President Obama's old sloganeering has worn thin. It's time for a new motto for the most powerful man in the world. And he's up to the challenge. Obama's new slogan: "It's not me, it's you."
What else are we to make of his latest interview with Rolling Stone magazine, in which he channels Jimmy Carter-esque malaise-speak, ripping the American public with barely-concealed rage? "People need to shake off this lethargy," Obama told the magazine. "People need to buck up ... if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren't serious in the first place."
Well, maybe Obama's finally catching on. We weren't serious when we elected him. We did it to assuage our long-standing racial guilt; we did it in a misguided attempt to heal a divided country; we did it because we were hopeful and foolish and nearsighted. We certainly didn't do it because we wanted the Obama transformative change agenda.
What's striking about Obama's language, though, is his utter disdain for the American public. We're the children for objecting to his failures; he's the adult. We simply need to keep our chins up in the face of adversity rather than blaming him (even as he blames us for his obviously burgeoning depressive state). Even his supporters come in for a tongue-lashing from the Great Professor: "The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible."
But Obama, predictably enough, reserves his harshest criticism for his political opponents. Fox News comes in for a beating -- Obama says that the news network supports "a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world." Obama even went so far as to compare Fox News with the media empire of William Randolph Hearst, famous for its yellow journalism.
In the past, I've argued that Obama doesn't like what America stands for. He thinks we're the country of slavery, not of freedom; the country of Jim Crow, not equal opportunity; the country of My Lai, not of death camp liberation.
What's becoming clearer and clearer, though, is that Obama doesn't like Americans, either. We're ignorant rubes who still believe in oddities like God and guns. We're uncivilized barbarians who insist that free enterprise, not government redistributionism, cures economic ills. We're not world citizens, Ivy League professors or community organizers. In short, Obama's just not that into us. And his scorn justifies his whining. Either that or he's cracking.
Obama seems to be suffering from battered woman syndrome. Battered woman syndrome, for the non-lawyers in the crowd, is a legal defense used by women who commit crimes; they claim that they've been hit over and over again by a man, which forced them to snap. Obama has come under heavy criticism so often that he's reacting to even the mildest criticism with disproportionate anger and emotion.
The unflappable man seems more and more flappable. He's aged visibly since his inauguration. He's been unable to quit smoking. He seems less apt to move off script, more apt to skip, like a broken record, back to comfortable grooves.
Obama has always held the wrong principles. But he, personally, was supposed to be the epitome of cool. Now he's rattled, and he's acting like it. Hopefully, we can retire him sooner rather than later, so he can receive the tender loving care he so richly needs.
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