Duck! and Gather

Obama as Gorbachev (2 of 3): Giant Shoes

Posted on: July 4, 2008

In the first post of this series, I explained my disappointment in learning that Obama is nothing more than a pandering politician. But then I wondered whether I was just being naive. Perhaps the phrase “pandering politician” is a redundancy. Maybe what it means to be a politician is to be a panderer. And maybe this is how it has always been.

In late 2006, I predicted that Obama would win the presidency. I still believe that, although I’m not anymore quite so bullish as to be calling for a landslide.

My reasoning for that prediction was based on Obama’s personality type, my belief that America is headed for an epochal crisis, and the personality types of the presidents during the last three major American crises (i.e. Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt). For those reasons I still believe Obama will win this fall.

But the revelation these past couple of weeks that Obama is just another pandering politician of vacuous principles got me wondering: Would that have described Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt too?

More specifically, would that have described these three great U.S. presidents before the start of the crises they oversaw? What I mean is: What was Washington like as a political figure prior to 1772? Lincoln prior to 1860? Roosevelt before 1929? Were they all just pandering schmucks too, like Obama is now?

That question would take far too long to research. So, instead, how about a simpler one: Could all three great U.S. presidents be described, prior to the crises they oversaw, as not exactly “radical” or “visionary” or “leaders” concerning the coming crisis?

More specifically, was Washington not exactly a Boston Tea Party-type radical before the American Revolution? Was Lincoln not quite a slavery abolutionist before the Civil War? Before the Great Depression, was Roosevelt not particularly a best friend of labor?

A few minutes spent querying Mr. Google suggests that the answer to these three questions is “yes”. That is, prior to their respective crises, all three men certainly “leaned” the way they would act during the crisis. But it seems it took the crisis to “wake up” these men and shake off their ambivalence. Having been woken up by history, these men met its call, and so they are remembered as great presidents.

But maybe in the days before the crisis, they would hardly have been described as such. Maybe even, some people like me would have called them “unprincipled panderers”.

Maybe. Maybe even “probably”.

In the light of this history, Obama is somewhat rehabilitated in my eyes. I mean that, over these past four years, I have predicted that the coming crisis in America will be described as “People vs. Corporations” — or better stated, “community versus concentrated business power”.

Even though Obama flipped a bit on this question in late June, I think it’s fair to say that the tenor of his position on the question certainly leans, however slightly, toward “people” and “community”. To be sure, the counterexamples are many. But I’d say, netted out, the overall tilt is that way in July 2008.

So maybe the name Obama will, after all, be ultimately appended by history to the venerated list of Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt. Maybe.

But then I got to thinking about Gorbachev … Continue >>

2 Responses to "Obama as Gorbachev (2 of 3): Giant Shoes"

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