Thursday, February 10, 2011

The great imposture

The lapdog press has recently made several unintentionally hilarious attempts to portray Barack Obama as the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan. The analogy fails on all counts, and an auctioneer trying to pass off Francis the Talking Mule as Seabiscuit would not provoke a more risible response from a crowd of horse fanciers than the media have succeeded in eliciting from the public with their latest exercise in ludicrous mythologizing.

And yet, Obama does put me in mind of a past Republican president. With his pronounced affection for crony capitalism, his blatant ineptitude and his seeming lack of interest in the day-to-day responsibilities of the job, the current White House occupant reminds me of the late Warren G. Harding (throw into consideration Obama's touchiness and vindictiveness, and you get Harding with the Nixon upgrade). And on the evolutionary scale, Harding is to Reagan as Homo neanderthalensis (or perhaps even Pan troglodytes) is to Homo sapiens.

To take just one example of the chasm that separates the respective visions of Reagan and Obama, let's look at their views on the relationship of the citizen to the state. In Reagan's opinion, the state is the servant of the people - and because it is a sometimes surly, untrustworthy and overly ambitious servant, there is always a need to keep a close eye on it, and count the silverware at the end of every day. This outlook was at the heart of Reagan's policies on taxes, fiscal management and regulation, and a check was thereby maintained on the usurpation of the individual's economic freedom by the bureaucratic hordes. To Reagan, personal freedom was a right that was good in and of itself. His vision, therefore, was liberating, empowering and filled with confidence in the American character and with a deep respect for American traditions.

I submit that you would be hard pressed to find anyone in contemporary American politics who differs more sharply, in so many ways, from Ronald Reagan than Barack Obama, particularly when it comes to the latter's views on the role of the state. For Obama, the state is the source of our bounty, and the private sector is a kind of halfway house for people who have not had the foresight or good luck to land direct employment as government functionaries, but whose general fecklessness nevertheless requires constant monitoring and assistance from the Beltway master race. Obama sees personal freedom not as a right, but as a leasehold from the state - and the contract is shot through with cancellation clauses, unilaterally exercisable by Uncle Landlord. This is a vision of limitations, of walls closing in, of perpetual, soul-destroying dependency. It represents change, to be sure, but only a fool would truly hope for such a society.

No, the tract-scribblers and blow-dried declaimers of the legacy media fell miserably short of the truth during the 2008 election when they depicted Obama as a mental and spiritual quantum high-jumper; to characterize him as Reaganesque, especially given his performance during the first two years of his term, is fatuous and dishonest.


Kevin Feasel said...

Teapot Dome aside, if Obama were Harding, that'd be a big improvement. Points in Harding's favor:
1) Dismantling the war socialism of Woodrow Wilson, meaning both tax and spending cuts (and real ones, not these worthless one-time tax rebates we've been getting lately, which don't reduce the tax burden and just increase the debt burden)
2) Having the good sense to select Calvin Coolidge as his VP
3) Probably some other stuff

I'll say that there were plenty of points against him--and not just in the realm of corruption--so I wouldn't hold him up as a great President or anything. But still, for ol' Warren's sake, he wasn't as bad as Obama has been so far...

Paco said...

Fair points.

SwampWoman said...

He's there for the parties. He didn't think that he would actually have to make, like, decisions and work and stuff.

Yojimbo said...

Warren G. Harding had the good sense to appoint Andrew Mellon as Secretary of the Treasury and Coolidge had the good sense to keep him on. Obama hired......Timothy Geithner.

Tax rates on productive classes plummeted under Harding and Coolidge. Obama can't wait to jack them up again. Harding didn't appoint any wise latinas or book burning advocates to the SCOTUS.

richard mcenroe said...

Obama is imitating Harding's policies; Michelle his posterior

Anonymous said...

Obama similar to Reagan? Thought he was going for Lincoln. Either way...NOT in any way. Equally ridiculour is Obama's statements today regarding the protests leading to the resignation of Egyptian President Mubarak. He claimed that the protests were non-violent. Obama should have Greg Palcot and Oleg Wiig over to hear how they barely escaped with their lives. Oh, wait. They're from FOX.

Who knows what Egypt will become? There are a couple things that are certain. The protests weren't spontaneous in Egypt or any of the other countries that are in play. The Muslim Brotherhood and its' minions are the major force. They should never be negotiated with.

Reagan would never have bowed to another head of state. He wouldn't have considered high speed rail at a time like this. This is just to name a few.

Deborah Leigh