(letter submitted to WSJ on January 20, 2009)
I am a fan of the writer, Charles Krauthammer though I occasionally disagree with his opinions. He has referred to Senator Barack Obama, soon to be President Barack Obama as “The Anointed One”. This appellation has the appropriate acronym, TAO as in Taos, New Mexico a hotbed so to speak of New Ageism and ardent believers in myth. And myth is what I am afraid surrounds President Obama.
The near hysterical media adulation for President Obama has destroyed any remaining vestige of either objectivity or responsible journalism. The media instead is busily building a New Camelot myth around the forthcoming administration as a near carbon copy of the old Camelot myth surrounding President Kennedy and his administration. The current generation of journalists, is so eager for its own New Camelot that it is now blind to its responsibilities to the public or history.
All this myth is predicated on President Obama being the great agent of change that the people have long sought to provide the salvation for our contemporary and historical ills. As TAO he will right all wrongs and cure all ills or so the myth goes. Within the aura of the myth is the belief that the change wrought by TAO will be the right change. From outside the aura it appears that the supplicants believe that the change to be wrought is whatever change the supplicant desires. Hence they hope for change.
I too, hope for change but only if it is the right change. I am outside the myth, a non-believer in TAO and extremely skeptical of the media barrage. Indeed, much is made in the media of the groundswell of support for TAO and the overarching hope for his success. Not merely bipartisan support but across generations and genders, red staters and blue. The media desires a hero and will do whatever it takes to create one. Whether TAO deserves this adulation is beside the point. He is TAO and his will be done – and it will be right. Or else.
Unlike the crowds I do not hope for the success of TAO. I do not hope for his failure either. My fear, my concern, my caution is predicated on the reality that if TAO succeeds might America fail? This is not a contradiction but a genuine prospect that if TAO succeeds he may only do so at the cost of destroying the America that created him. Will civil rights succeed finally? What will be the cost? Will it destroy the freedom to associate, to speak, to assemble? Will the nation be subjected to a speech code as in so many of our universities and colleges? Will homosexuals finally succeed in wrenching a civil rights label to their portion of the myth? What will be the cost to assuage liberal white guilt and black anger?
How will our economy survive? If even a Republican President is willing to sell our industry to the state, for the greater good of course, what hope is there for America under TAO and his army of anti-market advisors? Will America seek to join the European Union? Will we emulate them so thoroughly that the flame of opportunity is extinguished under the blanket of social justice? Will the power of the state to control the economy finally reach such proportions that we no longer have a market economy but an American version of the Chinese state run economy? Have we already reached that point?
What will America’s enemies make of TAO? Will they bow in awe as the media presupposes or will they exploit his myth to attack from without and within? Make no mistake our enemies are out there, waiting, eager to destroy America and her great purpose. Will TAO become the Great Appeaser? So eager for agreement will he offer America’s allies as gifts? Will he send soldiers to their death and risk the destruction of the myth or will he prevaricate and pontificate until the political winds are clear?
The columnist, E.J. Dionne once wrote that he admired TAO for being deliberate and not rushing to make decisions. This was in response to the McCain campaign that quickly offered a plan to save the economy in late 2008. Not until days later, after the media ridiculed McCain and the political winds were obvious, did TAO produced a plan. In many respects similar to the McCain plan but different enough that all the supplicants, including E.J. Dionne, could embrace the calm wisdom of TAO. From inside the aura of the myth all was well.
From outside it appeared that TAO had no plan, waited until the political winds were obvious and only then produced a plan designed to appease and appeal. A plan to resolve the ills of the economy was not necessary. TAO had spoken. All was well in the New Camelot. This I fear will be the hallmark of the new administration. Deliberate until the political winds are clear, offer an appeasement plan regardless of outcome. Protect the myth at all costs.
I too hope for change. I hope for the right change for America. I do not hope for the failure of the Obama administration but I fear for their success. I hope to be wrong.