Obama likes to manage the message in all its contradictions. For him and his ardent supporters, it’s misleading to quote what he himself said about his goals when those quotes are inconvenient. Far from being a misstep, I believe these rather heavy-handed tactics to suppress come from The Man himself, the old Community Organizer, the Saul “Get in Their Faces” Alinsky disciple. This arrogance was evident early on in a striking image: his physical confrontation with a persistent reporter during his first trip to the White House briefing room. How dare a journalist ask questions when he doesn’t want to be asked?
There is a lot of fairly pointless speculating about Obama’s secret life. He’s a Muslim. He’s born in Kenya. He’s a Manchurian candidate. This is all mostly ignorant stuff. But every presidency spawns its paranoid myths. For Bill Clinton, it was the “black helicopters” and the UN plan to destroy Christianity and take away our guns. For Bush it was that he was behind 9-11 and was going to create further pretexts to start wars with Iran and China. Without regard to their truth or falsity–they’re nearly all unbelievable on their face–these myths tell us something important about the anxieties a president provokes. For Clinton, it was that he was too beholden to liberal and non-American values. For Bush, that he was a militarist tool of shadowy forces.
Obama provokes the anxiety that he secretly is something quite alien from us–at best, a hardcore partisan for an extreme leftism, who is merely playing the political game as best he can to conceal the long-term agenda. The myths gain credibility because of his secrecy about his leftist past in Chicago. His centrist image is undermined when an old video or unscripted truth slips out, whether the talk of “bitter and angry” gun owners during the campaign, or siding against law enforcement in the Henry Gates situation, or suddenly embracing his middle name, Hussein, when crapping all over America’s reputation in Cairo.
The perception of Obama as a secretive, alien figure creates special anxiety in his attempts to change health care, because health care depends upon intimacy and trust of the doctor and patient. This trust would be broken down by unknown and opaque government directives to save costs, to promote the “public health” agenda on guns or birth control, or cost-saving pressure in regard to inconvenient patients that “hurt the common good.” In response to this narrative, Obama’s angry and forceful attempts to maintain his image will only reinforce such anxieties about the “Real Obama” among Americans already uneasy with him and his agenda.