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  Barack Obama: The Human Rorschach Blot
by Mac Johnson
[writer, scientist] 2/14/07

Barack Obama is like a small, shiny object.  The easily fascinated can stare deeply into his blank sheen and see...their own reflections.  He can be anything to anyone because he is nothing in particular.  Yet listening to the leftstream media, one would have to conclude that the man is a multifaceted miracle.

He's a moderate.  He's a third way.  He's demographic fusion cuisine.  He's a floor wax.  He's a desert topping.  He’s everything you'd hoped for and whatever you need.  That's the beauty of being unknown.

Mac Johnson

Mac Johnson is a freelance writer and biologist in Cambridge, Mass. Mr. Johnson holds a Doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine. He is a frequent opinion contributor to Human Events Online. His website can be found at macjohnson.com [go to Johnson index]

He's like that girl way over there at the other end of the bar -- perfect, unknown, perfectly unknown, and improved mightily by distance and pent-up desire.  Mentally, you're in love and three weeks into the relationship before you even make it halfway over to meet her. 

Then you notice her eyes and think, "Man, which one do I look at when I speak, because they don’t point in the same direction.  And what's with the Adam's apple?"  But at that point it's too late to turn around, because one of those eyes has seen you already.  I think that's the way a lot of folks are going to feel about their Obamaphilia after a few months of campaigning have removed the gauze filter from his carefully blurred image.

If any of the fawning were asked to name his greatest accomplishment, could they name an accomplishment?  Other than being elected to the Senate just two and a half years ago, and being simultaneously black and yet likeable to white folks, I mean.

For emphasis, let's examine a list of Obama’s major accomplishments (so far):

  1. Simultaneously black and yet likeable to white folks
  2. Made the initials "B.O." cool again
  3. Good oral hygiene

That's it.  He's the Wayne Brady of politics -- everything white folks had been hoping for in at least one black person, the big payoff for all that tolerance and diversity babble.  That may not be the politically correct thing to say, but it is an honest assessment of exactly what pent-up desire is fueling Obamamania among his white, liberal fan base.

Obama's resume and record (even just a record of firm opinions on important issues) are so thin that I really believed that early media talk of his running for President was an affectionate nicety -- like a manager saying of a favored intern, "You'll be running this corporation before the summer's over!"

Yet here we are, just a year after such talk began, and the intern has announced that he’s putting his resume in for the position.  Well, I'll alert human resources.

Allegedly, his appeal rests with his "inspiring" story.  Lord knows he's told his story enough: in two books, uncounted speeches and interviews and occasionally in explanations of why the story in the books seems to differ from the facts.  (Obama was telling the "literary" truth, rather than getting bogged down in the literal truth.)  Come to think of it, I should add a fourth bullet point to my list of Obama's major accomplishments (so far):

4. Telling his own story

The man's Jesus and John the Baptist all rolled into one -- the messiah that foretells his own coming.  But what, really, is so inspiring about his story?  He is alleged to have overcome the odds -- to have succeeded in the face of oppression.  But to see "black" as a synonym for "oppressed" is just a stereotype (oh, and the rationale behind affirmative action laws).  And we all know that stereotypes are wrong.  I keep waiting for some real tale of the adversity he’s faced and I have yet to hear it. 

As far as I can tell, this is his inspiring story of success despite oppression:

He overcame the oppression of being born to a well-off middle class white woman and a Harvard Ph.D. father, then he overcame the oppression of attending private schools his entire life.  His story took a dark turn toward further oppression when he was admitted to Columbia University and then -- gasp -- Harvard Law School -- where he was practically lynched into the position of President of the Law Review by an overwhelming majority. Nay, an oppressive majority.  From there, his life has just been a Hell of accolade and accomplishment.

The Boston Globe this week cited as an example of his oppression that children at his private school sometimes made fun of his unusual name.  Please excuse me if I don't rush off to a sit-in on his behalf.  As a child named "Mac”"entering elementary school right about the time of McDonald's famous "Big Mac Attack" campaign and "Big Mac" jingle ("two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun" as I seem to recall), and who soon learned that Mac rhymes with "Quack!" and "Whack!" I would now like to announce my candidacy for the presidency of the United States based on my inspiring story.  I still can’t hear a quip about "special sauce" without thinking of the oppression of my fathers...or at least the Clinton administration.  Get in line, crybaby.

The only real adversity I can find in his life is that his mother couldn’t seem to stay married to the same man for much time and his father couldn't seem to marry just one woman at a time.  And, again, if having a screwed up family is a primary political asset, we'll need to form a really long line.  The only thing weirder than the average family would be a normal family.

Yet the CNN.com poll question for Saturday was "Does Barack Obama's life story inspire you?" (Surprisingly, most respondents said "No."  So I am not alone in my underwhelming enthusiasm for the media darling.)  If stories like Barack's are inspiring, then the field is plainly crowded with inspirational tales:

Mitt Romney: An eloquent son of a former governor of Michigan.  Like Barack, he overcame his privileged background to become a successful politician.  Although, if it’s triumph over real adversity and prejudice that you want, consider that young Romney spent 30 months as a Mormon missionary in France!  Now this is a man that has known struggle against the odds.

Joe Biden: Born to a used car salesman, he somehow found a talent for politics.  He later overcame a devastating battle with congenital dihydrotestosterone-induced alopecia.  Despite its ravages, Biden has bravely kept "plugging away" at politics ever since, chairing numerous televised hairings.  Uh, I mean "hearings."

Tom Tancredo: Actually did come from a humble background, went to a humble school, became a public school teacher, married a public school teacher and yet went on to engineer a national political career.  People don't like that story though, so let's focus on the fact that he was involved in public education and still became an unabashed conservative.  Talk about overcoming oppression.

John Edwards: The son of a textile worker and a postal employee, grew up working class in rural North Carolina.  He overcame this humble background to become a primping effete metrosexual millionaire trial lawyer.  Perhaps picking leaders based on humble beginnings is not a foolproof system.

Dennis Kucinich: The son of an Ohio truck driver and a stay-at-home mom, Kucinich went on to overcome his obvious mental illness and the malnutrition of a vegetarian diet to become the member of Congress voted "most detached from world reality."  Again, perhaps choosing leaders based on humble beginnings is not a foolproof system.

I could go on and on (and often do), but you get the idea.  Barack Obama called his political aspirations "The Audacity of Hope," but really they're nothing so much as the audacity of hype.

Obama is just a human Rorschach Blot -- a figure so devoid of definition and meaning that what his devotees see in him is more an insight into them than into him. CRO

First appeared at Human Events Online

copyright 2007 Mac Johnson



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