Mike Curtiss (4 Dec 2010)
"Newsweek and The God Who Fails"

Newsweek and The God Who Fails

This week’s “Daily Journal” guest columnist is Jon Sanders, Associate Director of Research for the John Locke Foundation.

RALEIGH — Turns out Hugo Chavez was right. George W. Bush really is the devil. Only the true prince of darkness could so screw up the country that even the lord god Obama Himself can’t fix it.

OK, I don’t really believe any of that. But Newsweek apparently does.

In Newsweek’s defense, it’s the only way to acknowledge the stark reality that President Barack Obama’s agenda has been an abject failure without contradicting editor Evan Thomas’ infamous assertion that “Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world; he’s sort of God.”

If that wasn’t clear enough, the magazine later opined that Obama was better for Catholics than the Pope, under the headline “Without a Doubt.” (In contrast, Time merely likened Obama to Moses. They of little faith.)

But what kind of god fails like Obama? He promised he could convert stimulus funds to jobs, but that hasn’t happened. He promised that his health care takeover would make believers of us all. He promised lower taxes and continuously seeks higher taxes. He promised open, transparent government and proceeded to cloak everything. He promised to change the culture of Washington but chose to distill and embody everything offensive about that culture. Lord knows I could go on.

Obama rode into Washington on the back of an ass, and now the ones who were waving palm fronds and shouting hosannas at him are asking themselves how it is their savior morphed into his conveyance.

Now their own reputations are at stake. When your livelihood depends upon people continuing to subscribe to your epistles, it isn’t wise to admit to false prophecy. Consider Newsweek’s challenge: Without contradicting ourselves, how do we explain the failures of the man who’s sort of God and without a doubt above the Pope?

Their solution appears on the Nov. 22 cover: Depict Obama as “God of All Things,” specifically a multi-armed deity reminiscent of the Hindu god Shiva, with a hand apiece for the recession, the housing crisis, the military, peace, world affairs, and health care. Then explain “Why the Modern Presidency May Be Too Much for One Person to Handle.”

Newsweek notes that “the issue is not Obama, it’s the office.” Reading between the lines, the article makes a sterling case for the sort of limited government promoted by the [insert hysterical insults here] Tea Party types. Were anyone to make that case directly, of course, Newsweek would attack the apostate (who would also be an angry racist, which by now goes without saying).

The article notes that Obama’s presidential models, FDR and Lincoln, had “time to think.” They weren’t burdened with a presidency swollen by post-FDR inhabitants such as Eisenhower and especially the latter Bush. And they didn’t have the added intrusions by the rapidly evolving news media, “many from Internet outlets.”

Newsweek’s choice of Shiva as the sort of god Obama is seems rather revealing. Shiva is but one of a multitude of gods. The message seems to be that if the many hands of Obama aren’t enough to solve America’s problems, then other gods — Obama’s multitude of czars with sort of godlike power — need to step it up. Newsweek ultimately doesn’t question the very necessity of the president getting personally involved in the seemingly infinite number of areas “burdening” him.

Compare that image of a necessarily burdened deity with the one adopted almost as a mascot by the Tea Party. The election of Obama ignited sales of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, Atlas being the Titan of Greek mythology, also one among many deities, and this one overtly tasked with bearing the weight of the world.

Note, too, that in the modern political context Atlas comes with a very key proviso: shrug. In Rand’s context, Atlas represents the productive members of society who are weighed down by the many hefty burdens imposed by an increasingly socialist government. But the same advice — “Shrug!” — could apply just as well to any political god overburdened and failing under the weight of all his overreaches and impositions.

All the more so because, see, you’re not a god.