Monday, January 26, 2009

Shades of Henry Wallace

H.L. Mencken, covering the Progressive Party convention of 1948, and its gullible and credulous nominee, Henry Wallace, wrote of the ridiculous pol that "To a very large extent he has acquired the semi-celestial character which attached to the late FDR. If, when nominated today, he suddenly sprouts wings and begins flapping about the hall, no one will be surprised."

I was reminded of this imagery (which I rediscovered in Mencken's Last Campaign: H.L.Mencken on the 1948 Election, edited by Joseph C. Goulden) by the profusion of similar heavenly metaphors scattered like rose petals in the path of the One's fairy-tale procession to the White House. Rarely has the disparity between myth and reality been so great; the fall, when it comes, will be hard. Oh, it will take some time, particularly with the media desperately boosting his prestige like a gang of stock swindlers trying to unload a bundle of dubious securities in time to catch the next train out of town. But I believe his political demise is inevitable. Eventually - and it may be as soon as 2012 - people won't be asking for a New Deal; they'll be demanding a new deck.

But of course, I could be wrong (H/T: Cap'n Heinrichs)


RebeccaH said...

I don't know yet what kind of a president Obama is going to be (although I have unpleasant suspicions), but I know he looks dorky as hell when he tries to wear a turban.

TW: All New Seolvdab! A little dab'll do ya!

TimT said...

I've noticed there's sometimes a tendency in pop American films to valorise the President and make him seem like some kind of God figure (Harrison Ford kicking bad guys arse in Air Force One, for instance). I wonder if it's a carry over that leads to articles like this, in the New Yorker, by Hendrik Hertzberg, who writes of Obama appearing in a 2001 restaurant review show:

The episode will be broadcast for the first time a few days before the Inauguration; it wasn’t aired at the time, the Chicago Tribune reports, because Obama “was too good—too thoughtful, too articulate, not enough of an amateur.” For the Obama-besotted, the message is clear: This guy can do anything. He even reviews restaurants.

I reckon when the left in general realises Obama is not the messiah - the let down is going to be BIG. Pride goeth afore the fall, and all that.

Paco said...

So, Obama can review restaurants, too? Ok, now I'm sold; he really is the One!

You're right, Tim; he's gonna fall like a ton of bricks.

richard mcenroe said...

It's a race between the Great and Powerful Ob's being exposed or simply over-marketed. When you've already been marketed as a Chia Pet and a Franklin Mint plate, you've pretty much passed your sell-by date.

TW: ulamo: What folks will say to anyone wearing an Obie t-shirt in 2012.

2nd TW: slymon: No one expected Obama's bid for the Rasta vote to pay off like it did...