Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

March 15, 2009

Guest Post:"Saving The President"

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 9:06 am

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



  1. “… his political and psychological transcendence …”

    “… a kind of god on earth during his lifetime …”

    Put down the Kool-Aid and take a deep breath.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — March 15, 2009 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  2. are you the Charles Finch who wrote “Beautiful Blue Death”? If so, congratulations, I loved that story.

    however, the Presidency is not a poem. Obama is not a kind of god, he was elected by free citizens of the USA to be the leader of the Executive Branch of their government. Things are not going well right now for the USA, and thinking kind thoughts will not fix those problems.

    And best of luck to Ron, his Hitler book was very good. And I am sorry to hear that he is not well.

    Comment by heathermc — March 15, 2009 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  3. Is it the liver? No wonder Ron is ill. Friends like this…?

    Comment by aloysiusmiller — March 15, 2009 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  4. While I think there’s validity to your post, I think you underestimate the extent to which Obama fostered and capitalized on his self-created protean character to win the election. Unquestionably, Obama was an far better choice than McCain. However, I also believe the perceived hollowness you feel the media is manufacturing, is in fact representative of the real vagueness and insubstantiality of his. One which, I contend, existed throughout the campaign but was overlooked by the media’s and public’s adulation as well as Clinton inexplicably poor campaign.

    Comment by Chris H. — March 16, 2009 @ 7:00 am | Reply

  5. The irony is that I have already said that Barack Obama has only a 50/50 chance of completing his term in office. The odds are that he will resign due to medical problems. Obama does not want to perform the everyday duties of the presidency. He feels more at home in the U.S. Senate where one can get away with mostly flapping their jaw. There is also a huge difference between Obama and Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington: the latter men actually accomplished something before becoming the elected leader of the United States! Our current president would have no captured the Democratic Party’s nomination if he were a white man. He took full advantage of white guilt. Obama is way over his head. He is not even close to being ready for prime time.

    Comment by David Thomson — March 16, 2009 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  6. David, Harsh words, but I largely agree. I’m not sure about the 50/50 chance point you made. Why do you say that? What medical problems? Expand.

    Comment by Chris H. — March 16, 2009 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  7. “What medical problems? Expand.”

    Every president ages significantly during their time in office. It’s a rough job. Barack Obama has little interest in actually running the country. And I definitely sense that he feels overwhelmed. And it logical for Obama to feel that way! Once again, he is not close to being ready to handle these mind-boggling responsibilities. Thus, I suspect that he will become ill. His instincts for self-preservation will kick in—and Obama will resign.

    We should never forget that the last election was very unusual. Two U.S. senators were competing against each other. What were the American people thinking? Normally, we prefer governors. And that’s because the top elected individual of any state government actually has to do something. U.S. senators mostly shoot their mouths off. They don’t essentially run anything but their office staff. Barack Obama has virtually no executive experience! How in hell did he become president of the United States? If you think it’s not due to race guilt, then please feel free to offer an alternative theory.

    Am I harsh? Oh well, I never graduated from either Harvard or Yale. I don’t favor mealy-mouth “nuanced” rhetoric. It’s not my style.

    Comment by David Thomson — March 16, 2009 @ 9:27 am | Reply

  8. Oh no. I am soldily behind the race guilt hypothesis. That and the incredibly poor campaign Hillary ran. She was a shoe-in. How she blew so much money is beyond me. I agree also with the executive vs legislative experience and their usefulness in preparation for the presidency. Most recently with Bush, he possessed and extraordinary level of self-confidence and self-belief. And I don’t think you can underestimate the extent he internalized watching his relatives handle in power influenced him.

    I’m not sure, though, if I’d agree that Obama has no interest in running the country. I suspect that he was surprised how hard it is for any president to do that. And thus, struggling to act. He is constantly being pulled in many different directions.

    What worried me most, were the screw-ups regarding the cabinet appointments. Particularly the under-covered Zinni affair. Add to that the almost total absence of second tier appointments. It made me fear that Obama does not know how to use power. As I write that, I wonder if perhaps we’re not saying the same thing.

    Comment by Chris H. — March 16, 2009 @ 9:43 am | Reply

  9. “That and the incredibly poor campaign Hillary ran.”

    I strongly believe that Hillary’s campaign was doomed once she had to go head to head against a black man. After all, she is merely a white woman—and that rates second place in the cultural milieu of the politically correct. Hillary would have been a shoo-in if she were a black woman.

    “…if I’d agree that Obama has no interest in running the country.”

    Oh no, Obama definitely wants to run the country. But he doesn’t want to do any of the necessary hard work. Much of the day of any president is boring as hell! It is pure drudgery. I don’t think Obama has any interest in performing the banal everyday duties associated with the office. More importantly, he lacks the ability to find good people to carry a lot of the burden. Obama keeps selecting incompetent and second-rate individuals. The only thing many of these folks have going for themselves is that they graduated from Harvard or another vastly overrated elite university.

    Comment by David Thomson — March 16, 2009 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  10. Don’t underestimate the role of the media in this debacle. Obama was their candidate, and largely of their creation. Once the media turned on Hillary, and started treating her like they did Republicans, Obama was given the boost he needed.

    When it all falls apart, remember that the media betrayed their trust.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — March 16, 2009 @ 1:40 pm | Reply

  11. Finch’s mystic babble of gods, transcendence, George Washington and Barack Obama is even more smarmy and useless than Ron Rosenbaum’s repeated invocations of Obama’s intelligence.

    Obama’s genius is an actor’s ability to create such illusions, not to accomplish things.

    His only executive experience before being President was heading the Annenberg Challenge. What did he do then? He gave away millions of dollars and accomplished nothing. What does he do now? He gives away billions of dollars with probably the same result, aside from putting next generations of Americans deeply into debt.

    Comment by huxley — March 17, 2009 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  12. I am Charlie Finch, senior critic of My son is Charles Finch, the well known mystery writer.

    Comment by charlie finch — March 17, 2009 @ 8:06 am | Reply

  13. Obama must seize this peculiar, exalted mantle, and how he shall do it is beyond my powers of imagination.

    For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!

    Comment by huxley — March 17, 2009 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  14. huxley: very funny.

    I tend to agree with David on this one. Barack is a salesman. (when few are buying) He will tire of the details of being President, and I won’t be surprised at all if that manifests itself as an illness. He strikes me as a family man, and this job will lose its luster soon. I could be wrong.

    Comment by bear — March 18, 2009 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  15. bear — Thanks!

    Yes. I’ve been coming to a similar conclusion. I think Obama is clearly a narcissist. When the polls turn against him and the adulation stops flowing, he will turn haughty and nasty (we’ve already seen traces of this) and go into some kind of bunker mode.

    He may suffer a public emotional meltdown, after which he will step down or some committee of wise men manage the rest of his presidency from behind the scenes.

    For Barack Obama, the adulation must flow.

    Comment by huxley — March 18, 2009 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

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