Skip to comments.Let them eat hope
Posted on 07/16/2012 5:50:53 PM PDT by markomalley
After much soul searching, Barack Obama has figured out where his presidency has gone wrong -- and he shared it with CBS's Charlie Rose and viewers across the fruited plain Sunday morning.
"The mistake of my first term -- couple of years," the president allowed, "was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right." At times, Obama confessed, he'd forgotten that "the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times." He needed to do "more explaining, but also inspiring."
"Because hope is still there," the first lady added.
There you have it. Contemplating the policy wreckage that surrounds him, the president has concluded that what this country needs is a fresh injection of presidential hope. Like "more cowbell" in the old "Saturday Night Live" skit, it's the magic ingredient that makes everything better.
Obama considers himself a sophisticated and nuanced guy, so you wouldn't think his descent into self-parody would be quite so unsubtle.
Anyone else out there for the explanation that a lack of storytelling, explaining and inspirational speeches was the great sin of the Obama presidency? According to CBS's Mark Knoller, in his first two years in office, the president clocked 902 speeches and statements and gave 265 interviews. Anybody who talks that much runs the risk of saying too much. Case in point, this gem from the president's speech Friday in Roanoke: "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Inspiring!
To be fair, Obama didn't invent the juvenile notion of the president as inspirer in chief. But he has served as its reductio ad absurdum, relentlessly stoking irrational public expectations for presidential salvation, raising hopes that no human institution could possibly fulfill.
Some political scientists attribute declining presidential popularity to the "expectations gap" -- the vast distance between what the public expects of the president and what he can realistically deliver. No chief executive in modern memory has done more than the Yes We Can president to boost expectations and widen that gap. Obama seems oblivious to the fact that those irrational public expectations are a large part of his political problem.
It's a bigger problem for the rest of us. Our investment of hope in a presidential savior leads us to do less for ourselves. It encourages a dangerous concentration of power in an office primarily designed for faithful execution of laws passed by Congress. Frustrated by his inability to deliver the miracles he's promised, the modern president continually pushes the limits of his authority.
Obama began his unlikely rise to power with an inspiring speech: "Hope -- hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!" It's "God's greatest gift to us," then-state Sen. Obama proclaimed in his 2004 keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, this "belief in things not seen."
That was always a silly notion, and it seems sillier still in hindsight. Leaving theology out of it, our ability to observe, reason and judge seems a sounder and safer guide to presidential performance.
On the campaign trail last time around, Obama pledged, among other things, to provide "a cure for cancer in our time," to deliver "a complete transformation of the economy," "end the age of oil in our time," and, perhaps most quixotically, to "fundamentally change the way Washington works."
Three and a half years into Obama's tenure, you can see why he'd rather "tell a story to the American people" and hope for "the belief in things not seen."
Examiner Columnist Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute and the author of "The Cult of the Presidency."
America’s big mistake is representation without taxation. The Takers will soon outvote the shrinking number of Makers. They stupidly believe in the snake-oil the Democrats sell in every election.
obama’s mistake is arrogance. he can’t help being a moron.
No matter how this President tries to tell it or sell it, the ideas underlying the basic ideology are in direct conflict with America's founding ideas of Creator-endowed, thus unalienable, individual freedom and "the People's" constitutional "chains" on government power--ideas which transformed America from a wilderness into the most free and prosperous place in the world.
In the course of his research for "Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile" (Harper Collins), Joseph Pearch traveled to Moscow to interview the writer. The excerpt below is from that interview:
Solzhenitsyn: "In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as "we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology". The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion."
And from the Liberty Fund Library is "A Plea for Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation," edited by Thomas Mackay (1849 - 1912), Chapter 1, excerpted final paragraphs from Edward Stanley Robertson's essay:
"In early days, and even at this day under archaic civilisations, the note of social life is the absence of freedom. But under every progressive civilisation, freedom has made decisive stridesbroadened down, as the poet says, from precedent to precedent. And it has been rightly and naturally so.
"Freedom is the most valuable of all human possessions, next after life itself. It is more valuable, in a manner, than even health. No human agency can secure health; but good laws, justly administered, can and do secure freedom. Freedom, indeed, is almost the only thing that law can secure. Law cannot secure equality, nor can it secure prosperity. In the direction of equality, all that law can do is to secure fair play, which is equality of rights but is not equality of conditions. In the direction of prosperity, all that law can do is to keep the road open. That is the Quintessence of Individualism, and it may fairly challenge comparison with that Quintessence of Socialism we have been discussing. Socialism, disguise it how we may, is the negation of Freedom. That it is so, and that it is also a scheme not capable of producing even material comfort in exchange for the abnegations of Freedom, I think the foregoing considerations amply prove." EDWARD STANLEY ROBERTSON
Saw today on FB - “Poor president obama - if he gets re-elected, just look at the mess he will inherit...”
Obama: “the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people...”
Translation: I gotta lie big time to da fools to be re-elected.
These words- Let Them Eat Hope, should be on every bumper, every telephone pole, every bus stop, & every fence that backs up to a major road.
If this doesn’t sum up 0bama & the democrats, nothing does.
“Let them eat hope.” Martha Gellhorn, Ernest Hemingway’s third wife and a disillusioned socialist, actually said that. I love that quote.
Yep, any 18 year old person, even one who cannot begin to comprehend the functioning of government, let alone understand what are legitimate government functions as opposed to illegitimate functions, who has to depend on government to feed and house him or her and cannot even find the polling place without assistance is allowed to vote. If this makes sense I am a chimpanzee.