Will Obama remain a cynic?

Free Frank Warner is hopeful that President Obama’s days as one are numbered:

As the cynic, Obama could argue that Saddam Hussein was just another ruler, and that it was better to leave him alone. As president, he’ll find that the democracies are infinitely more cooperative and less dangerous than dictatorships, and that nine-tenths of the world’s deaths from war, famine and genocide are due to the abuses of despotic regimes.


For President Obama, the difficulty is that once the cynic’s role is played, its underlying attitudes are hard to shake. It must be painfully awkward to embrace whole-heartedly the job as Leader of the Free World when your world view was shaped originally by a heightened awareness of political inequality and by a South Side Chicago subculture that regularly fed the sense that there is something cursed about America.


Tough as it might be, Obama also has to face a personal reality. He can no longer be the cynic on the outside looking in. In the Free World, as president of the United States, he is the ultimate insider.

It’s a nice hope, but it’s unfortunately based on one speech; an Inaugural Address that I’m not entirely certain that the President even wrote himself, and it’s certainly not had any more influence on the popular gestalt than any of Obama’s other speeches*. What we’ve been getting instead is the doom-and-gloom, coupled with what is becoming a rather tiresome willingness to find some way to blame the previous administration as part of a larger preemptive excuse for failure. This will please the professional activists that make up a large part of his support; whether it’ll fly with a population that’s currently divided over whether our best days are behind us or not remains to be seen.

Honestly, for the country’s sake the President needs to do three things:

  1. Stop blaming the Republican Party and the Bush administration for everything.  Even if he really believes that we’re to blame: if that’s the worst “lie” he ever tells while in office, then he’s a lucky man.
  2. Start saying that everything’s getting better and things are just ducky.  I know that this sounds insane, but the guy needs to understand that he’s head of state as well as head of government.  Heads of state are there to keep people from freaking out.  Read up on the British Royal family during the Blitz for some helpful pointers of same.
  3. He needs to start smiling.  If it looks fake, he needs to practice it in the mirror until it looks natural.

Mind you, I don’t expect that he’ll take this advice, so I’ll give a warning instead: if he doesn’t, in 2012 we’re going to run a candidate who’ll follow all three rules above, because that’s the candidate that will win all of our primaries without breaking a sweat.  So, up to Obama if he thinks that he can do better than Carter did in 1980.

Moe Lane

*In case you haven’t noticed, his speeches aren’t all that quotable.

Crossposted at RedState.