, we now snooze — only to awaken knowing Corzine’s missing $1 billion, or George Soros’s felony conviction in France, or Jeffrey Immelt’s no-tax gymnastics were not just never raised, but are exempted through the purchase of liberal penance, in the manner that John Kerry never really docked his gargantuan yacht in a less taxed state, or Timothy Geithner never really pocketed his FICA allowances.

As far as the vaunted promises to end the revolving door, lobbyists, and earmarks and usher in a new transparency, well, blah, blah, blah. Obama did not merely violate his proposed reforms, but excelled in the old politics as few others had. The career of a Peter Orszag or the crony machinations of the Solyndra executives attest well enough.

As far as medical transparency, I care only that my president seems healthy enough to get up in the morning for his grueling ordeal and can be spared the how part; but I do recognize that we have a history of disguising maladies (cf. Wilson’s incapacity, FDR’s last year, or JFK’s numerous prescription drugs), and that, in recent times at least, we have demanded a new transparency. Was that why the media harped on McCain’s melanoma, his age, and his injuries? So I thought we would get the now mandatory 24-look at 500 pages of thirty years of Obama’s doctors visits, medications, vital signs, diseases, all the treatments that the watchdog media goes ape over — whether Tom Eagleton’s shock treatments or Mike Dukakis’s use of Advil or the Bush thyroid problem.

Instead, we got a tiny paragraph from Obama’s doctor assuring us that he’s healthy, and this from the most “transparent” president in history, in an age when the press is frenzied over a presidential Ambien prescription. To this day, I have no idea whether our president smokes, or ever did, or for how long and how much, or if he ever took a prescription drug, or if his blood pressure is perfect or under treatment. Again, I care only that he gets up in the morning — and that the de facto rules of disclosure that have applied to others apply to him.

We will never know much about Fast and Furious, and even less about Greengate. Obama — and this was clever rather than brilliant — gauged rightly that not only would liberals’ hysteria about ethics cease when he brought them to power, but in a strange way they would grin that one of their own had out-hustled the supposed right-wing hustlers. Or was it a sort of paleo-Marxist idea of using the corrupt system to end the supposedly corrupt system? Those who vacation at Vail, Martha’s Vineyard, or Costa del Sol are supposedly insidiously undermining the system that allows only the millionaire and billionaire few to do so?

“Magnanimous”

This was the strangest chapter of the myth, the idea that Obama the Olympian was above the fray. He lobbied the Germans for an address at the Brandenburg Gate, settled for the Prussian Victory Column, and, as thanks, then skipped out as president on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall — but managed to jet to Copenhagen to lobby for the Chicago Olympics.

There was never a peep that Obama’s present anti-terrorism protocols — Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, Predators, the Patriot Act, preventative detention — came from George Bush. Much less did we hear that had Bush for a nanosecond ever listened to the demagoguery of then state legislator and later senator Obama, none of these tools would presently exist. How did what was superfluous, unconstitutional, and possibly illegal in 2008 become vital in 2011?

Ditto the Iraq War. We went in a blink from the surge that failed and made things worse and all troops must be out by March 2008 to Iraq was a shining example of American idealism and commitment. It was as if the touch-and-go, life-and-death gamble between February 2007 and January 2009 in Iraq never had existed. Bombing Libya was not warlike, and those who sued Bush on Iraq and Guantanamo now filed briefs to prove that we were not at war killing Libyan thugs. We hear only of reset; never that Obama has now simply abandoned all his “Bush-did-it” policies and is quietly going back to the Bush consensus on Russia, Iran, Syria, and the Middle East in general. We will not only never see Guantanamo closed or KSM tried in a civilian court, but never hear why not. Are we to applaud the hypocrisy as at least better than continued ignorance?

On the domestic front, we are forever frozen on September 15, 2008. There is never an Obama sentence that the Freddie/Fannie machinations (both agencies were routinely plundered for bonuses by ex-Clinton flunkies) gave a green light to Wall Street greed — much less that both empowered public recklessness either to flip houses or to buy a house without credit worthiness or any history of thrift. Did we ever hear that between the meltdown and the inauguration, there were four months of frantic stabilization that, by the time of Obama’s ascendancy, had ensured that the panic had largely passed? Instead, blowing $5 trillion in three years is to be forever the response to the ongoing and now multiyear Bush crash, all to justify a “never waste a crisis” reordering of society.

I could go on, but we know only that we know very little about Barack Obama, and what we do know is quite different from what is alleged. All presidents have mythographies, but they also have a record and auditors that can collate facts with fiction. In Obama’s case, we were never given all the facts and there were few in the press interested in finding them.

To quote Maxwell Scott in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Comment:   Barack Hussein Obama is a Marxist………..or a NeoMarxist…….take your pick, they both work.

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4 Responses

  1. I’m disapponted that Victor would choose not to cover Obama’s ineligibllity for President. It’s the crowning achievement of his myth. That he could become President in a country that prides itself on it’s unique Constitution, by violating it with impunity, not just during the campaign, the election, and the inauguration, but during the entire four years of a term, and perhaps, by being re-elected. Just that feat alone, proves the Constitution is just a meaningless piece of paper now. although he’s not done shredding it.

  2. Thank you for your reply. I personally cannot argue against any part of your response to this Hanson article. I don’t know the legal facts around which the organized Left would control the challenge.

    The challenge should first have been made by the Democrat Party itself…..certainly by Hillary’s campaign group in early 2008.

    Immediately, the charge of RACISM would be used against her intentionally to incite and intimidate. The inner city black population plantations would riot, mercilessly dividing the American Democrat Party, and eventually anyone further on the political right.

    All civilized Americans would probably try to avoid the lnevitable violence which these Leftists would have organized against the Hillary campaign.if needed, and against the McCain campaign for certain, if Barack Hussein Obama had been declared ineligible as a candidate.

    Today’s American black politics is generally dirty business conducted by many of its people who are unqualified for public office. Eavesdrop sometime of the noise emanating from today’s NAACP.for a quick reality check.

    Perhaps Mr. Hanson should have added a paragraphy referring to your Obama citizenship issue. I don’t think anyone in American politics wants to open up such bleeding.

    No one can dislike the tyranny, politics, the dishonesty and arrogance of this non-American Marxist president as much as I.a student of education and Soviet Marxism. If the truth about Mr. Obama is placed before the American people, there is a chance he will be defeated next November.

    I have my doubts. Most American think Marxism is just a word. Others have attended American colleges and universities where they are indoctrinated into Marxism.

    As Dennis Prager reminds us, we are in a war for today’s and tormorrow’s America with the Obama Left…..call them what you will. Denying Obama’s citizenship cannot help our conservative cause, but, his presidency might.

    I think it is. What do you think?..

  3. The violence we avoid now, will probably become much worse violence in the near future, because if you know Alinsky, you know their way to collapse the system is to trigger violence at the bottom, so the top can crack down, and cement it’s power. And next November, the election itself, may be the trigger they are planning on using.

    How can denying Obama’s citizenship not help anyone’s cause? How does letting him get away with violating the Consitution on his eligiblity, help the Constituion remain legitmate, or help restore it’s legitmacy? As I see it, either the whole Consitution must be upheld, or you might as well throwi it out. Because Obama is doing just that, choosing what to obey and enforce, and what to disobey and ignore. That is the rule of men, not of law, and that is how Socialism rules, with men, with rules made up as they go along, and enforce, or not, on who they choose.

    Obama is a criminal occupying the highest office in the land, the office that is responsible for enforcing the law. Any means possible, legal that is, should be used to remove him, and if that’s not possible, violence will be the only alternative, and once one side, or the other, resorts to violence, there’s no telling where it will end. Another civil war, is the most likely outcome, is not removing an ineligible man from office, legally, a better alternative?

  4. Mr. Obama IS culturally foreign to the office and to American traditions and concepts of national cohesiveness. And, the ‘birthers’ may be right about his ineligibilty for the office. And, you are right that the legal and peaceful removal of this foreigner from the presidency would certainly beat civil strife.

    But America’s Courts operate at a snail’s pace and there is as yet, no ‘smoking gun’ to assure Obama’s disqualification.from office.

    Defeating him in 2012 should be the best solution, anyway…..if enough voting Americans see this Marxist as the danger to democratic traditions.he truly is.

    It is better that he and his words and deeds are rejected by the people than to effect a coup removing him, which is what the establishment press would claim and blame on conservative fanatics.with their fangs pictured on great display. .

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