Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 13, 2008 / 14 Tishrei 5769

Obama: Filling in the blank

By Mark Steyn


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Speaking personally, I'm not looking for a messiah in the White House. My favorite presidential heritage site is the Coolidge homestead in Plymouth Notch, Vt.: I have seen the mausoleums of mighty kings, but none compares with the row of headstones on a snowbound hillside cemetery, seven generations of Coolidges lined up in a row, all buried under simple, bald granite markers with only an all but imperceptible small American eagle to distinguish the 30th president from his forebears and descendants. The American ideal: the citizen-president.

Or so I always assumed. But let's be bipartisan here. If I were a Democrat, I'd salute Harry S. Truman, the Missouri haberdasher who … whoa, "haberdasher"! There's a word you don't hear too much nowadays, and, if you did, it'd probably be because the treasury secretary and the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee are on cable TV, standing on the steps of the Capitol announcing a 700 gazillion-dollar bipartisan haberdashery bailout package because the global haberdashery sector is too big to fail, and if we don't act now there'll be a massive planetary ripple effect that could take down ladies' lingerie, if you'll pardon the expression.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Citizen-presidents: Who needs 'em? The day after the most-recent debate I bumped into two Obama supporters in St Johnsbury, Vt. They said isn't it great that he's on course to win. Well, they were cute chicks, and I know an obvious pick-up line when I hear one, so I stopped to chat. God Almighty, it was like reverse Viagra: After 10 minutes of Babes For Barack, I never want to meet a female woman of the opposite sex for the rest of my life. Their basic pitch was:

"How do you solve a problem? Like, Obama!

How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?"

That's John McCain's problem. Traditionally, when an unknown politician emerges on the national scene, it's a race to define him. Gov. Palin is a good example: within days, the coastal sophisticates were mocking her as a chillbilly ditz with a womb that spits out inbred kids faster than the First National Bank of Welfare Swamp issues subprime mortgages. That's politics as usual: Define your opponent.

But Obama is defined by his indefinability. When I pointed out to my Vermont gals that he lives in a swank pad that was part of some shady real estate deal with a convicted fraudster (Tony Rezko), that he entrusted his daughters' entire religious education to a neo-segregationist anti-American nut who preaches that the government created the AIDS virus to kill black people (Jeremiah Wright), that he attended fundraisers with a political patron who's an unrepentant terrorist proud of plotting to blow up young ladies just like them at a dance at the Fort Dix military base (William Ayers), when I pointed all this out, they looked at me as if I'd brought a baseball bat to a croquet match. Mere earthbound politicians are defined by their real estate deals and sleazy buddies, but Obama is defined only by his vibe. As his many admirers in France would say, he has a certain je ne sais quoi. And, if you try to pin down quo precisely, then they don't want to sais.

Besides, said one of the cuties, it's racist to try to link him to unsavory white men (Ayers). And black men (Wright). And Arabs (Rezko). And, just to be on the safe side, any dodgy Uzbeks or Papuans who might have been lurking around the greater Chicago area for the past quarter-century.

The ladies weren't exactly covering their eyes and going, "Neee-neeee-na-na, can't hear you," but the other cutie did begin waving at me her Obama sticker - the one with the giant blue-frosted O embedded in a manicured candy-striped upland - like the villain in the movie trying to hypnotize you with his pocketwatch. I began frantically looking around in hopes that a passing Hare Krishna or Scientologist type could get me out of there. But, no: Gaze into the giant zero of the Obama logo, the hole in the star-spangled doughnut, the vast fathomless nullity that is the gaping keyhole to the door of utopia. To a sad shriveled Republican cynic, there's nothing there but the wide open spaces of Obama's blank resume. But believers will see therein the healing of the planet and the receding of the oceans. The black hole of Obama will suck you in through the awesome power of its totally cool suckiness.

Most Americans, of course, are not cute coeds or Hollywood celebrities or guilt-ridden white liberals. But they react to Obamania like Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn faced with Sidney Poitier in "Guess Who's Coming To The Inaugural?" We don't know much about this chap but he seems very well-spoken and nicely turned out - "articulate and bright and clean," as Joe Biden said. Obama himself has eased up on the "I am the one you've been waiting for" shtick because he's running out the clock. He was monumentally boring in last week's debate because, at this stage, boring wins. The man who used to say he doesn't look like all the other presidents now looks like all the other presidents: the calm, plausible, reassuring man in the sober suit. This is no time to frighten the horses.

But the thing is: the horses are frightened. The Dow's nose-diving, stocks are looking at their worst year since 1937. At the debate we were offered the curious spectacle of two candidates both of whom essentially take the same line on this stuff - Wall Street greed, special interests, lobbyists, the usual populist boilerplate. And yet for a pair of guys who both believe in big government solutions, everything they said seemed small and tinny. Epic events swirled all around, but the two men fighting to lead the global superpower could only joust with cardboard swords: Why, Obama was such a bold leader on this issue that only two years ago he "sent a letter" to somebody or other. Why, long before Obama sent his letter, McCain "issued a statement." Rarely has the gulf between interesting times and the paperwork of "big government" yawned so widely.

The Republican candidate's tragedy in this election is that he's chosen to fight on Obama turf, to share so many of his assumptions. At a McCain rally in Wisconsin, a fellow in the crowd announced he was mad as hell and got a standing ovation. What was he mad about"? Obama, Pelosi and "the socialists taking over our country." McCain listened politely and then pledged to get back to Washington to reach across the aisle to work on some gargantuan bipartisan cure-all. Not the answer that chap wanted to hear, I'll wager.

If the more frightening polls are correct, America is about to elect the most left-wing government in history: an Obama Oval Office, a Pelosi House of Representatives, a filibuster-proof Senate … and a year or two down the road maybe three new Supreme Court justices. It would be a transformational administration that would start building (in Michelle Obama's words) "the world as it should be." That big empty hole in the heart of the Obama logo will not stay blank for long.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Steyn is a syndicated columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Mark Steyn Archives


STEYN'S LATEST
"America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It"  

It's the end of the world as we know it…      Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a muezzin. Europeans already are.
     And liberals will still tell you that "diversity is our strength"—while Talibanic enforcers cruise Greenwich Village burning books and barber shops, the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn't violate the "separation of church and state," and the Hollywood Left decides to give up on gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.
     If you think this can't happen, you haven't been paying attention, as the hilarious, provocative, and brilliant Mark Steyn—the most popular conservative columnist in the English-speaking world—shows to devastating effect in this, his first and eagerly awaited new book on American and global politics.
     The future, as Steyn shows, belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the West—wedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivion—is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.
     Europe, laments Steyn, is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America alone—with maybe its cousins in brave Australia. But America can survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world's last best hope.
     Steyn argues that, contra the liberal cultural relativists, America should proclaim the obvious: we do have a better government, religion, and culture than our enemies, and we should spread America's influence around the world—for our own sake as well as theirs.
     Mark Steyn's America Alone is laugh-out-loud funny—but it will also change the way you look at the world. It is sure to be the most talked-about book of the year.
Sales help fund JWR.

© 2008, Mark Steyn

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles