04 September 2009

The revolution is what he does. It's all that he does.

Over at the American Spectator, Quin Hillyer has a very important analysis of Obama. In short, he warns conservatives not to take too much solace in Obama's falling poll numbers, nor in the popular uprising against health care reform. Obama, he points out, is not Jimmy Carter. He is smarter, does not have the same kind of opposition within his own party that Carter faced, and on the right, he faces no unifying leader, such as Reagan had become for Republicans in the late 1970s. As they say, read the whole thing.

Any disagreement with his analysis seems like nitpicking, as I think Hillyer's got it about right. But here I go anyway.

I share his assessment of Obama as an absolutely committed left-wing ideologue, and agree that Obama does not care about his poll numbers - at least not right now. I am convinced that if he can get through enough of his program on health care to make the slide to socialized medicine irreversible, he would willingly lose re-election.

I am not as convinced that he is a shrewd tactician, as Hillyer describes him. He did win the nomination against a Clinton machine that many thought all-powerful, but it is also a fact that Hillary Clinton, recent image rehabilitations notwithstanding, has never been particularly likable. Her campaign's mis-steps, and the howling wind of press approval at Obama's back had as much to do with his nomination as any shrewdness of tactics. His approach tends not to be shrewdness, but brute force.

I also think it has become clear that Obama's extremely high self-regard, and the cult of personality around him, simply cannot be parodied. I think they still believe that their devotion to the Dear Leader can and will infect the population at large. That will be their Achilles heel, because Obama is not, in fact, an inspiring speaker. His personal attempts to persuade regularly fall flat. His "personal narrative" is old and tired now. He exhibits no leadership. Rather, he passes the buck to third-rate hacks leading Congress.

Yet the danger remains, because I do not believe, no matter what happens, Obama will ever back off, and he has already exhibited an almost pathological inability to admit personal error. He has a single-mindedness of purpose, and an absolute commitment to radical change. With those two things, and a compliant Congress, he doesn't need shrewdness or popularity.

Even if health care reform dies this year, the fight is far from over.

No comments: