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Obama the savior? (Jerusalem Post)

Speaking in February of the man she knows better than anyone else does, Michelle Obama said that her husband, Illinois Senator and candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination Barack Obama, is the only candidate for president who understands that before America can solve its problems, Americans have to fix their “broken souls.” 

She also said that her husband’s unique understanding of the state of souls of the American people makes him uniquely qualified to be President. Obama can do what his opponent in the Democratic race Senator Hillary Clinton, and Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, cannot do. He can heal his countrymen’s broken souls. He will redeem them.
 
But then, saving souls is hard work, and Mrs. Obama won’t place the whole burden on her husband. He’ll make the Americans work for him. As she put it, “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.” 

At base, Mrs. Obama’s statement is nothing less than a renunciation of democracy and an embrace of fascism. The basic idea of liberty is that people have a natural right to live their lives as usual and to be uninvolved and uninformed. And they certainly have a right to expect that their government will butt out of their souls.

IN CONTRAST, fascist societies, as Jonah Goldberg notes in the latest issue of National Review, are all about the notions of “unity” and “change” and melding our broken souls into a fixed, united will for change that Obama has made the core theme of his campaign. Goldberg compared “unity” with “patriotism,” and explained that while the latter connotes the willingness to defend the moral values of a society, unity is bereft of any moral content. “The only value of unity is strength, strength in numbers – and… that is a fascist value. That’s the symbolism of the fasces, the bundle of sticks that in combination are invincible.”

Many commentators have argued that Jews in both Israel and the US have a specific reason to fear an Obama presidency. Much attention has been paid to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the anti-Semitic, black supremacist preacher who has served as Obama’s spiritual guide for the past 20 years. Then too, there are Obama’s foreign policy advisors who range from the viscerally hostile towards Israel (Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Malley, Samantha Power, Merrill Tony McPeak) to the messianically hostile towards Israel (Dan Kurtzer). Obama’s close associations with Palestinian and pan-Arab champions and jihad apologists like the late Edward Said and Prof. Rashid Khalidi, and his stated intention to have open negotiations with Iran about the mullocracy’s nuclear weapons program, his monetary ties to anti-Israel donors like George Soros and to anti-Israel organizations like Moveon.org are similarly pointed to as reasons for concern.
 
But the fact is that for all his associations with Israel-bashers, Obama’s stated positions on the Palestinian and Arab conflict with Israel are all but indistinguishable from those of his opponent Senator Hillary Clinton. Both democratic candidates assert that the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the root of the pathologies of the Arab world. Like President George W. Bush, both embrace the Fatah terror group as a legitimate organization and acceptable repository of Palestinian sovereignty. Both have hinted that they may be willing to open negotiations with Hamas. Both argue that the establishment of a Palestinian state will be a key foreign policy objective of their administrations.

While Sen. Clinton rejects Obama’s desire to openly appease the Iran’s mullahs, her announced strategy for contending with the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran would not necessarily be more effective than Obama’s plan to appease the ayatollahs. Last week, Clinton explained that she believes that the US’s position on Iran should be based on a credible threat of “massive retaliation” in the event that the mullocracy develops and uses nuclear weapons.

THERE ARE two reasons that a deterrence model will be as ineffective in curbing Iranian aggression as Obama’s appeasement model. First, as last week’s 25th anniversary of the Iranian-sponsored bombing of the US embassy in Beirut recalled, Iran has been attacking the US and its allies both directly and through proxies since 1979. To date, not only has the US failed to deter such attacks, it has never made Iran pay a price for them. With this abysmal track record against a non-nuclear Iran, it is hard to see how the US can threaten a nuclear-armed Iran with sufficient credibility to make a deterrence-based strategy successful.

The second reason that basing US policy towards Iran on a deterrence model will likely fail is because Iran’s leadership has made clear that is not necessarily concerned about the survivability of Iran. From Ayatollah Khomeini to Ayatollah Khamenei to Ali Rafsanjani to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s leadership has made clear that they are not Iranian patriots but global Islamic revolutionaries. Given their millenarian, apocalyptic view of their country’s purpose in world affairs, there is good reason to believe that a strategy based on some form of mutually assured destruction would have only marginal impact on Iran’s decision-makers.

So from a foreign policy perspective, there is little to distinguish Sen. Clinton from Sen. Obama. Indeed, there is little that distinguishes the two candidates from a domestic policy perspective. But that gets us back to the messianic business.

OPPONENTS OF Clinton claim that she is a soulless woman who will do whatever is necessary to have power, because she likes power and wants it. But if this is true it is hard to see why a power-hungry president is worse than a president who believes that he is the people’s redeemer. It is hard to see why a leader who wants power because she likes power is less reasonable than a president who thinks he has a right to demand that the American people follow his lead and fix their souls in the name of unity. In the former case, opposition to the leader is a policy dispute. In the latter case, it is apostasy.

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