There was today an essay in the NY Times Sunday Review by Emory psychologist Drew Westen entitled "What happened to Obama," containing a remarkable few sentences. (HT: John Hinderaker at Powerline Blog.) Dr. Westen is a supporter, having traveled to Washington for the Inauguration, a story he relates at the start of the essay. In musing the possible underpinnings of Barack Obama's failings as President, he wrote:
A second possibility is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history. Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted “present” (instead of “yea” or “nay”) 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.
I read that and, as did Charlie Brown when Lucy Van Pelt explored the psychological reasons for his malaise in "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and asked him if he had pantophobia - fear of everything - I wanted to jump to my feet and scream "THAT'S IT!!!" Serves you right, Dr. Westen, for being "bewitched by his eloquence."
And, I might add, those of us who were not "bewitched by his eloquence," or trying to feel better about America and ourselves by voting for a black man for president, but were instead simply trying to find the best available candidate for the job recognized and acknowledged all of these items ahead of the election. A curriculum vitae this thin would in political circles disqualify a Republican candidate from consideration, so why not Mr. Obama?
8/8/11 1750: Wherein the splendid James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's great "Best of the Web" daily column writes in a similar (identical?) vein. Perhaps more eloquently, but still ...
He also sizes up the additional maneuvering in Dr. Westen's essay, and it's well worth your time to have a look.
Westen and Klein, and other like-minded progressives, have revealed that they dream of a strongman uniting the "masses." If that requires vilifying selected groups of Americans, they don't mind and may even view it as a plus.
Even if he wanted to, Barack Obama could not be a strongman, in part because he is a weak man and in part because America's constitution is a strong charter of liberty. But if Obama had the means and inclination to impose a dictatorship, is there any doubt that Drew Westen and Joe Klein, at least at the outset, would goose-step with gusto?
A "strongman uniting the masses." That thought does bring forth some thoroughly undesireable images.