ISIS, ObamaCare and “Being There”

By David Lewis

When video recently surfaced on the Internet showing the brutal beheading of an American journalist, and shortly thereafter another, by ISIS terrorists, the American public became justly outraged. Now even President Obama, who had previously downplayed the ISIS threat as a JV effort, is on the verge of taking more determined military action against them.

When last year’s rollout of ObamaCare emerged an unmitigated disaster, Americans were also outraged. The President responded by unilaterally (some would say unconstitutionally) delaying and otherwise altering the implementation of key provisions of his signature healthcare law, so as to delay its further, widespread infliction of harm.

Mr. Obama appears consistently late to the game, as though clueless. Indeed, a recent editorial, in Investor’s Business Daily, described him as akin to the lead character, Chance Gardener, in Jerzy Kosinski’s novel Being There. Their editorial describes the novel as being about, “an empty suit who came out of nowhere to be a presidential candidate riding on a wave of good-sounding platitudes but in reality had not a clue.”

This assessment may give Mr. Obama too much credit, for in fact he did have a clue, multiple clues. He was aware, for example, of the rise of ISIS, of their accumulation of power and their establishment of a quasi-state within parts of Syria and Iraq; yet he did nothing to mitigate their murderous rampage in its formative stages. He also knew, in advance, of the impending ObamaCare train-wreck; and rather than acting to prevent it, he chose to delay and obfuscate its negative impact.

It is important to note that the dupes in Kosinski’s novel, and in director Hal Ashby’s film adaptation of it, are those who see Chance Gardener as something other than a clueless and therefore innocent idiot. Thus he becomes a vessel in which other people’s hopes and yearnings are allowed to reside. They who follow him are wishful, fawning saps, desperately clinging to the illusion of a brilliance and wisdom that do not exist.

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