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Were you around for the Carter Administration?

Toward the end, when it became clear that the guy just wasn’t up to the job, we started seeing stacks and piles of apologia — “The Presidency is just too big a job. It overwhelms any one man. You can’t blame Jimmah for not doing it because nobody could do it.” Now they’re popping up about Barack like mushrooms after rain. There was one at FireDogLake that I won’t link, and Donald Douglas at American Power links to one peripherally addressing “health care” at the New York Review. I eagerly await the NYT op-ed on the same subject.

Too bad, so sad. As I said before, he taken the money.

Difference is, that was after Jimmah had been in office for a few years, not nine months. Another difference is, they’re obligated by their own ideology to avoid printing/publishing the real reason we should give Barack a pass. Can you guess what it is?

Or fear, either. I don’t hate or fear Barack Obama.

In fact, I’m beginning to be tolerably amused by his antics. He has absolutely no idea what he’s doing, and is absolutely convinced in his own mind that he’s omniscient. The combination makes for some of the best pratfalls since Mack Sennett. He’s Wile E. Coyote, absolutely certain that the latest products of ACME Corporation will git that thar bird, and when it comes apart in his hand it’s just short of hilarious.

The only thing that keeps me from rolling on the floor laughing is that this isn’t a movie set or a cartoon. Those really are the levers of power, and that really is the Big Red Button in the briefcase of the clean-cut fellow who is following him around. When he slips on a (metaphorical) banana peel, as he’s begun to do pretty much daily, the resulting explosion won’t be a special effect.

…Barack Obama reminds me of me.

I have a well-above average IQ. In the podunk-town high school I attended in east Texas, that put me at the top of the “smarts” list. The result was that I learned to coast. Even in high school, I was coasting — I rarely turned in or even did my homework, confident that when test time came I would easily overcome the deficit, and I was usually right. Based on the work I actually did I probably shouldn’t have graduated at all, but thanks to indulgent teachers and last-minute makeups I ended up eleventh out of, IIRC, 83 graduates. At no time did I ever put in any significant amount of work.

Then came college.

You probably know the rest. It turns out that this is a fairly common pattern among big frogs in small ponds, whether it has to do with intelligence, athletic ability, musical talent, or simply being the biggest bully in the schoolyard. Abruptly thrust into the larger pond, the frog discovers not only that he isn’t the biggest, there are carp in there! The bright kid, the hero quarterback, and the soprano who wowed ’em at the First Baptist Church get a rude awakening — if they’re lucky. Many of them, including me, never overcome the deficit incurred during the years of coasting, and their achievements are modest if they achieve anything.

That’s our Barry, you know. He’s never been challenged, never had to put in the effort that lesser beings have to exert, and like me he never learned to put in the effort.

Mama may have been a hippie chick with a taste for black Marxist men, but she didn’t lack for funds to support her youngun’, so he never learned to work for a living. Papa took him off to a third-world country, where the stuff a resident of a major industrial society picks up by osmosis put him head and shoulders above his classmates. When he came back to Hawai’i and his homework was too hard, Mama did it for him.

He got in to an Ivy League university, where a combination of race preferences, teachers who indulged him because he had politically mature views, and his undoubted talent for smooth, slick fast talk gave him what amounts to a free ride (you’ll notice his transcripts are still guarded by dire wolves).

In Chicago, the people he was around discovered a treasure: a bright, articulate guy without the belligerent “I’m black!” attitude that cripples so many inner-city residents, an ideal front man for whatever machinations went on behind him. He was never a “bag man”, as some have claimed — being a bag man is work! — he was a “mouthpiece”, somebody who could sit on committees and address public and Government gatherings and impress the audience without saying much, while the real work of deal-making, graft-peddling, and log-rolling got done behind the scenes. He never actually did the political maneuvering; somebody else did, using him as a Muppet for the folks to look at and distract attention from the nasty bits. As in high school, if things got too tough he had plenty of help available. A front man with an Ivy League education is even more valuable if he’s written a book, so he set out to do that, but he couldn’t stick to the job long enough to finish, and somebody else did it for him.

Now he’s President of the United States. One of the things about that job is that it has to be done — if the President sloughs it off, nothing happens. There’s nobody behind the scenes to take care of the horrid bits, the work, for him. Oh, there are plenty of “assistants” and “aides” for the donkey-work, but Truman wasn’t accepting responsibility, he was acknowledging the truth: the buck does stop on that desk in the Oval Office, and signing the slip and passing it on doesn’t work. It doesn’t help that the aides and assistants he’s picked are either from the same demographic, single-focused wonks like Axelrod, or nonentities like Biden.

One of the characteristic behaviors of us underachievers is avoidance. When the going gets hard, we go away — we look for something, anything, else to do instead; for instance, I should be finishing up the books for my failed business and packing up the stuff, but I’m blogging instead. Obama’s a classic case: not talking to McCrystal (Afghanistan is hard), not helping Pelosi and Reid get the program through, not, in fact, doing much of anything to carry out the duties of his office. Instead he jets off to Copenhagen or takes the kids to the seashore, where he can pose for photographers, take fluff questions from the assembled paparazzi, and generally glory in his exalted status without actually doing anything to justify it.

Classic case, I tell you. Too bad he wasn’t a sports star instead. He could have run the Chevy dealership from an office full of mementos of his days as a star quarterback for Moanalua High, and spent Friday nights cheering the home team and ogling the teen-age cheerleaders, and been a small but real contributor to society.

Frank Rich of the NYT talks about “Rabbit Ragu Democrats”. The column is worth reading, because Rich lays out a good bit of the long sequence of epic fails, backtracks, and “reconsiderations” of the last nine months.

Then comes the payoff (warning: put down the drink and look away from the screen):

This is history that the president still has the power to write. It will be written in the bills he will or won’t sign into law. We can only hope that he learned an important lesson from his stunning failure to secure Olympic gold for his political home of Chicago last week. If the Olympic committee has the audacity to stand up to a lobbyist as powerful as the president of the United States, then surely the president of the United States can stand up to the powerful interests angling to defeat his promise of reform.

–ain’t it amazin’? Rich lays out, surveys, weighs, and measures the steaming pile of bullshit, and still insists there’s got to be a pony in there someplace!

Where do they get all those wonderful toy-people?

(thanks to memeorandum for the flag)

It’s big! it rocks! Buzzing bees* and birdsong by your very own lemonade spring! Priced low low low** to move fast, so call Obama, Harkin, and Baucus LLP, Realtors, before it’s too late!

[*]Cigarette trees removed as threat to public health
[**]Title clouded. Buyer responsible for all counterclaims

It doesn’t take any looking at all to discover people touting the marvelous benefits of “Public” Health Care. Talking heads and blogpundits all agree: the result will be a totally healthy population, smiling countenances will be seen everywhere, no brown baby will ever die of disease (if it survives its mother’s “family planning”), and no grandma ever need worry about paying for trips to the doctor (unless, of course, she’s no longer a contributor to society). Best of all, it’ll be really cheap, because having the Best and Brightest make all the decisions in the public interest will result in savings everywhere, especially since we’ll no longer be paying parasitic Insurance Company <harrrk! spit!> executives anything any more!

Guys, you don’t have to sell the Big Rock Candy Mountain. People will seek it out on their own, without advertising, and there will always be plenty of customers.

What you do have to do is establish title, or at least possession. Do you have a Big Rock Candy Mountain, or is it all just advertising piffle? Is what you’re promising on the shelf, just waiting for delivery approval?

What you’ve actually got is a thousand blank pages — or good as, since what’s on them changes minute by minute — that nobody but the self-appointed Masters of the Universe get to look at, plus a metric buttload of pious hopes. Sell me what’s in the legislation, not what your fevered imaginations put there.

Except you can’t, because every time we do get a look at what’s actually in it the damned thing looks a little worse. You Won™. You’ve got the majority. Either kill the thing or pass it, and stop trying to sell the Big Rock Candy Mountain. You don’t even have any candy to sell, much less a mountain of the stuff.

UPDATE: Commenter Spiny Norman observes that the last verse of McClintock’s song is apropos:

The punk rolled up his big blue eyes
And said to the jocker, “Sandy,
I’ve hiked and hiked and wandered too,
But I ain’t seen any candy.
I’ve hiked and hiked till my feet are sore
And I’ll be damned if I hike any more
To be buggered sore like a hobo’s whore
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains.”

Yup. There ain’t no candy. It thus behooves you to check into what the con-mander in chief is actually trying to sell you.

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When I Posted

October 2009