Friday, August 19, 2011
Obama's "Swing 'Round the Circle"
On the Magical Misery Tour, the debt man walking continued his Andrew Johnson impersonation, traveling around the Midwest, giving speeches that even further bury his presidency. (In 1866, Johnson conducted his "Swing 'Round the Circle" tour where he took on Congress in a series of speeches. By the end of the tour, train officials routinely feared for the life of the president because the crowds grew so violent.) In his most recent speech, Obama compared criticism of himself to that of Lincoln. This implied that opposition to Obama is quasi-treasonous, a note he has sounded in the past. None other than Eric Foner, quasi left wing historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction era, slammed Obama's recent self-comparison to the 16th president.
Obama's series of speeches, like Johnson's, have laid bare the nature of the president. He is self-absorbed without enduring self-reflection. His speeches emphasize his trials, his suffering, his political enemies' machinations. Audiences in 1866 found these themes unnerving in their chief executive. In 2011, the president is trying to toss everyone under his bus, but so far has only thrown his own reputation beneath the wheels.
Obama criticism has not even reached the depths of the fecal matter slung at his predecessor, much less the unfortunate Lincoln, who endured commentary on every aspect of his presidency and life. Few people, really outside of me, have questioned Obama's intelligence and all will admit that he can read a teleprompter with style. People have issues with how the president has performed so far. He has made glaring errors on every level and has no shortage of other people to blame. Most recently, he blamed politics itself as the main obstacle to his leading us to a glorious promised land.
People are fed up. Even his own supporters, such as those in the Congressional Black Caucus, imply that he has been less of a savior and more of a carnival barker. Obama is reminiscent of Harry Truman's description of another failed president, James Buchanan in that he spent a long period of time trying to become president, then once he got there, he had no sense of how to do the job.