Every four years in the U.S., it comes down to the question that the Republican candidate Ronald Reagan asked the American voters in October 1980: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
During the second debate of the 2012 election cycle, Republican candidate Mitt Romney responded to a question by stating, “I can tell you that if you were to elect President Obama, you know what you’re going to get. You’re going to get a repeat of the last four years. We just can’t afford four more years like the last four years.” And just as Reagan did in turning the 1980 campaign into a referendum on the Carter presidency, similarly Romney appears to have turned the 2012 campaign on its head and in his favour.
President Obama is not merely the first black, or coloured, president of the United States. He is also the first affirmative action president and the poster-face — along with Bill Clinton — of children born to and reared by that segment of the boomer generation described scathingly as the most self-indulgent, or hedonistic, and amoral in the bestselling book, The Culture of Narcissism, by the late Christopher Lasch.
The question that hangs over American politics, and will be discussed in the years to come, is how could candidate Obama and the gang from Chicago who brought him to the White House in 2008 get enough Americans to vote for him? This is a story that eventually will be told, and it will be an ugly story more revealing of the decay of American culture and society than, for instance, was the Watergate episode in American politics.
It is also the story in the larger sense that Lasch wrote about, as did Allan Bloom in his bestselling book, The Closing of the American Mind.
Enough damaging material about Obama’s past corrupt associations and left-wing Saul Alinsky politics got to be known in 2008. Yet the mainstream media refused to investigate and properly vet Obama.
And Obama, on his part, threw every associate of his — his fiery pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his terrorist mentor Bill Ayers, his real-estate friend Tony Rezko (serving time in prison for embezzlement), and finally his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton — under the bus instead of taking responsibility for his part in relationships and situations that became matter of public concern.
The mainstream media circled Obama’s wagon, and carried him forward. The New York Times, for instance, also known as the Pravda-on-the-Hudson, has been Obama’s ideological soulmate and cheerleader alongside NBC, CNN, ABC, MSNBC and similar media organizations. This media bubble and the company of fawning Hollywood celebrities give Obama the sense he is above criticism and superior in intelligence to those around him, including opponents.
In being shielded by the liberal-left media, Obama has appeared glamorous. But when tested, as in the debates, he has come out looking glib and shallow. The result might well be for Obama, as Clint Eastwood reminded his audience at the Republican convention a few weeks ago in Tampa, Fla., “and when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.”
This, then, is the irony of being Obama.