Since I’m going to be taking a week or so off for medical reasons, and because I find his thinking always provactive (check out his many eloquent and erudite indeed polymathic coments on this blog, they are the sort of thoughtful responses I keep hoping I’ll get more of) I asked my friend Charlie Finch to do a guest post. Here’s what he sent me:
SAVING THE PRESIDENT Those whom the gods wish to destroy they make President. So protean was Lincoln’s Presidency that we forget that it lasted but four years. That great vital force Teddy Roosevelt died young trying to get back to the White House. Wilson, a President of probity and prurience, was cracked within the thin shell of his own ideals. FDR, conqueror of his own withered legs, was physically beaten down by the task of defeating unspeakable evil. Metamorphases of tragedy destroyed the glamorous Kennedy, the dominating Johnson, the striving Nixon, heavily enabled by the actions of all three. Reagan’s body long survived a mind that was never really there, and, in his puppet Presidency, sowed the reckless seeds of our current discontent.
What of President Obama? Seven weeks into his term, the press and many of his fellow Democrats have begun to unravel this rainbow-colored ball of string. They perceive him as the product of their own manufacture; to them the beloved, symbolic and very human tribune of the voting public is nothing but a boy. The President created waves of experienced appointees, in part, to shield him from the uncreative destruction to which the Presidency is especially subject in our age. His planned escapes from the Oval, such as Obama’s skipping the idiotic Gridiron Dinner for his daughters’ spring break, already indicates his fear of personal destruction by his so-called allies and enablers. The key to his political and psychological transcendence lies in that most mystical and nonunderstandable of Presidents, George Washington (who also did not long survive the office). Those who knew him knew Washington as a kind of god on earth during his lifetime. He had an engaged detachment and detached engagement with the events and human acrtions around him, one that we still cannot quantify. Something in him fundamentally didn’t care in the human sense, but believed profoundly in the transcendental sense. Obama must seize this peculiar, exalted mantle, and how he shall do it is beyond my powers of imagination. All the best, Charlie