Monthly archives "December 2010"

American Narcissus

The Weekly Standard has carried two articles authored by Jonathan Last over the last three issues on  the splendid narcissism of Barack Obama.    There are numerous examples of the President’s mirror gazing.  The week of December 13 he took a book to read to a class of second graders in Northern Virginia.   The book he chose?    A children’s version of A Christmas Carol?  Rudolph?    Frosty the Snow Man?   No, Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama.   Leonard Bernstein’s wife once asked him, “Who do you think you are?   Everybody?”    We might ask the President the same question.

The week of December 6 Obama began a statement honoring Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the following:  “One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace prize–an award that speaks to our highest aspirations and has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice.”   Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry anticipated such egotistical, self-congratulating hot air 40 years ago when he described a government official as a “legend in his own mind.”

But for sheer comic relief over Obama’s obsession with self it is hard to surpass his failed guess at the next words of Indian businessman, Bhupendra Kansagra.   Obama was in Mumbai in November where Kansagra was addressing a roundtable.

Mr. Kansagra:   Welcome Mr. President to India.  As a fellow Kenyan, I’m very proud to see that you have made—-

Obama interrupting:    Made something of myself?

Mr. Kansagra:  —-India the focus of your drive for exports out of the U.S.

The word is that President Obama and the First Lady are not being invited to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, though President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and his wife, Carla Bruni, are on the guest list.   Perhaps the Royal Couple recalls that Obama’s gift to William’s grandmother, the Queen of England, was an i Pod with Barack’s speeches already loaded.  And perhaps The Prince and Princess feel their wedding gifts need not include a copy of Dreams of My Father.

It is not too early to think about the Presidential election of 2012.   Let’s vote for a grown up this time who loves America more than self and who is not obsessed with the perpendicular pronoun.


Decisive Battles/Decisive Babies

There is a fascinating volume written in 1851 by Edward Creasy entitled Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World (From Marathon to Waterloo).   This volume is still in print through Da Capo Press.  In addition to Marathon and Waterloo it also includes the Battle of Hastings, The Spanish Armada, The Battle of Saratoga, N.Y. where  Revolutionary War General Horatio Gates defeated British General John Burgoyne and captured his 5000 man army.   This victory convinced France we could win the war and prompted their assisting us.
Today Creasy would probably include such battles as Gettysburg  in the Civil War and Midway in WWII. 
Military colleges still employ this volume in their classes. 

As always we are still in a battle for freedom.   Some call the fight against global terrorism WWIII.  There is also a fight for freedom with the current regime in Washington, D.C.   Hopefully we took some steps toward correction on November 2.

In the midst of our battles and challenges comes Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the most decisive baby.   Isaiah 9:6 reads:  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.   And He shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace.”  Never a birth like this one.  Born of a virgin.   God often does things with few taking note.  At the time of this birth 2000 years ago the world looked to Rome and Caesar, not to a manger in Bethlehem.  Today, however,  the Roman Empire is in the dust bin of history and no one even speaks Latin, the language of their vastness.  But if one writes a check today it  is dated by the birth of the one called Wonderful.

Some 3500 years ago God raised up another baby who would deliver His People.   They were slaves in Egypt and this great nation feared the Hebrews in Goshen so Pharaoh ordered all males of the Chosen killed.   One family built a basket and placed their son in it and sent him down the Nile.   This little ark did not simply happen to float into the court of Egypt.   God oversaw the protection of Moses who would grow up to be the instrument of God’s mighty hand in setting His people free.    The world at that time looked to Egypt.   But God raised up Moses.

In 1809 Europe and Russia trembled before Napoleon.   But in that year a baby was born to Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln.   They  named him Abraham.  Gladstone, Tennyson, Poe, and Cyrus McCormick inventor of the harvester were also born in 1809.   Which is more significant today?   Napoleon’s battles or these babies?

In 1814 with Napoleon largely defeated, the Russians and Austrians took vengance by invading Italy.  Many citizens of Picenza were massacred.     A number of women fled to the church for safety but the soldiers pursued them there and slew them and their babies.   But one woman hid in the belfry with her infant son at her breast.   Few historians even remember what is known as the Battle of Picenza but we still listen to the music of that baby who grew up to be Verdi the great composer of  Rigoletto and La Travita.

Pharaoh, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin and Osama bin Laden make more noise in decisive battles.   But God raises up far more decisive babies.    And in this season we sing:

                                                                            O holy child of Bethlehem
                                                                                Descend to us, we pray
                                                                             Cast out our sin, and enter in:
                                                                                  Be born in us today.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!                                     Eutychus     

The 2012 Presidential Election

There is an interesting phenomenon occurring in the Republican ranks as we begin to think of the 2012 Presidential race.   Other than for Sarah Palin the excitement is not being generated by persons who have shown interest before–not for Mitt Romney or Haley Barbour or Mike Huckabee.   No it is younger Republicans like Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio who are drawing attention.

Congressman Paul Ryan has written a Roadmap for reform of Social Security and Medicare reform.   Debt commission leaders Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson have included parts of  the Ryan Roadmap in their plan to reduce the deficit.   Nearly as significant, Alice Rivlin, former Clinton budget director for Bill Clinton, recently backed Ryan’s ideas.

Bobby Jindal, Govenor of Louisiana, has written a book highly critical of Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill crisis.   Jindal is doubtful that the President will move away from his radical agenda on any front.   The most in demand speaker for the GOP, other than Palin, is Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor who is fearlessly taking on the Left in his state and beyond.    His speeches remind one of Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman.    The most exciting new U.S. Senator is Marco Rubio of Florida.  Perhaps no one since Jack Kennedy in 1952 has drawn such attention as a Freshman in the Upper Chamber.

One thing these young men all have in common is lack of interest in running for President in 2012.   We can add one more name to this list:   Rick Perry, just elected to his third term as Governor of Texas.   On his watch, Texas has replaced California as the most prosperous and influential state.   Like others noted above he is not seeking the White House.

It is strange how things can change in two years.   In 2008 Barack Obama was the toast of the town and the world and even Larry Sabato, brilliant political scientist at the U. of Virginia, felt the GOP was headed for half pint status.  Now even the Left is asking what happened to the Anointed One, and the Republicans have a bench so deep that their Front Line players are being eclipsed by younger men and women.

Noemie Emery is a very gifted columnist for the Washington Examiner.   She wrote a piece in the November 15 edition of the Weekly Standard  about the “Impermanent Majority,”  in which she notes that  the year 2004 was to be a realignment to the Right.   This was followed by the 2008 realignment led by that transcendent persuader, Barack Obama.   Each of these realignments lasted all of seven months.

In 2006 all knew that 2008 was going to be about Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.   Obama was an asterisk also ran and Sarah Palin was unknown outside Alaska.   Emery closes her article with these words, “In light of these facts, we make no predictions.   All we feel free to say of the future is that it certainly does lie ahead.”

Noemie Emery properly suggests caution at this moment.   She is right.  Even the most gifted cannot see around corners.   But I would add to her careful closing–hang on.   This is all going to be very exciting, however it turns out.