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August in the White House

August 21, 2009

Evidently, President Obama is becoming increasingly desperate in pushing his health care whatever. Either that or his arrogance is truly record-breaking and might surpass that of many a decadent Roman emperor.

What to make of Obama’s writing off critics of his (still quite opaque and vague) plan as dishonest and/or hysterics? Is this an overly self-confident political tactic or a shock-reaction to unexpected lack of enthusiasm for his project?

Then there was the call to rat out persons who give “fishy” information on the health-care-plan-in-the-making. (Because, you know, such things get passed on through “casual conversation” – the horror! Clearly something the White House can’t just let happen.) Is such an idea the result of Team Obama being so cocksure that people will love them no matter what, or the conscious choice of a risky tactic because there’s nothing to lose?

The newest attempt to win over sympathisers is Obama’s argument that ‘It is God’s wish that I reform health care.’ Now if a President Clinton had said something like that you’d know it’s a cynical political tactic of bad taste. But from what we know about Obama’s self-regard (you probably know what I mean) you have to consider the possibility that he actually thinks that’s true. On the other hand, since Obama’s primary goal is obviously to aggrandise himself and only secondly to, er, well who knows, it is more likely that his evoking of divine missions is a sign of his disrespect for true religious devotion rather than the contrary.

President Obama’s behaviour really is reminiscient of an unworthy Augustus of Rome: he accumulates as much power as he can, revels in decadent luxuries even during economic hard times, basks in adulation of the masses and cynically uses their superstition to legitimise his reign. Now, obviously Obama isn’t going into such extremes as some rulers in ancient times did. After all, he wants to get re-elected. But in any case, Obama’s presidency, as any presidency, will leave a mark on America’s history. While he’s eargerly trying to eradicate all traces of his predecessor from the nation’s politics, Obama should keep in mind that his successor might feel the need to attempt the same with his own legacy, should his policies turn out to be too far from what the usually moderate majority of Americans want. Such a pattern, too, is to be found in the Roman Empire’s decline.

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