Cheney Vs. Obama

May 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm (By Amba) (, , )

This will sound weird, but what really bothers me most of all about Obama is that he looks like a kid.  His physical type is that of a permanent smart-ass teenager.  In much the same way, what bothered me most about Bush was that he was small, “too small for the job.”  Like Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with the sleeves of the wizard’s robe overshooting his hands.  In both cases, the physical seems to stand for something beyond the physical.  In different ways, neither man had the gravitas, the weight, for the job.

Bush could be humble, and he could be smug — sure he was right without caring to know much.  Obama can be “open” and searching, but arrogant — sure he knows a lot and that that’s more important than being right.  They typify the two inadequate responses so far to the flood of new information from science, IT, and globalization:  just letting it all go by and not move you an inch, or letting yourself get carried away from all solid ground. Rigidity and floppiness.

But this post was supposed to be about Obama vs. Cheney.

The one thing you sure can’t say about Cheney is that he lacks gravitas.  He’s a heavy dude.

I commented on Twitter that the reason, or one reason, I think Obama is retaining so many Bush policies is because he’s really afraid of getting the blame for another terrorist attack.  And he will, if it happens.  We’ll never really know the backstory of the long hiatus without attacks, or of an attack if one happens.  We do know that al Qaeda takes long, patient years to prepare, and we suspect that they don’t want to do less than match or, better, top themselves.  If there is an attack, we’ll never know if it would’ve happened regardless of who was in the Oval Office.  It doesn’t matter.  The human brain in fear seeks bright, clear explanations, and under those circumstances the Republicans’ will be better.

A terrorist attack on Obama’s watch would in one sense be a ripe fruit falling into the Republicans’ lap.  No, I certainly don’t think they’re hoping for it.  I do think their worldview leads them to expect it, and if it happens, it will vindicate their worldview.  It doesn’t matter if the reality is more complicated than that.  Complexity is a luxury.

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