During the campaign, Biden warned that Obama would be tested in his first six months in office. We all assumed that Biden knew about a planned terrorist attack on the US. That could still happen, of course, although I devoutly hope it won’t.
At exactly the five month mark, however, there is a test taking place, and that is the test of Obama’s moral courage with regard to Iran. So far, he’s not doing very well. When 405 Congresspeople turn on “The One,” the one is finding himself on the wrong side of history. When liberal pundit after liberal pundit writes about his or her support for the Iranian people, and then engages in pathetic contortions to justify Obama’s refusal to voice any support, the One is failing a test. When France is a stronger moral presence than the United States, our leader looks small.
I see the handwriting on the wall: Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin. Obama is being weighed and found wanting, in the eyes of fellow politicians, in the eyes of his party, in the eyes of the American people, and in the eyes of the world.
Mark Steyn skillfully describes the pattern behind Obama’s moral breakdown:
For the Obama administration, this [the fact that we do have a dog in this fight, whether we want to or not] presents a particular challenge — because the president’s preferred rhetorical tic is to stake out the two sides and present himself as a dispassionate, disinterested soul of moderation: “There are those who would argue . . . ” on the one hand, whereas “there are those who insist . . . ” on the other, whereas he is beyond such petty dogmatic positions. That was pretty much his shtick on abortion at Notre Dame. Of course, such studied moderation is usually a crock: Obama is an abortion absolutist, supporting partial-birth infanticide, and even laws that prevent any baby so inconsiderate as to survive the abortion from receiving medical treatment.
Josh Muravchik, without even having had the benefit of the Iran crisis (since he wrote his article before it arose) sees that same rhetorical pattern having much more ominous overtones for the cause of freedom around the world:
The most surprising thing about the first half-year of Barack Obama’s presidency, at least in the realm of foreign policy, has been its indifference to the issues of human rights and democracy. No administration has ever made these its primary, much less its exclusive, goals overseas. But ever since Jimmy Carter spoke about human rights in his 1977 inaugural address and created a new infrastructure to give bureaucratic meaning to his words, the advancement of human rights has been one of the consistent objectives of America’s diplomats and an occasional one of its soldiers.
This tradition has been ruptured by the Obama administration. The new president signaled his intent on the eve of his inauguration, when he told editors of the Washington Post that democracy was less important than “freedom from want and freedom from fear. If people aren’t secure, if people are starving, then elections may or may not address those issues, but they are not a perfect overlay.”
In other words, if the American masses can have their TiVos and McDs, and the Muslims can get their people (and maybe our people) just to submit, everything will be as I, the Great One, want it to be.
As for me, I keep being reminded of 1984. While the book is about Winston Smith, the subliminal backdrop is the ordinary people, the ones who aren’t party members. The party pacifies them with cheap food and cheap music, confident that they’ll be disinterested and cowed enough not even to notice that their lives are under complete government control.