Friday, February 5, 2010

Our Obama Saga

by Victor Davis Hanson

While much criticism is made of the president’s scripted eloquence, his reliance on the teleprompter, his unease with repartee, his awkwardness in question and answer, nonetheless he is skilled with the teleprompter, and much of his message to many of the people can be teleprompted. After all, that is in part how a two-year senator got elected in the first place. And as a rhetorician, Obama is skilled in weaving alternate realities. For you reader, his recent exegesis of his broken promises to put the healthcare debate on C-SPAN (it was sort of aired, didn’t you know that, dummies) was preposterous. But admit as well that such a bold alibi came right out of the mouth of Saruman in his Orthanc — mellifluous, assured, seamlessly shameless. It would make even Tartuffe proud. Obama’s art is more than just teleprompted eloquence.

I have to admire anyone who can correctly use Saruman and Tartuffe in a political analysis. Hanson is truly a man of letters.

For my own edification, from Wikipedia:

Saruman is a character in The Lord of the Rings. The meaning of names was important to Tolkien: Saruman means "man of skill". In the book, Saruman is one of several characters illustrating the corruption of power; his desire for knowledge and order has led to his fall and he rejects the chance of redemption when it is offered. He serves as an example of technology and modernity being overthrown by the forces of nature.

Tartuffe: a hypocrite who pretends to religious piety (after the protagonist in a play by Moliere)

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