Page 2 of 2 Obama's women reveal his
secret By Spengler
Efrain Morote Best, who headed the University of San Cristobal of Huamanga in
Ayacucho, Peru, between 1962 and 1968. Dunham's radicalism was more vicarious;
she ended her career as an employee of international organizations.
Barack Obama received at least some instruction in the Islamic faith of his
father and went with him to the mosque, but the importance of this experience
is vastly overstated by conservative commentators who seek to portray Obama as
a Muslim of sorts. Radical anti-Americanism, rather than Islam, was the
reigning faith in the Dunham household. In the Muslim world of the 1960s,
nationalism rather than radical Islam was the ideology of choice among the
enraged. Radical Islam did not emerge as a major
political force until the nationalism of a Gamal Abdel Nasser or a Sukarno
Barack Obama is a clever fellow who imbibed hatred of America with
his mother's milk, but worked his way up the elite ladder of education and
career. He shares the resentment of Muslims against the encroachment of
American culture, although not their religion. He has the empathetic skill set
of an anthropologist who lives with his subjects, learns their language, and
elicits their hopes and fears while remaining at emotional distance. That is,
he is the political equivalent of a sociopath. The difference is that he is
practicing not on a primitive tribe but on the population of the United States.
There is nothing mysterious about Obama's methods. "A demagogue tries to sound
as stupid as his audience so that they will think they are as clever as he is,"
wrote Karl Krauss. Americans are the world's biggest suckers, and laugh at this
weakness in their popular culture. Listening to Obama speak, Sinclair Lewis'
cynical tent-revivalist Elmer Gantry comes to mind, or, even better, Tyrone
Power's portrayal of a carnival mentalist in the 1947 film noire Nightmare Alley.
The latter is available for instant viewing at Netflix, and highly recommended
as an antidote to having felt uplifted by an Obama speech.
America has the great misfortune to have encountered Obama at the peak of his
powers at its worst moment of vulnerability in a generation. With malice
aforethought, he has sought out their sore point.
Since the Ronald Reagan boom began in 1984, the year the American stock market
doubled, Americans have enjoyed a quarter-century of rising wealth. Even the
collapse of the Internet bubble in 2000 did not interrupt the upward trajectory
of household assets, as the housing price boom eclipsed the effect of equity
market weakness. America's success made it a magnet for the world's savings,
and Americans came to believe that they were riding a boom that would last
forever, as I wrote recently .
Americans regard upward mobility as a God-given right. America had a double
founding, as David Hackett Fischer showed in his 1989 study, Albion's Seed
. Two kinds of immigrants founded America: religious dissidents seeking a new
Promised Land, and economic opportunists looking to get rich quick. Both
elements still are present, but the course of the past quarter-century has made
wealth-creation the sine qua non of American life. Now for the first
time in a generation Americans have become poorer, and many of them have become
much poorer due to the collapse of home prices. Unlike the Reagan years, when
cutting the top tax rate from a punitive 70% to a more tolerable 40% was
sufficient to start an economic boom, no lever of economic policy is available
to fix the problem. Americans have no choice but to work harder, retire later,
save more and retrench.
This reversal has provoked a national mood of existential crisis. In Europe,
economic downturns do not inspire this kind of soul-searching, for richer
are poorer, remain what they always have been. But Americans are what they make
of themselves, and the slim makings of 2008 shake their sense of identity.
Americans have no institutionalized culture to fall back on. Their national
religion has consisted of waves of enthusiasm - "Great Awakenings" – every
second generation or so, followed by an interim of apathy. In times of stress
they have a baleful susceptibility to hucksters and conmen.
Be afraid - be very afraid. America is at a low point in its fortunes, and
feeling sorry for itself. When Barack utters the word "hope", they instead
hear, "handout". A cynic might translate the national motto, E pluribus unum,
as "something for nothing". Now that the stock market and the housing market
have failed to give Americans something for nothing, they want something for
nothing from the government. The trouble is that he who gets something for
nothing will earn every penny of it, twice over.
The George W Bush administration has squandered a great strategic advantage in
a sorry lampoon of nation-building in the Muslim world, and has made enemies
out of countries that might have been friendly rivals, notably Russia.
Americans question the premise of America's standing as a global superpower,
and of the promise of upward mobility and wealth-creation. If elected, Barack
Obama will do his utmost to destroy the dual premises of America's standing. It
might take the country another generation to recover.
"Evil will oft evil mars", J R R Tolkien wrote. It is conceivable that Barack
Obama, if elected, will destroy himself before he destroys the country. Hatred
is a toxic diet even for someone with as strong a stomach as Obama. As he
recalled in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father, Obama
idealized the Kenyan economist who had married and dumped his mother, and was
saddened to learn that Barack Hussein Obama, Sr, was a sullen, drunken
polygamist. The elder Obama became a senior official of the government of Kenya
after earning a PhD at Harvard. He was an abusive drunk and philanderer whose
temper soured his career.
The senior Obama died in a 1982 car crash. Kenyan government officials in those
days normally spent their nights drinking themselves stupid at the Pan-Afrique
Hotel. Two or three of them would be found with their Mercedes wrapped around a
palm tree every morning. During the 1970s I came to know a number of them,
mostly British-educated hollow men dying inside of their own hypocrisy and
Both Obama and the American public should be very careful of what they wish
for. As the horrible example of Obama's father shows, there is nothing worse
for an embittered outsider manipulating the system from within than to achieve
his goals - and nothing can be more terrible for the system. Even those who
despise America for its blunders of the past few years should ask themselves
whether the world will be a safer place if America retreats into a self-pitying