One reason, over the past four years, that Mr Obama has lost his heroic status is that people now see beyond the simple, wonderful fact that a black man can be elected president. Martin Luther King famously had a dream about the time when his own children would be judged not “by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. In the case of President Obama, this time has come.
And it turns out that his character is not that of a man who has emerged from nowhere to challenge the powerful few on behalf of the wretched of the earth. It is that of a media-savvy professor of an Ivy League university – comfortable with irony, more than comfortable with the sound of his own voice, confident that he knows a great deal more than most of us. One of the striking features of the lives of such professors is their terms of employment. They have what is called “tenure”: no one can get them out.
Mr Obama went into the contest that ends on Tuesday believing that he, too, had tenure. The White House was his. The election, like those bogus selection processes for top public sector jobs when the winner has been pre-decided, was little more than a tiresome formality.
In the first debate, when Mr Romney attacked him and proposed himself as a man with interesting answers, Mr Obama looked shocked at the challenger’s effrontery. Ever since then, he has had to wake up and fight back. He has certainly performed much better. But he still speaks as if he thinks his main qualification for the job is that he has it already. In this time of immense economic difficulty, incumbency should have few rights. You have to listen very carefully to get any idea at all of what the president proposes to do with the four more years to which he feels so strongly entitled.
In Britain and, even more, in continental Europe, the people who bring their fellow citizens the news do not really see this. To them, Mr Obama’s combination of historically persecuted ethnicity and posh seminar tone is just perfect. It satisfies their mildly Left-wing consciences and fits in with their cultural assumptions. The chief of these is that the excesses of the West, especially of America, are the biggest problem in the world. Mr Obama comes as near to saying this as anyone trying to win American votes ever could. His “apology tour” to the Middle East early in his presidency remains, for the European elites, the best thing he has ever done. He is the anti-Americans’ American.
… whenever Mr Romney has made what the media call his “gaffes”, I have noticed that almost all of them contain kernels of truth. Whether he is talking about the 47 per cent (his figure) of Americans who are suppliants of the state or about the threat from Russia, he is raising real problems, very much the sort of questions that Mr Obama would rather not discuss.
Monday, November 05, 2012
Obama: the anti-Americans’ American sporting a combination of historically persecuted ethnicity and posh seminar tone
Barack Obama’s put-down of his rival, Mitt Romney, during the final US presidential television debate "was a piece of condescension, and it came not from a columnist but from the Commander-in-Chief" writes Charles Moore (thanks to Instapundit) in the Telegraph.