Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Eradicating Imperfection in Our Lifetimes

George Will considers Obama's Nobel acceptance speech to be remarkable "for disavowing a competence no one suspected him of. ('I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war.' Note the superfluous adjective.) And for an unnecessary notification. ('Evil does exist in the world.') And for delayed utopianism. ('We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.' But in someone's.) And for solemnly announcing something undisputed. (There can be a just war.) And for intellectual applesauce that should get speechwriters fired and editors hired. ('We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected.' If the human 'condition' can attain perfection anyway, human nature cannot be significantly imperfect.)"

We ignore the 38 appearances of the singular personal pronoun -- we're dealing with a politician after all. Even the vapidity of the sentiments might be overlooked -- glib is often mistaken for bright. Honestly, we must forgive it all. Not just the cheap rhetoric, which is to eloquence what tuneless whistling is to mathematics, but the pervading lack of substance. A sincere or even a good heart is an insufficient claim on the office Mr Obama holds. Being handsome and sonorous just will not cut it. I might say, damn the American people to their folly, for electing yet another empty suit. But I am American, and curses have substance.

Some of you have hated Bush. So be it. Hate, if you must. That page has turned, and now we must face current issues. I don't know if this really is the worst economy since the depression. I think the 70s were worse, what with interest rates at 21%, and unemployment comparable to today's, whether more or less. But at this time, of grave hardship, Obama racks up a crushing deficit. Who will pay it off -- even the interest? Isn't credit card debt, with its crushing interest, one of the ways we got into this mess? Does the government operate under different rules? Yes, because it prints the money. So inflation, then. A way of transferring wealth, from the poor and middle class, to the, uh, well, whoever's left. Haliburton? Point is, incompetent economic policies are incompetent.

You'd think competence would be the priority. But instead of focusing on the single essential, now that the war is lost per Reid and Murtha and Kerry and the Dhem Crew -- instead, I say, like the wayward passionate sinners of Hell's first circle, those of a certain description follow after Climate Change and Health Care. I throw up my hands. And dinner.

What. Fools.

So, Obama and his speechifying can be crowded onto the shelf that holds all the other bloviating self-important graspers who endlessly push themselves forward. Must not have gotten enough attention from Dad. It's human nature, and forgivable. A very very profoundly wise and eloquent wise did I say super savior once intimated that human nature is not perfect. Who am I, so lowly and humble, to quibble?

My quibble, if I had one, which I don't, like I just said, would be with you. Because you listened to his speeches, and thought they were good. And you elected him because of it. A well-spoken black man, imagine such a thing -- so let's elect him to prove finally that we, me, isn't racist. Brilliant. And you think that turns of cliche such as "our children and our children's children" are fresh and deep and beautiful.

Character is destiny. I just made that up. You should quote me. I don't know if America is Jacob or Esau -- a younger sibling that got for itself somehow a precious birthright, or one who was blessed with greatness, and proved unworthy. Doesn't really matter. It's everybody's story. We're all blessed, and most of us waste it.

Obama was blessed beyond his ability if not his ambition. Perhaps such speeches as he composes are the best he can do, and reflect the fullness of his therefore very mediocre intellect. Perhaps he just hacks this crap out for the sake of impression only, like adolescent poetry, all about the sound of the words. How are we to know. But we bought the snake oil. You did. Is it sweet? It turns my stomach.

Says Will, "A person can only be a novelty once, and only briefly, and charm, like any commodity, when used uneconomically becomes a wasting asset." Obama's 15 minutes are up. Even you are not infatuated with him anymore. Now he has to be faithful, rather than charming, and reliable rather than just full of grandiose pronouncements. His administration endlessly parrots the blame phrase of "the last eight years". One fourth of Obama's chance is gone. The most he can hope for now is a B minus.

Happy anniversary, FP. You are the best thing on the web. You channel the steams of Parnassus. You should be in the Bible.


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