France’s President Sarcozy, on meeting Obama in 2009, found him to be “unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated.” I also recall him portraying Obama as a weak man, but no time this morning to run that down.
A new book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Double Down, quotes Obama as saying “I’m really good at killing people, ” in reference to the Pentagon’s drone program. That could be sardonic and cynical, of course.
But imagine a weak man who likes killing from a distance, free of reprisal. That is a coward.
Maybe so, maybe not. I am writing this because it is my belief that the president is an unimportant man in our system, hired to be the public face of a killing machine and a mirror for our own illusions. Such a man was Ronald Reagan, unschooled, unoriginal, even stupid about many things, hired to play a role. So addled was he by Alzheimer’s in his second term that he could not place countries on the map. “He” was the collective work of PR people, montage of TV images, no more in charge than a naked emperor.
Obama could be real, decisive, courageous. He could be fake, indecisive (not that his “decisions” matter), but effective as a communicator. He could be in the employ not of the American people but of a power behind our government, those who offed JFK and gave us 9/11.
In that case, he willingly took office knowing there would be a gun at his head, also knowing it would never have to be fired. That would make him a charlatan and a traitor.