Obama’s failure to resurrect the economy has become so obvious that even the Washington Post has noticed. “Obama’s approval drops as Americans take a dimmer view of his economic policies,” reads the shocked headline of a Tuesday article on the same.
Despite the heroic efforts of the American media to convince them otherwise, taxpayers are catching on that Obama’s brand of stealth socialism doesn’t work any better than the real thing.
Conservatives have known this for a long time of course. The liberal hard core does not know and doesn’t want to know. And non-taxpayers don’t care as long as they get theirs.
The class that seems most befuddled by Obama’s failure is that of the American intellectual. Its luminaries do pay attention. They study Obama, but they have continually refused to see what is obvious to the average Ohio plumber.
A standout of this class is one James T. Kloppenberg, author of the impressively misguided book, “Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition.” Published just last year, the book sets a new standard of academic myopia.
Kloppenberg, the Charles Warren professor of American History at Harvard, insists that President Obama is a true intellectual, a rare “philosopher president,” one that he classes with the likes of Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln and Wilson.
If this were not removed enough from reality, Kloppenberg doubles down on his obliviousness by insisting that the philosophy guiding Obama, according to the Times, “is pragmatism, a uniquely American system of thought.”
Kloppenberg dismisses outright those conservatives like Dinesh D’Souza and Stanley Kurtz who argue that Obama is either an anti-colonialist or a socialist. “Adams and Jefferson were the only anti-colonialists whom Obama has been affected by,” Kloppenberg told a New York audience recently. “He has a profound love of America.”
To make his case, Kloppenberg would seem to have ignored everything we know about Obama’s leftist, anti-American influences: his secular humanist mother, his communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis, his radical Hyde Park pals Bill Ayers and Rashid Khalidi, his deranged pastor Jeremiah Wright and even his would-be role model, the late and unlamented Hugo Chavez.
In college, as Obama relates in his 1995 memoir “Dreams from My Father,” he discussed “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.” The literary influences Obama cites include radical anti-imperialists like Fanon and Malcolm X, communists like Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, and tyrant-loving fellow travelers like W.E.B. DuBois.
Nowhere does Obama suggest that this reading was in any way problematic or a mere phase in his development. He moves on to no new school, embraces no new worldview. It was for good reason that the National Journal cited Obama as “the most liberal” member of the U.S. Senate.
Obama’s claim to both pragmatism and to the designation “philosopher president” lies in his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope.” Again, had Kloppenberg not been so willfully blind, he would have seen “Audacity” for what it was: a re-positioning of the Obama brand, orchestrated by the savvy marketer David Axelrod and produced by committee.
Obama did not get the commission to write the book until after he was elected senator in November 2004. “I usually wrote at night after my Senate day was over, and after my family was asleep – from 9:30 p.m. or so until 1 a.m,” Obama has alleged. “I would work off an outline – certain themes or stories that I wanted to tell – and get them down in longhand on a yellow pad. Then I’d edit while typing in what I’d written.”
How a slow writer, off to a late start, using 19th century technology, could pen (literally) a well-researched, well-crafted 431-page book in the face of an absurd work schedule and a weekly commute home is a question Kloppenberg is not likely to have asked.
Obama biographer David Remnick notes that facing his deadline, Obama wrote “nearly a chapter a week.” The chapters are on average nearly 50-pages long. None of this passes the most basic smell test.
If Obama had a muse-in-chief on “Audacity,” it was almost assuredly speechwriting wunderkind Jon Favreau. Obama interviewed Favreau on his first day in the Senate in 2005 and promptly hired the then-23-year-old video-game junkie.
No writer was closer to Obama or more trusted than Favreau. “In crafting a speech,” writes Obama biographer David Mendell, “Favreau grabs his laptop and sits with Obama for about 20 minutes, listening to his boss throw out chunks of ideas. Favreau then assembles these thoughts into political prose.”
Although I cannot prove that “Audacity” was assembled in the same fashion, I can confirm that portions of “Audacity” sound like what the Times called “outtakes from a stump speech” precisely because they were, in fact, outtakes from a stump speech.
My correspondents and I found at least 38 passages from Obama speeches delivered in 2005 or 2006 that appear virtually word for word as ordinary text in “Audacity.” In short, whoever wrote Obama’s speeches wrote large sections of “Audacity,” likely most of it.
Even Bill Ayers, Obama’s collaborator on “Dreams,” saw through the fraud of “Audacity.” At a public forum in New Jersey, he dismissed it as “a political hack book.”
It takes a Harvard professor to elevate a ghostwritten propaganda tract to presidential greatness. Many of Klopenberg’s reviewers were as deluded as he was. They, too, found that Obama is committed to the “American tradition of reasoned disagreement, adaptation and compromise – in a word, Discourse” or that he is “wholehearted in his devotion to ‘preserving’ the equanimity established by the Constitution.”
I may be wrong, but I suspect that even Kloppenberg is finding it increasingly hard to compare a squirrely, blame-shifting ideologue whose idea of discourse is talking short game with Tiger Woods to Jefferson or Adams.
And if Obama loses Harvard, he has lost America.