July 8, 2008
None So Benign Apprentices
Paul Mirengoff over at my favorite blog has published a thought-provoking post that I urge you to read. He labors a bit for the punchline, creating occasion to refer to both Bill Clinton and Barack H. Obama as sorcerers' apprentices; but the label is worth the labor, and he defends it well:
This ability to transform things so fundamentally (like into unlike; unlike into like) resembles magic, and to a certain kind of personality, it can be intoxicating. Among these types, one imagines, is the future politician. The risk of such intoxication is heightened by the fact that the post-modernism I described above has seeped into legal education, which means that too many law professors behave less like the restrained “sorcerer” and more like the sorcerer’s apprentice. Clinton and Obama both were law professors when they were young.
The only nit I intend to pick is that the contemporary image of the sorcerer's apprentice is forever tainted by the wonderful Walt Disney film Fantasia, where the S.A. is "played" by Mickey Mouse. Since Mr. Mouse is always sympathetic, a certain benign tolerance bleeds into what should be the portrait of an arrogant apprentice monkeying with spells he is not fit to cast, thus endangering himself, his master, and indeed the entire village. In Fantasia, to the charming tune of Paul Dukas, the criminally negligent apprentice becomes a cuddly scapegrace, a lovable rascal.
I don't see either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama as mere scallywag; each is darker, more cold-bloodedly narcissistic, more beholden to the evil of his master. Here is where I think Paul took his wrong turn:
The second factor is the boundless (and largely justified) self-confidence Clinton and Obama possess. Both are entirely self-made. Both came from the periphery of society and, seemingly without much effort, grabbed its most glittering prizes. For both, glibness was a key to the success itself and to the appearance of its ease. No wonder both believe they can magically talk their way out of contradictions.
In fact, neither is "self-made," in the sense of a person who succeeds by his own initiative and intellect. Each pol, Clinton and Obama, hooked up, early in his career, with a mentor, guru, kingmaker who propelled him to the upper echelon of political society before he was seasoned. Clinton was the protege of Sen. William Fulbright; Obama became the eager acolyte of the vile Jeremiah Wright. Interestingly, both mentors were well-known racists and demagogues even at the time their proteges sought the relationship, seemingly without qualm in both cases.
The evil of these gurus precludes thinking of either follower as good old Mickey. To stick with Paul's metaphor of the sorcerer's apprentice, Bill Clinton -- until he seized his own power -- played Grima Wormtongue to Fulbright's Saruman; while Barack Obama spent twenty years as the Mouth of Sauron.
That may not be entirely fair, but it strikes nearer the mark than Democrats would ever admit.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 8, 2008, at the time of 2:24 AM
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» BLT Barry as Sorcerer's Apprentice from RattlerGator Blog
I was talking with a friend (exchanging eMail's actually) the other day and wondered why more hadn't been made of Barack Obama's dance with black liberation theology and during that exchange I personally tagged him in my mind as BLT Barry. Indirectl... [Read More]
Tracked on July 8, 2008 7:32 AM
The following hissed in response by: RattlerGator
Come on, Dafydd -- come on, man! It's a great point, and I take it. I read the PowerLine piece just before visiting your site and agree with you.
But . . . Jeremiah Wright?!?
The man is of crucial importance when trying to ascertain BLT Barry but black liberation theology is not the essence of the man. It is simply how he has toyed with God.
Mentor, guru, kingmaker? You would have done much better to single out the Ayers family. It is they who brought Obama into the Chicago machine and made him their point man, right out of central casting. In fact, it seems to me the Democrats just had a Harvard (Obama) vs. Yale (Clinton) primary and the Chicago machine was the difference in giving the victory to Harvard.
In such a context, Jeremiah Wright may very well have been low-hanging fruit but that's about it. Unless you can further explain your thinking, choosing Wright seems a quite odd oversight.
The above hissed in response by: RattlerGator at July 8, 2008 5:42 AM
The following hissed in response by: Karmi
Thank goodness for Wikipedia! OK, after searching all the characters mentioned, I think that the title - Mouth of Sauron – is more than fair.
It is said, that Wright’s mentor was James Cone. Obama has clearly been influenced by the BLT doctrine. Then there was his mother and his maternal grandfather. His grandfather - Stanley Dunham - was the one who introduced the communist Frank Marshall Davis into Obama’s life, when he was young…Frank Marshall Davis was Obama’s childhood mentor. Not a lot on Stanley. Some have speculated that ties to Frank led to Obama meeting Bill Ayers…
I hope that America’s ‘Silent Majority’ is paying attention to what Obama is about, because he is the “cult of personality” person that the Democratic Party has been waiting for.
The above hissed in response by: Karmi at July 8, 2008 6:53 AM
The following hissed in response by: Mr. Davis
The interesting thing to me about the post was that this type of slick operator needs a weak opponent burdened by a third party candidacy to succeed. The Obamessiah has the weak opponent, but not the third party candidacy. If he were truly smart, he would have Soros and MoveOn direct substantial sums to Bob Barr.
The following hissed in response by: necromancer
Dafydd you might like this site since you like to quote from the Lord of the Rings.Read them myself over 30 years ago and still have them in paperback. one of these days I'll get the hard copies.
The following hissed in response by: Neo
Did Paul miss all those stories about Obama and the Chicago Machine ?
The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote
"...Clinton and Obama both were law professors when they were young...."
Shows just how low the standards for law have become. As a EE prof, I have never met a fellow prof who demonstrated such a low knowledge of their profession as do Clinton and Obama. We science types demonstrate far higher standards then the law types (global warming excepted, of course).
The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote
As an EE prof, it is evident that the standards for law professor need some serious revision. No EE prof would be tolerated in any school that I've been associated with that demonstrated such a lack of morals, intellect, and general knowledge of their profession as do Clinton and Obama. We have standards (global warming "scientists" excepted, of course).
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