'There is strong evidence, however, that the American people are not excited about the Dems' leftward lurch. Last week, President Obama gave his first State of the Union address to an adoring Congress and unveiled his administration's first budget. What happened? His approval rating declined.'
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2009/03/022956.php [Hat Tip: Instapundit]
Did you see the speech? It was very poor indeed. Weirdly, commentators, newspapermen, TV journalists and bloggers on both left and right in the States still hold it as a universal truth that Obama gives great speech. Are they seeing something I can't see? I don't hate Obama. I don't agree with his politics, and I think he is a shallow, vain man, but then he is a politician. Those are the starting qualifications for most politicians. But having seen many a southern Baptist sermon, and having watched some of the great orators on YouTube, I just don't get what people rave about when Obama gets on his speaking shoes.
If you mine just a little bit into Obama's words, you realise he is having to lie, obfuscate and muddy the waters most of the time, because if he said what he believed in plain language he'd never win another election. The difference between that, and great oratory is simple. Great oratory takes great themes, great emotions and great ideas, and presents them using great language and sometimes physical drama. Not all great speakers looked great while they spoke, Churchill and Martin Luther King Jr being two prominent examples. Churchill was once described as a large pile of dirty clothes with a head. But as soon as he spoke, you stopped day-dreaming or chit chatting or whatever, and you listened.
When I watch Martin Luther King speaking, every word seems important and true and necessary. Its also beautiful, like a superbly executed painting. Still, underlying the skill and the drama, there must be truth. Obama isn't talking the truth. He can't afford to. The trillions he wants to spend are not going to turn the US economy around. They are not for that. They will transform the role of government in American life. The government will take on many new roles. Once it has taken them on, who will be able to remove those roles from government. He knows nobody will be able to do that. But the American people would hate him and his Dem henchmen if he admitted that what he was doing was making the state as important in American life as it has been in Europe for many hundreds of years- with all the terrible implications that has.
The legacy that America has lived with for over 200 years is the one bequeathed to it by the English- the government works for me. I run it, I control it, I tell it what to do. Not the other way round. Russia, France, Italy, Germany/Prussia, Poland and many other european entities have had governments which directed, controlled and patrolled the life of the citizen. The state became the dominant life-form in society. Money, influence, power and prestige all emanated from it, and were bestowed by it. In the anglo-saxon world, it was possible to have all those things without being beholden to the state in any way. Aristocrats and businessmen could go through whole lives without having much if anything to do with the state. Fortunes were made and lost without the state being involved in any way at all.
Barack Obama doesn't want that to be true. Running through European history is a very broad stream of nationalism and statism. The two feed off each other. For national glory to be delivered the state must grow and grow. Only in England and America was national glory simply a result of burgeoning wealth and creativity and invention. The English and American states became powerful because their subjects were so good at making wealth, and that allowed the state to grow sizeable and effective armed forces.
Of course, we've gone astray since the collapse of Victorian England in the first world war, and the determined efforts of the communists/socialists to destroy English national cohesion by turning the poor against the wealthy. In that, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. We are gradually falling towards a voluntary communist dictatorship, as the stranglehold that communists/ecologists have on our education system drip-feeds dark lies and hate about our nation, its values and its history into childrens ears.
Its our own faults- we were not vigilant about our freedoms, we did not see the sinister nature of the very real threats in the world, and now we see how the ideas fed into the population over about a hundred years have yielded not social utopia and a workers paradise but a completely fractured social space, millions and millions of people with a void for a national identity, and amnesia and shame about who and what the English are.
Barack Obama is taking the US on a whistlestop tour of the twentieth century. Does he know where he is taking the nation? He seems to know no history whatsoever. Does he understand what Nicolas Sarkozy represents in French politics? Does he realise that EVEN THE FRENCH are having second thoughts about the wisdom of a state that dominates the life of the nation to the point where it squeezes out much perfectly legitimate activity? Does he not see the creeping Thatcherisation quietly winning hearts and minds even in sclerotic Europe? Ok, its not a fight thats in any way won yet, but both Sarkozy and Merkel are not like their predecessors in their assumptions about the utterly dominant state. Thats real measurable progress. The Poles and the Czechs never drank the cool-aid to begin with, are are consistently Thatcherite in their political philosophy AND their national behaviour.
So Obama is a throwback to the late forties, at the very least. How cool would it be if that fact was revealed in painful detail and starkness to the American voter? I wish...