There was an entertaining Peter Sellers movie in the late 1970s’ called Being There. It was about the rise of an unknown, simple gardener named Chance, to be the candidate for president. He fascinated the clueless elite because he spoke in such sweeping, symbolic, erudite terms . . . in their opinion. All conversations made him seem so brilliant when really he was just talking about planting, seasons, seeds, etc. The adoring crowds even misunderstood his name and thought it was Chauncey Gardener . . . when really, he was just, Chance, the gardener.
Barack Obama is this generation’s Chauncey Gardener. He rose from absolute obscurity to be the darling of the elite who hang on his every word and get chills up and down their spine when he speaks. But, when he speaks, what does he say? His depth of articulation is tantalizing, as was Chauncey’s, but when you unravel it, and analyze it, there really is no substance to it.
In the Saddleback Forum that Rick Warren hosted on Aug. 16, Barack was stripped of props, sycophantic media, and pre-prepared talking points and the world saw that all that glitters is not gold. Even on key issues of major concern for a huge segment of the electorate, like abortion, his answer rambled and meandered to an ironic dead-end when he basically said, “It was above his pay grade.” That might be one of the most intriguing self-fulfilling prophecies uttered by a presidential candidate in history. He, who has opinions about everything from the war in Iraq to off shore drilling draws a blank when it comes to killing unborn babies that are fully viable, and sidesteps the question with a condemnation of his own abilities. It suggests that he has actualized the Peter Principle and should not be further elevated to a position of incompetence, that truly would be above his pay grade serving as President.
The attraction of Barack Obama by so many is his seemingly flawless performance and smooth style which reminds people of what leaders look like when they are comfortable in their own skin . . . the way Chance the gardener was. The problem is though, if you dissect what Barack says, it is full of platitudes and motivational rhetoric. And because he is fun to listen to, no one really hears what he is saying. If you ask any Barack supporter what he has done, what bills he has passed, what qualifies him to be president, most say, he wants change and so do they. That was how Chance got so much support too, and there was never an accounting, a deeper questioning of who and what he really was, until it was too late.