Obama: The Man, The Enigma, The US President

A Falsehood Wrapped in an Enigma Stuffed Into a Burrito
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He showed not the slightest sign in the idiom that really counts in a media age -- body language -- that he gave a damn. He could see your pain, he could talk about your pain, but he gave no indication that he felt it.

The enigma of Barack Obama

One can understand. Obama's father deserted the family and afterward visited his son only once.

He twice was separated from his mother, who lived in Indonesia without him. He was partially raised by his grandparents -- an elderly white couple. If the president is what the shrinks call "well-defended," who can blame him? It's ironic that Oprah Winfrey was maybe Obama's most significant early backer when the man himself is so un-Oprah.

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He cannot emote. The consequences are unfortunate. Obama's opaqueness has enabled his enemies -- they are not mere critics -- to define him as they choose. He becomes a socialist, which he is not, or a Muslim, which he also is not. Even his allies are confused. The left thought he was a leftie. He's not. The right, too, thought he was a leftie. He is, above all, a pragmatist. This makes it a lot easier to say what he is not than what he is.

Fortune has not smiled on Obama's presidency. His one uncontested attribute -- a shimmering intellect -- has become suspect. A world of smart guys has turned against us. Everyone at Goldman Sachs is smart, but they seem to have the amorality mocked by the songwriter Tom Lehrer in his sendup of the celebrated American rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi "'Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?

That's not my department,' says Wernher von Braun". The oil industry is full of smart people and so is the mortgage industry. Smart people seem to have brought us nothing but trouble. Smarts without values is dangerous -- threatening, scary, virtually un-American.

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They must stay up late at night wishing and hoping that something or someone would finally bring him down. But that reticence lasted only a few weeks. Do we feel lucky? The Long View. World News. Agree or disagree with him his voice and wisdom will be missed.

This is why a succession of arch-conservative eccentrics have succeeded. Their values are obvious, often shockingly so. We know what they want, just not how they are ever going to get it. Experience has become a handicap and inexperience a virtue. Smart is out.

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The Riddle of an Enigma

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