By Joseph Randolph
In a television interview with Matt Lauer of CBS on Tuesday of the past week, President Obama showed a side of himself, rather like a ruffian I think, when he said, "I don't just sit around talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick."
It seems unknown if by these words the real Barack Obama is speaking or if his advisors or maybe his interviewer shoved him to spill some emotion. One or both of the latter are I think the reigning interpretation, though many of the American public heard some coarsened flesh in these not-too-finessed words. Nevertheless, many people can appreciate any of the President's advisors urging the President to appear more grounded in human feelings; though Rahm-Emanuel-speak might not be what Americans want to hear from their President.
I think the almost Spock-like persona the public perceives in their President comes about because President Obama presents himself in a rather stilted fashion and indeed, somewhat as non-corpuscular as the dummy a ventriloquist uses. I am not saying the President does not own his own words—for his ideas are truly his, except perhaps for the less than ideal words now under scrutiny—and presented with a very nice baritone voice at that, except when he speaks like a boss giving dictation to his secretary, or more disturbingly, an angry leader to his people.
The lecturing speeches and homilies are all too assuming, indeed to say arrogant, and for that reason not precisely resonating with the public. I mean that President Obama sounds like he is always giving formal, almost bereaucratic directive—even the "ass to kick" is more of the same, just with a bit less polish. It is his manner of giving these directives that makes for question in his observers.
The President's persona may be the result of a very bad habit developed from the leftist ideological belief that all things are political. In this paradigm, one must always be in campaign mode; furthermore, all speech, whether intentional or not, is political speech. If this is the case—in which the politics dictates the personality—it then takes considerable undoing to alter a personality made political because that personality not only exhales politics but inhales it too. One cannot easily asunder what such ideology has seared together.
There is more, however. This community organizer President sees the world from above and from outside. This is transcendence, and thus with it the implied associate, omniscience, but without immanence, which really means the supposed transcendence lacks the supposed omniscience: appearances to the contrary. This means that the President really has little experience of the world, as much as this gaping void is lost on admiring acolytes who esteem a community organizer as the one of the people who understands the people.
The President's experience in rabble rousing was that of a strategist in the mold of his mentor, Alinsky. The point of these social engineers was to change a world for which they have ungenerous contempt. Convinced that they understand a world they loath, they feel justified in manipulating it into the world they imagine. Their vision, moreover, has scary viscera: anger. The President's world is not this world, but the political utopia he calls home. Anger, therefore, over the botched nation called the United States, couples with redrawn blueprints from the drawing room of the salvager turned reappraiser who hates the original creator.
Therefore, one should not be surprised that rather common human viscera are somewhat altered in politicians appearing at times to need a pulse check, even as their blood boils. At the same time, one should expect and fear that such politicians will do much more than simply kick hindquarters when their aim is to transform a nation.
Joseph Randolph is an academic and writer living in Wisconsin. His 2010 book Debilitating Democracy: Power From The People, is available from Wasteland Press and Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. His email address is email@example.com.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!