A year into Barack Obama’s term in office, he has joined a long list of false messiahs. Jewish history features several such messiahs, and now it’s America’s turn to have one.
Americans are already showing a growing tendency to be ashamed of the praise they lavished at him in January of last year. Obama is a good guy, an excellent orator, and a brilliant campaigner; however, he is not America’s redeemer or humanity’s savior. In fact, he is not even a successful president.
If we ignore for a moment some cosmetic improvements that occurred during his term in office here and there, we can see that the United States at this time is facing an almost identical situation to the one left by President George W. Bush.
The economy is facing a very grim state of affairs, thousands of soldiers are being dispatched to battlefield overseas, America has failed to bring peace to the Middle East, Iran blatantly ignores it, and Osama bin Laden still maintains a recording studio somewhere in the heart of Asia.
In short, all the things that used to be there are still there, and things are possibly even worse.
In a recent television interview, the president candidly spoke about the possibility that he will not be elected to another term in office. Sarah Palin, imagine that, is suddenly emerging as a candidate that could replace him three years from now; and it’s not because of her as much as it is because of him.
In retrospect, it is already clear that what we saw here during the presidential campaign was deceptive. The Bush-hating community created the Obama legend out of nothing. It took a young and articulate senator with zero experience and presented him as a quick fix to all the nation’s problems.
When he took his place at the starting line to the White House race, he could not boast of even one proven leadership achievement, yet nonetheless he was presented to the public as a surefire success story. America’s citizens fell too easily into the trap laid by his public relations staff.
Americans jumped at the rare opportunity to elect a black president, but forgot that they are facing a few more urgent problems aside from the racial issue.
At this time we need to pray that the price of this adventure will not be too high. We also need to learn the lesson: Presidential elections are not a beauty contest. People who look great and can speak wonderfully well do not necessarily also know how to manage.
Hence, the next time an articulate candidate declares “yes, we can,” we need to find out whether he is talking about his ability to get elected or about his ability to lead a government. The Obama case proves that these two talents are largely unconnected.