Victor Davis Hanson
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In 2008, Barack "No Drama" Obama was the coolest presidential candidate America had ever seen -- young, hip, Ivy League, mellifluous and black, with a melodic and exotic name. Rock stars vied to perform at his massive rallies, where Obama often began his hope-and-change sermons by reminding the teary-eyed audience what to do in case of mass fainting.

Money, like manna from heaven, seemed to drop spontaneously into his $1 billion campaign coffers. Ecstatic Hollywood stars were rendered near speechless at the thought of Obama's promised Big Rock Candy Mountain to come -- peace, harmony, prosperity and "5 million new jobs" in renewable energy alone.

Even the cynical Europeans went crazy over his anti-George W. Bush candidacy, one gussied up with faux-Greek columns and Latin presidential mottoes. Huge rainbow-colored Obama signs sprouted like weeds on America's upscale suburban lawns, and hip-hoppers rapped out Obama themes. All of America, it seemed, wanted to believe in this largely unknown newcomer.

The giddy media declared Obama a "sort of god," and "the smartest man with the highest IQ" ever to assume the presidency. Somehow, even legs got into the hero worship, as pundits praised the sight of Obama's "perfectly creased pant," and one commentator felt "this thrill going up my leg" when Obama spoke.

And why not, when the soft-spoken, adaptable African-American candidate preached civility and visions of a postracial America -- changing his speech from a white suburban patois to Southern black evangelical cadences as needed to woo widely diverse audiences.

Obama, the most partisan member of the U.S. Senate, promised a new post-political nonpartisanship. Almost by fiat, he declared an end to big debts, corruption, lobbyists, wars, unpopular American foreign policies and unlawful antiterrorism protocols -- almost everything that had predated the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama.

Four years of governance later, the huge crowds have mostly melted away. Those still left do not faint. The columns are in storage. The Latinate "Vero Possumus" is not even voiced in English.
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Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.