“a force for mediocity”

Shelby Steele has an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal that explains Barack Obama’s presidency. In a nutshell, America is an exceptional nation. Obama is unexceptional, except in his rush to bring America down to some imaginary mid-point among nations: neither great nor negligible; just another un-important country of no particular distinction.

Why does Obama believe this? Perhaps it is, as Dinesh D’Souza postulates, an expected result of being half-Kenyan, with an utter contempt for middle-class white Americans who are a stand-in for Kenya’s former colonial masters. This contempt shows its ugly face when the mask slips, and Obama is caught saying things when he thinks no one is listening (clinging to your God and guns, are you?).

This may contribute some, but Mr Steele’s hypothesis is more plausible: Obama is of the left, and thus

…seeks to trade the burdens of greatness for the relief of mediocrity. When greatness fades, when a nation contracts to a middling place in the world, then the world in fact no longer knocks on its door. (Think of England or France after empire.) To civilize America, to redeem the nation from its supposed avarice and hubris, the American left effectively makes a virtue of decline—as if we can redeem America only by making her indistinguishable from lesser nations.

Is Obama anti-American for being of the left? Yes, in the sense that he seeks to bring America down from its formerly pre-eminent position in the world.

As Shelby Steel concludes:

As a president, Barack Obama has been a force for mediocrity. He has banked more on the hopeless interventions of government than on the exceptionalism of the people. His greatest weakness as a president is a limp confidence in his countrymen. He is afraid to ask difficult things of them.

I believe in American greatness; America as the greatest nation that has ever graced the world’s stage. We are usually the first and last stop when trouble comes knocking. Are we perfect? Of course not, and we’ve made some heinous mistakes.

Electing Obama was one of them, which we have the opportunity to correct next year.


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