Dr. Jekyll and President Hyde

Richard NixonAndrea gets mad at me when I rag on the president too much. To her, Obama is so much better than Bush that we should just be grateful that we don’t have a complete fucking idiot in the White House. But here’s the thing: I am grateful. I usually defend myself by saying, “I think Obama is the best president we could ever expect to have!” But this is more a statement of my terrifying level of cynicism than it is of my opinion of Obama.

Let me pull back for a moment. If I were in the Senate and I got to question John Brennan tomorrow, I would have only one question for him, “Do you want to be head of the CIA?” I assume his answer would be, “Yes.” And that would tell me everything I needed to know. “Then I’m afraid, Mr. Brennan, that you are not qualified to run the CIA. I’m very sorry. I hope you will spend the rest of your life volunteering at a local homeless shelter. The second to last place we can afford to put a power hungry asshole in charge is at the CIA.”

The very last place we can afford to put a power hungry asshole in charge is as the President of the United States. I suspect that when Obama was a community organizer, he was a great guy. He was the kind of guy who should be the President of the United States. But once he started to be noticed as a member of the Illinois State Senate? And certainly, by the time he became a United States Senator? He’d been corrupted.

Look, I’m sure even in December 2008, Obama still thought that he would do a lot. He still thought he would stand up for his ideals. But once he was in office, when it came to the stuff he had complete control over, he acted as despots have everywhere at every time. And nowhere is that more clear than in his approach to killing Americans that he doesn’t like.

Hey, I understand! There is no up-side to protecting civil rights and all that garbage about upholding the Constitution. But there is an upside to being the badass president. No president ever looked bad because he didn’t care about civil rights. Nixon? People don’t like him because of Watergate—a scandal that at this point just seems strange. Bombing Cambodia? What’s a “Cambodia”? Paranoia and the “enemies list”? Unitary executive? “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal”? None of that. It’s all Watergate and no one even remembers what that was all about.

But that doesn’t mean I have to accept it. And if the Democrats stand for anything at all, we will see tomorrow in the questioning of John Brennan.

Afterword

Five seconds of wonderful:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Dr. Jekyll and President Hyde

  1. I suspect Obama was "corrupted" long before he became a community organizer, in fact. (Not "corrupt" in a "on the take" sense — more in the sense that a computer file gets "corrupted.")

    You simply do not get to be anything of note at Harvard unless your thought process is already scrambled beyond hope of recovery. How could one get through that kind of groupthink experience without merging your beliefs to those of the power structure? You’d have to become a 24/7 liar, either someone who enjoyed lying for its own sake (a con artist) or internally promising revenge on everyone who forced you to smile and kiss their asses (an even scarier psychological profile.) Or just refuse to merge, and never get networking Name One from your Harvard education (and its accordant cost.)

    Of course, my "dollar-book Freud" take on Obama is no more interesting than anyone else’s, which is to say not interesting. He is what he is. Presidents are what they are. But my liberal friends who assumed that Obama was going to show his true progressive colors once in office (they’re over it, now) didn’t really consider what kind of a madman one would necessarily be to "hide" for all those years inching up the power structure.

  2. @JMF – I had forgotten about the whole Harvard Law Review. I think you are dead on here. Krugman talks about being assimilated by the Borg. That’s basically what is going on.

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