December 17, 2011

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: ‘When the Legend Becomes Fact, Print the Legend.’ “Barack Obama is a myth, our modern version of Pecos Bill or Paul Bunyan. What we were told is true, never had much basis in fact — a fact now increasingly clear as hype gives way to reality. . . . In short, the myth of Obama’s brilliance was based on his teleprompted eloquence, the sort of fable that says we should listen to a clueless Sean Penn or Matt Damon on politics because they can sometimes act well. Read Plato’s Ion on the difference between gifted rhapsody and wisdom — and Socrates’ warning about easily conflating the two. It need not have been so. At any point in a long career, Obama the rhapsode could have shunned the easy way, stuck his head in a book, and earned rather than charmed those (for whom he had contempt) for his rewards. Clinton was a browser with a near photographic memory who had pretensions of deeply-read wonkery; but he nonetheless browsed. Obama seems never to have done that.”

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