Thursday, October 16, 2014

President Obama as Scarecrow and Beacon of Wisdom

Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wisdom.

Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), Science and Culture

When you write a blog each day, sometimes you turn to a quote for inspiration and explorations of words, phrases, or sentiments contained in the quote.

These explorations can serve as a metaphorical jumping off place.

Scarecrows – An object, traditionally a thin man, with a straw hat and ragged clothes, set up to frighten crows and other birds away from the crops. Here President Obama is that thin man. His problem, at the moment, is that he no longer frightens crows, those domestic black birds of prey. Nor does he frighten foreign crows from other fields, who no longer fear him or expect him to protect their crops. To crow has come to mean to retract an emphatic statement and to admit one is wrong, which this scarecrow is loathe to admit. But this scarecrow is no fool and he will permit no humiliation, even though black villains, known as Republicans, Putin, and ISIS are eating his crops. The metaphor is deeply flawed, of course, Obama is no slouch, and he seldom wear anything but a golf cap, and he is dressed to the nines either in an immaculate fund raising suit or golf togs.

Beacons of wisdom - It is hard to serve as a beacon of warning or light from on high, when your status has dropped to its lowest level. You may not even be visible to marauding crows. Obama’s public approval has dropped to 39% in polls, and to 31% on matters of foreign affairs. Furthermore, his reputation for protective wisdom is at its nadir, as everything seems to going wrong domestically and in foreign affairs at the same time and the wrong time, just before the midterm elections. The public does not seem to think wisdom is the President’s strong suit and even question your competence, the antithesis of wisdom. As Chris Cilliazi of the Washington Post explained, “You can understand President Obama's current political problems -- and how those problems could make things very tough for his party in this fall's midterm election -- in a single word. And that word is "competence."

One of Obama’s big problem are the logical consequences of his most cherished achievement , the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - high premiums and deductibles, unaffordable care for the middle class, pervasive part-time employment rather than full-time jobs, and the Ebola virus on the loose. These consequences seem to be outweighing the health law’s benefits in the public’s mind, which are considerable, reducing the uninsured rate from 16% to 13%, increasing the number of uninsured by 10 million.and offering subsidies to the poor. Now that is something to crow about.

Oh well, President Obama, you’re only out there in the field protecting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and scaring crows away for three more years. From 2016 on, you will be out to another pasture, which will surely be fertile, rich, and green because of your prolific fundraising.

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