|President Obama: the elective king inaugurated|
|Written by Professor David Flint AM|
|Monday, 19 January 2009|
The BBC broadcast of the Israeli ceasefire on Sunday 18 January was followed by what seemed like a resumption of the year long US$1 billion ( Aus$ 1.5 billion) American presidential campaign, with President-elect Obama on the campaign trail again. He was calling for, believe it or not, a new Declaration of Independence.
Speaking in Baltimore, following Abraham Lincoln’s train journey to Washington, it became clear that until the inauguration, we would be seeing and hearing, over and over, each of his whistle-stop speeches.
If he were, they did a better job hiding it than Rupert Murdoch's when he gave his recent ABC Boyer Lecture at the Opera House. The users of this machine always seem to look as if they are watching tennis. In Baltimore, the President elect was moving his head from left to right in the same tell –tale way. But the journalists did not explain why.
In addition to the Lincoln train route, it seems Mr.Obama will be sworn in on the Lincoln Bible and eat lunch off replicas of the Lincolns’ White House china.
In comparison, how humble President George W Bush now seems when he only looked to Ronald Reagan and how humble President Clinton was when he merely looked to John Kennedy for inspiration. The new President is not so restrained.
Theodore Roosevelt once explained that an American President is “an elective King”. According to Frank Prochaska, he was referring to the classical definition of monarchy, the rule of one.
He contrasted this with the Westminster system which he said involves ‘a republic with an hereditary life president, who being a queen, reigns but does not rule’.
There is an unavoidable contradiction in this office. The sense of disillusion will be deep when the American people realise that they have been deceived about this.
For President Obama will at some stage disappoint the American nation and the world. He may well be a good and successful president but he cannot with any substance rise above the political fray. (Fortuitously, a book by Spectator writer James Dellingpole is about to be published by Regnery on this very point: Welcome to Obamaland: I’ve Seen Your Future And It Doesn’t Work’ )
Indeed the President was certain to disappoint whenever he raised expectations with promises like the following , given when he received the nomination of the Democrat Party over his future Secretary of State:
It may well be that Mr. Obama may actually believe this tosh, but the extraordinary thing is that the greater part of the mainstream media, American and foreign, put aside their once healthy cynicism, raised their hands in the air and also said “ I believe.”
The reason for this may be related to the decline of religion, most manifest in the new elites. Man I suspect is programmed to believe. (The remark attributed to Chesterton about atheists is pertinent: when a man becomes an atheist it is not that he believes in nothing. He will believe in anything.)
The mainstream media began to reveal they were no longer reporters but Obama campaigners in the way they presented the subprime crisis. This appears, as far as I can understand it, to have been the direct result of legislation by the Democrats to mandate lending by the banks to people who had little hope of repaying.
The mainstream media have now propagated the idea that President Obama will be above politics and that he will lead the world into a golden era.Are they sinister manipulators or are they just naive? Major General Altenburg, who until 2007 had responsibility for the military commission system, told The Australian’s Paul Maley on 19 January that soon after the inauguration, President Obama will order ‘some type of freeze’ of the Guantanamo prosecutions.
This will be, he said, because the President will ‘find the political payoff for doing that irresistible.’
This will include freezing the prosecution of Hambali, the alleged mastermind of the Bali bombing in which 202 people were murdered, including 88 Australians. Note that if this is to be done the purpose will be overwhelmingly political.
We shall see.
...the coronation of a Bonaparte like saviour...
We noted in this column the rare touch of reality brought to a media by round-up of the election on 8 November 2008.
Christopher Hitchens told the other irritated members of an ABC TV panel in Sydney that as a journalist it was not his role to have the warm and fuzzy feelings which were engulfing the other panellists, former NSW Premier Bob Carr and Robert Manne.
He said the role of the journalists is to ask questions, listen to answers and then to pose tougher questions.
There was an amusing moment. When Bob Carr was parading, as he often does, his knowledge of American history and eulogising the various Supreme Court decisions on race, Hitchens interjected ‘like Dred Scott.’
“Yes, a great decision,” enthused Carr.
And misleading them into believing that generations from now, they will be able to look back and tell their children his inauguration was the moment when they began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when they ended a war and secured their nation and restored America’s image as the last, best hope on earth.
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