Barack Obama & the Death of Idealism, by James Bovard

Barack Obama embraced US interventionism and war as fervently as any neocon. From James Bovard at consortiumnews.com:

The former president’s deception and warmongering killed the “hope and change” he promised on the campaign trail, writes James Bovard.

President Barack Obama saluting coffins of dead U.S. soldiers returned from Afghanistan to Dover Air Force Base, Aug. 9, 2011. (White House/Pete Souza)

Americans are sickened of an “idealism that is oblique, confusing, dishonest, and ferocious,” as H.L. Mencken wrote a hundred years ago. Though Mencken was condemning President Woodrow Wilson, the same verdict could characterize the legacy of former president Barack Obama.

Obama is now on a book tour issuing calls for honest government, civic virtue, and similar tripe. But Obama did more to discredit idealism than any president since Wilson.

A dozen years ago, Americans were enthralled by the newly elected president from Illinois. After the deceit and demagoguery of the George W. Bush era, Obama’s first presidential campaign with its “Yes, We Can” motto swayed Americans that he could personally restore the moral grandeur of government. Its idealism was epitomized by the famous “Hope” campaign poster that practically deified the candidate.

Shortly before his first inauguration, Obama announced, “What is required is the same perseverance and idealism that our founders displayed.” After Obama’s inaugural address, the media rejoiced as if a new age of political idealism had arrived.

Practically the entire world joined the race to canonize the new president. Less than 12 days after he took office, Obama was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize — which he received later that year. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared at a White House state dinner, “We warmly applaud the recognition by the Nobel Committee of the healing touch you have provided and the power of your idealism and your vision.” Shortly after receiving the Peace Prize, Obama announced he would triple the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Peace Prize helped insulate him from criticism as he proceeded to bomb seven nations during his presidency.

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