Whether or not one liked him, Ronald Reagan got “the vision thing.” He had an extremely strong sense of America and her place in the world, and was never afraid to share that narrative. America was the shining city on the hill, the bastion of true republican democracy, and the world leader in exporting freedom and wealth. The Communists were, simply, evil. They were the antithesis of America because they were the antithesis of freedom.
Sophisticates sneered at Reagan’s simple, (old) Hollywood vision of the world. To ordinary Americans, though, Reagan’s clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of this country instilled in them a deep sense of pride that ran comfortably alongside an economic boom resulting from the policies that underlay Reagan’s vision. Just as importantly, in gulags and prisons around the world, prisoners, and dissenters, and dreamers heard Reagan’s words too. They understood that, not only was he describing something better than their totalitarian governments had to offer, but also that the leader of the most powerful nation in the world understood and willingly articulated that truth.
Obama also gets the vision thing. His education, career and presidential trajectory show it very, very clearly. His vision is that America is an arrogant nation rife with internal inequities. Domestically, his job as president is to equalize people’s status within the country, which is best done through redistributive financial policies. On the international side of things, his job is to subordinate America to the United Nations, making it just one nation among many. ObamaCare and the Libya War stand as hallmarks of these domestic and foreign visions.
Obama’s vision is of America as Europe — not Europe during her imperialistic heyday, but a post-WWII Europe, socialist and humbled. Of course, what he doesn’t seem to realize is that post-WWII Europe survived only as long as it did because America footed the bill. No America, no post-WWII Europe. He hasn’t grappled with that economic reality as he’s pushed America out of her financier mode and into her begging socialist mode.
What’s interesting about Obama is that, while he is consistent in his vision, and unfailing in his willingness to put it in effect, he refuses to articulate that vision. Put him in front of a teleprompter, and he simply mouths platitudes about “America is great.” Unscripted, he slips up periodically and talks about “sharing the wealth,” and the fact that there’s nothing exceptional about America. Overall, though, he’s coy.
Reagan braved the ridicule of the world’s intellectuals to sell his vision to the world. Obama already has the world’s intellectuals on board. His vision about America and her place in the world is exactly the same as their vision. He’s coy, then, not because he fears media and Ivory Tower derision, but because he knows that ordinary Americans will not buy what he would be selling were he to speak. How much better to skip the sales pitch and just force the product on a credulous public? Obama also doesn’t sell his vision because he knows that, abroad, while the Euro-trash and Muslim Brotherhood eat up what he has to say, the people languishing in prisons, in China, in Cuba, in Venezuela, in Iran, etc., would recognize his vision for what it is — not even snake oil, but pure venom.