Sunday, June 06, 2010

The tear stops here (or should)

I am about to defend Obama -- a limited warranty only; read the fine print.

He has done enough mischief and is planning more, and there is so much ground for legitimate criticism that there is no need to bash him out of pure partisanship and ill-will.

One of the themes raising its brainless head lately on conservative radio and in the blogosphere is that King Obi is failing the country, not (only) because he is a Marxist ideologue domestically and childish naif in foreign affairs, but that he isn't showing that he cares enough that oil and water don't mix.

I have been listening to drive-time talk radio a fair amount lately because the CD player in my car has packed up. In the evening, that means a choice between Mark Levin and a newbie named Jeff Kuhner, a right-wing loon. Yes, a right-wing loon.

This Kuhner item -- he modestly bills himself as "the last honest man in Washington" -- was banging on last week in his grating, plebby New York accent (he makes Michael Savage sound like Franklin Roosevelt) about how Obi didn't show enough fee-eee-eeling when he dropped in to check out the tar balls on the Gulf beaches. I've heard and read the same elsewhere. Obi is too controlled, too cool. He should be tearful on our behalf.

Bollocks. I don't want a weeper for a president. He is not the leader of an emotional support group for oil spill victims. Federal officials are charged with various responsibilities in helping stop the oil disaster. The country's top executive should be knocking heads and taking names to make sure those in charge do their jobs.

Whether Obi actually is doing that, I doubt. Predictably, his response seems mainly to ladle out blame. But that's a different issue.

The primary concern isn't about fairness to the president. It's about the overgrowth of the therapeutic society. Of course the Gulf spill brings up feelings -- the pictures of the poor birds covered in oil are heartbreaking -- but they aren't the qualification for high-level officials. They should be judged on the quality of their actions in dealing with calamity, not as hosts in a celebrity telethon.

Imagine Winston Churchill going on the radio after the Dunkirk evacuation. If he behaved the way Mr. Last Honest Man would like, he'd sound like this:

"It is a terrible day for Britain and our empire, so terrible that I can hardly bring myself to speak. I know that you will pardon me if I sniffle a bit during this broadcast. Our troops in France have ... have ... excuse me, I need a moment to control myself. ... Thank you. Our troops in France have had to be rescued and the enemy, which has taken France as a result of my predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, is now threatening our coasts and its wildlife.

"My heart is so heavy, beating arrhythmically, that I had an extra tot of whisky with breakfast. I cannot tell you how devastated I am. No! I can tell you! A-gain and a-gain, my eyes have misted so strongly that my cigar had to be re-lit.

"Never have I felt so helpless in witnessing the course of events. Ladies and gentlemen, as our great Bard wrote, 'If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.' My heart is on the beaches with our lads, brave in defeat, and I must pause till it return.

"In response to this crisis, I have ordered that all drilling should cease on this island, both among our armed forces and the civilian home guard, until a full and thorough investigation has taken place. If there was incompetence in the retreat ... sob! sob! ... from Dunkirk, those responsible will pay the price. If laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice. That means you, Neville old boy."



David said...

Obama's *campaign* was based far more on "feelings" than on rational thought, so it's not surprising that many of his supporters would be continuing to search for emotion from their man.

Rick Darby said...

Aye, but it's not only his supporters who want him to turn into a living emoticon, but alleged conservatives. They've bought into the pop psychology of "letting it all out," as well as the liberal stance that the central government is the cure for every problem -- and that the president, as the center of the center, is the Pope and Dalai Lama rolled into one.

Anonymous said...

If Churchill were PM this day, he would be expected to give that kind of tear jerk speech after 9/11 or 7/7 or Beslan.

They say there was never such a thing as the 'good old days'. But looking at us now - the PCfied, demoralised, ashamed of the greatest civilisation created for all humanity by us, those were indeed the good old days. They were good, because we were confident of who were. They were good, that despite shortages, we knew we would create more wealth, looking forward to a better future. Instead, we are now ashamed of the wealth we have created out of nothing, for everyone.

Is the sun going through a yet to be discovered cycle, that is causing global stupidity?

Lawrence Auster said...

So much of the conservative Web consists of endless kneejerk attacks on Obama. These articles are so nakedly partisan that they are worthless from the point of view of fact and analysis. Examples are much of the output at American Thinker, and Toby Harbden, the Telegraph's correspondent in the U.S., whose every article consists of dumping on Obama.

Now a case can be made that Obama was truly not serious about the Gulf oil spill. There were things he could have done, such as approving Gov. Jindal's request for berms to protect the shore, and he didn't do them. I just read today that Obama has never had a conversation with the CEO of BP. I do believe that he is incapable by temperament of trying to protect America from disaster.

However, when scores of conservative commentatators are going after Obama for, of all things, his insufficient expression of emotion about he disaster (!!), then we know that these conservatives are without principle and will attack Obama on anything that comes to hand.