The following opinion piece arrived in an email. According to the sender, he is surprised that I made it into the editorial pages of the liberal Washington Post.
I, Too, Have Become Disillusioned
By Matt Patterson (columnist - Washington Post, New York Post, San Francisco
Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack
Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, the result of a baffling
breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages. How,
they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so
many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the
world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential
Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life:
ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test
scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career
as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly
devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present"); and finally an
unaccomplished single term in the United States Senate, the entirety of which
was devoted to his presidential ambitions.
He left no academic legacy in
academia, authored no signature legislation as a legislator. And then there is
the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing
preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life,
actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political sponsor. It is
easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth
was such a man elected president?
Not content to wait for history, the
incomparable Norman Podhoretz addressed the question recently in the Wall Street
Journal: To be sure, no white candidate who had close associations with an
outspoken hater of America like Jeremiah Wright and an unrepentant terrorist
like Bill Ayers, would have lasted a single day. But because Mr. Obama was
black, and therefore entitled in the eyes of liberal Dom to have hung out with
protesters against various American injustices, even if they were a bit extreme,
he was given a pass. Let that sink in: Obama was given a pass - held to a lower
standard - because of the color of his skin.
Podhoretz continues: And in
any case, what did such ancient history matter when he was also so articulate
and elegant and (as he himself had said) "non-threatening," all of which gave
him a fighting chance to become the first black president and thereby to lay the
curse of racism to rest?
Podhoretz puts his finger, I think, on the
animating pulse of the Obama phenomenon - affirmative action. Not in the legal
sense, of course. But certainly in the motivating sentiment behind all
affirmative action laws and regulations, which are designed primarily to make
white people, and especially white liberals, feel good about
Unfortunately, minorities often suffer so that whites can pat
themselves on the back. Liberals routinely admit minorities to schools for which
they are not qualified, yet take no responsibility for the inevitable poor
performance and high drop-out rates which follow. Liberals don't care if these
minority students fail; liberals aren't around to witness the emotional
devastation and deflated self-esteem resulting from the racist policy that is
affirmative action. Yes, racist. Holding someone to a separate standard merely
because of the color of his skin - that's affirmative action in a nutshell, and
if that isn't racism, then nothing is.
And that is what America did to
Obama. True, Obama himself was never troubled by his lack of achievements, but
why would he be? As many have noted, Obama was told he was good enough for
Columbia despite undistinguished grades at Occidental; he was told he was good
enough for the US Senate despite a mediocre record in Illinois ; he was told he
was good enough to be president despite no record at all in the Senate. All his
life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next
step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.
What could this breed
if not the sort of empty narcissism on display every time Obama speaks? In 2008,
many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about
Obama's oratory skills, intellect, and cool character. Those people -
conservatives included - ought now to be deeply embarrassed.
thinks and speaks in the hoariest of clichés, and that's when he has his
Teleprompters in front of him; when the prompter is absent he can barely think
or speak at all. Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth - it's all
warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100
And what about his character? Obama is constantly blaming anything
and everything else for his troubles. Bush did it; it was bad luck; I inherited
this mess. It is embarrassing to see a president so willing to advertise his own
powerlessness, so comfortable with his own incompetence. But really, what were
we to expect? The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we
expect him to act responsibly?
In short: our president is a small and
small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his
job. When you understand that, and only when you understand that, will the
current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. It could not have gone
otherwise with such a man in the Oval Office.