Carter = A Steward versus Obama = A Scold
An opinion article written by senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Shelby Steele, helps to explain how confounding this 44th presidency is to live through.
Forget about the facts that Senator Obama promised unity, transparency, reduced deficits, responsible and accountable governance when he was campaigning to become president in 2008. All of this, and more, are sooooo 2008 here in Carter's Second Term.
Forget about the very astute understanding that we find ourselves in a political "Class Warfare" - and it is not the kind one immediately comes to. It isn't rich versus poor, or Democrat versus Republican, or liberial versus conservative but a Ruling Class (career political operatives and those purchased by their actions - ie: Unions, government workers, community organizations, and etc.) versus Country Class - defined as those who believe in this country and the Constitution that formed it!
What Shelby Steele articulates well is the opinion that what we are suffering from isn't a leader that is choosing to lead a country of greatness but to scold a country that operates from a position of bad faith.
This excerpted and edited from the Wall Street Journal -
A Referendum on the Redeemer
By Shelby Steele, Wall Street Journal - October 28, 2010
Whether or not the Republicans win big next week, it is already clear that the "transformative" aspirations of the Obama presidency—the special promise of this first black president to "change" us into a better society—are much less likely to materialize. There will be enough Republican gains to make the "no" in the "party of no" even more formidable, if not definitive.
His embarrassed supporters console themselves that their intentions were good; their vote helped make history. But for Mr. Obama himself there is no road back to the charisma and political capital he enjoyed on his inauguration day. How is it that Barack Obama could step into the presidency with an air of inevitability and then, in less than two years, find himself unwelcome at the campaign rallies of many of his fellow Democrats?
The first answer is well-known: His policymaking has been grandiose, thoughtless and bullying. His health-care bill was ambitious to the point of destructiveness and, finally, so chaotic that today no citizen knows where they stand in relation to it.
His coming of age paralleled exactly the unfolding of a new "counterculture" American identity. And this new American identity—and the post-1960s liberalism it spawned—is grounded in a remarkable irony: bad faith in America as virtue itself, bad faith in the classic American identity of constitutional freedom and capitalism as the way to a better America.
He is simply the first president we have seen grounded in this counterculture American identity. When he bows to foreign leaders, he is displaying the counterculture Americanism of honorable self-effacement in which America acknowledges its own capacity for evil as prelude to engagement.
Bad faith in America became virtuous in the '60s when America finally acknowledged so many of its flagrant hypocrisies: the segregation of blacks, the suppression of women, the exploitation of other minorities, the "imperialism" of the Vietnam War, the indifference to the environment, the hypocrisy of puritanical sexual mores and so on. The compounding of all these hypocrisies added up to the crowning idea of the '60s: that America was characterologically evil.
Among today's liberal elite, bad faith in America is a sophistication, a kind of hipness.
There was no vision of the future in "Hope and Change." It is an expression of bad faith in America, but its great ingenuity was to turn that bad faith into political motivation, into votes. But there is a limit to bad faith as power, and Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party may have now reached that limit.
The great weakness of bad faith is that it disallows American exceptionalism as a rationale for power. It puts Mr. Obama and the Democrats in the position of forever redeeming a fallen nation, rather than leading a great nation. They bet on America's characterological evil and not on her sense of fairness, generosity or ingenuity.
When bad faith is your framework (Michelle Obama never being proud of her country until it supported her husband), then you become more a national scold than a real leader. You lead out of a feeling that your opposition is really only the latest incarnation of that old characterological evil that you always knew was there. Thus the tea party—despite all the evidence to the contrary—is seen as racist and bigoted.
Our great presidents have been stewards, men who broadly identified with the whole of America. Stewardship meant responsibility even for those segments of America where one might be reviled.
But he [Obama] has functioned more as a redeemer than a steward, a leader who sees a badness in us from which we must be redeemed. Many Americans are afraid of this because a mandate as grandiose as redemption justifies a vast expansion of government. A redeemer can't just tweak and guide a faltering economy; he will need a trillion- dollar stimulus package. He can't take on health care a step at a time; he must do it all at once, finally mandating that every citizen buy in.
Next week's election is, among other things, a referendum on the idea of president-as- redeemer. We have a president so determined to transform and redeem us from what we are that, by his own words, he is willing to risk being a one-term president.
People now wonder if Barack Obama can pivot back to the center like Bill Clinton did after his set-back in '94. But Mr. Clinton was already a steward, a policy wonk, a man of the center. Mr. Obama has to change archetypes.
One has to believe that a human Bill-Of-Rights, a Constitution that intentionally limits the size, power, and scope of Government, and the nature of our American Rule-Of-Law that starts from the position that everyone who is suspected of a crime is presumed innocent in the eyes of the court, are inherently evil in order to believe that "Bad Faith" is America!
It is time to vote on November 2nd, 2010 for anything but DEMOCRAT ... for the Democrat Political Party IS the politics of BAD FAITH ... not the politics of greatness here in Carter's Second Term.