A president steeped in history would have never pushed ObamaCare on so thin a reed of public approval. In the great movement of American history, Americans haven’t worshipped at the altar of charismatic leadership. They have been the most skeptical of peoples. They may have trusted several of their presidents through wars and economic downturns, but they have insisted on the wisdom of the public and on the ability of this republic of laws and institutions—and precedent—to see its way out of great dangers.
Great article which succinctly explains so much about this president. It’s good analysis, not a political hatchet job. It also explains a lot about this country and foretells something of what the next couple of years may look like.
How could a president not be steeped in history, and if not, why would he not get the Cliff’s Notes and be thereby guided? Ajami explains:
We shouldn’t be surprised [that Obama was “prickly” in a meeting with presidential historians]. What most engaged Mr. Obama before his rise to the highest office in the land was his own biography. He had stood aloof from the weight and the lessons of American history; where so many of his predecessors had sought comfort and guidance in the ordeal of presidents past, there was no great deference in him to the burdens those 43 men carried. He didn’t look like those other presidents on the dollar bills, he said early on in his political odyssey.
Perhaps now Mr. Obama will seek the counsel of presidents past — both those alive and those who now reside in portraiture adorning various pieces of our now nearly worthless currency. Most importantly, perhaps he will seek the counsel of a more moderate Congress — and that they will truly represent the people — and perhaps he will come to have a realistic view of America. And by “realistic view” I mean to see her people as more than mere downtrodden masses in great need of a government making our decisions for us.
As an example, I would wish for him to get to know (I mean really KNOW) some real businessmen, not just (as was characterized on a talk show earlier today) the “fat cats” on Wall Street. Since his entire cadre of advisors hails from academia, perhaps they all need to take a trip to Main Business Street, America. After all, the business of America is business, with businesses forged out of the hard work of true entrepreneurs and not simply from IPOs and mergers.
- Fouad Ajami: The Arab World Condemns Syria’s ‘Killing Machine’ (online.wsj.com)
- Fouad Ajami: From 9/11 to the Arab Spring (online.wsj.com)