The White House must think that it’s 2008, because on April 10 it posted an image of President Obama strategically shot so that it looked as if he could blast rainbow repulsor rays from his hands. The image may have worked years ago, when millions of people could look at him surrounded by giant Styrofoam Greek columns and not laugh, but the magic is mostly gone for the man who officially put George W. Bush’s use of drones to shame.
The New York Times reported May 29, 2012 on Mr. Obama’s “Terror Tuesday” kill lists:
Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”
Question: Does Mr. Obama represent a leprechaun, or is he the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Perhaps the best answer is that like leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows, Mr. Obama is a wonderful work of fiction that millions of people can take comfort in as they crawl into bed at night.
For almost two terms, the Hagiography Factory has never given its employees a day off — because its products work. For millions of Americans, the transmutation of Mr. Obama from a fallible human being into some sort of “hope and change” creature allows them to ignore the consequences of his public policy decisions, no matter how disastrous they may be (e.g., Libya, Yemen, Syria).
“Change” is the vague refrain of the Obama administration because it means something entirely different to each person. Each true believer has an ideal image of change inside his mind’s eye, and any failure to achieve that goal is not the fault of the political leprechaun, but nefarious actors or unforeseen circumstances beyond everyone’s control.
The deification of any politician is a dangerous thing because at the end of the day he or she is still an incredibly flawed individual. The politician is subject to the same temptations and base impulses as anyone else. The surest way to corrupt a man is to convince him that he is incorruptible, but sadly that is a lesson that escapes the true believer.
As the 2016 presidential election heats up, I suggest watching to see who the new owner(s) of the Hagiography Factory will be. Once that is determined, it would be wise to view everything that person says and does with a hyper-skeptical eye.