By J.R. Dunn
As the Greeks saw it, “nemesis” was an abstract force (personified by the goddess of divine justice of the same name) aimed directly at the destruction of a single individual. It is nemesis that brings down the heroes of the tragedies. A force that builds up over years, inescapable, inevitable, and in large part created by the hero’s own actions. Nemesis is very much the Western equivalent of karma. It is a form of divine payback, which, we are told, is a bitch.
Nemesis is what is taking down Barack Obama. Not politics as such, not the actions of his opponents — at least not yet — not any disaster or setback in the world as a whole. Obama is in the process of being ablated as the result of his own actions, born from his own personal flaws. There’s a certain type of personality that constructs a life out of the nurturing and protecting its own failings rather than attempting to resolve or overcome them. This is the only formula that is required to understand Barack Obama.
For close to four years, I’ve been arguing that Obama’s actions as president — actions taken in defiance of law; of American tradition; of the realities of current condition; and, not the least, of the American people — would, in his final months, take him down. That was my prophecy, vouchsafed unto me in the seventh house during the seventh hour of the seventh day, and behold, it is coming to pass exactly as foretold.
Nobody acts with the arrogance of an Obama without paying for it. In the ancient dramas, it was called hubris. (A lot of debate exists as to how that word was actually pronounced, there being no “u” sound in ancient Greek. Some say it’s an “ee” sound; some say a “y.”) The hero apes the gods; begins to view himself as more than human, beyond the laws that prevail even on Olympus; and the machinery of fate starts grinding. And once that machinery goes into motion, it doesn’t stop until its victim has been reduced to dust.
Obama is one of the most arrogant figures ever to sit in the White House. John Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Teddy Roosevelt do not have a thing on this man. There has been considerable speculation that his condition is clinical, that he is in fact a narcissist in the psychological sense, and there is evidence to back this contention. The public sneer, the smirk, the upthrust chin, the repeated use of the personal pronoun at times when it is far from appropriate (e.g., the speech announcing the shooting of Osama bin Laden, where you’d be forgiven, from the way he told it, in believing that Obama himself took the old butcher out in single combat). The remarks like “I won” in circumstances where they are completely uncalled for. He required no help, on taking office, in boosting his already mammoth ego to the level of near-megalomania, but he got it anyway. Obama, we were told, was “kind of God.” He was the One, the Messiah, the “Alpha and Omega,” in the words of a chant repeated by some of his followers — a description that in the Old Testament was limited to the Almighty and none other.
Obama was praised as fulsomely (in the real sense of the word) as any individual since Josef Stalin. But unlike Uncle Joe, he actually believed it. This kind of thing would have turned the head of even most solidly grounded of individuals; with someone as unstable as Obama, it was fatal.
It was fatal in that it set the stage for nemesis. And Obama took it from there, with some of the most lurid, unjustifiable, and grotesquely inflated policies and programs since the heyday of the New Deal. The $760-billion stimulus. Government takeover of entire industries. The shanghaiing of an eighth of the American economy through his health-care plan. And this is only to mention the most egregious offenses. There is scarcely a single aspect of American life that Obama hasn’t attempted to remake in his own image. And why not? He was the Alpha, after all. And the Omega.
The odd thing is, he didn’t actually do much. He didn’t really put a lot of work into it. Like a Divine Right princeling, he thought that all he needed to do was make his wishes clear for them to be realized — an odd conception of the presidency that I think is unmatched anywhere else in the record. Obama wanted millions of shovel-ready jobs; he sent his Ivy League-trained economists out to arrange it. He wanted a health-care revolution, and he turned that over to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. And so on down the line — every revolutionary program was assigned to some secretary or czar or union goon.
The results have been what any normal individual might have expected. As Americans, we have gotten next to nothing out of all this wasted effort and energy and cash. But that’s more than what Obama got. Because the only thing he got was nemesis.
His grand schemes are falling apart. It seems that a week doesn’t go by without another “green” corporation — Solyndra, First Solar, Ener1 — going down the tubes despite (or perhaps because of) being funded to the tune of hundreds of millions by Obama’s functionaries. His dream machines — the electric cars and high-speed trains — have been transformed into punchlines. His grand design, ObamaCare, appears to be headed for the boneyard through action by the Supreme Court, the only question being whether the justices will kill it outright or maim it to a point that it can’t survive. (Obama’s reaction was characteristic: public insistence that the Supreme Court had no right, historically, legally, or otherwise, to lay a finger on one of Obama’s sacred endeavors.)
Which brings us to the open scandals. Arrogance begets arrogance. The United States was born out of a reaction to imperial flunkies who truly believed that they could behave as vaingloriously as their monarch and his corrupt nobility. The Bourbons were brought down not so much by their own actions (Louis XVI was in fact something of reformer) as those of their out-of-control bureaucrats. It’s no different today. We see it in the GSA scandal, the Secret Service hooker scandal, and above all in the Justice Department’s Fast and Furious scandal. All these result from hirelings mimicking the activities and attitudes of their bosses, including their ultimate boss in the Oval Office. Each is rooted, and obviously so to even to most blasé observer, in arrogance. Fast and Furious reveals the blueprint: a crazy scheme (gun-running on one hand, ObamaCare on the other) that no commonsense individual would ever consider for a moment put into play despite protests, disaster ensuing by leaps and bounds, deliberately ignored because the scheme “has to work,” a climax amounting to complete collapse, with the protagonist (Holder, Obama) acting as if none of it has anything to do with him, as if he can simply walk off without so much as a word spoken.
Obama believes exactly that. So pure is his arrogance, so exalted his narcissism, that he will do nothing to defend himself out of the conviction that no such thing is required of him. That he, among all human beings alive in the second decade of the third millennium, does not need to respond under any circumstance. This is the difference between Obama and previous administrations — Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan worked like stevedores to overcome Watergate and Iran Contra, Nixon with no success while Reagan at last put it behind him. But Obama, exactly like his appointees, doesn’t think he has to make any defense at all. He truly believes that he can’t be touched. (The other difference between these scandals and earlier ones is that hundreds have died as a result of this administration’s activities.)
This is pure arrogance, and it is a hallmark of nemesis. Because none of this is going away. The current scandals will continue to snowball, and there will be more coming over the next months as the seeds scattered by Obama in his first years burst into bloom. (As this is being written, there comes word of a DreamWorks scandal busting open, involving Joe Biden; the Chinese; and, for all I know, the guy who thought it was a good idea to make a picture out of John Carter of Mars.) They have had three years to germinate and spread. As the campaign heats up, so will the scandals.
Obama will then find himself in the lonely place — the place where the naked soul comes face to face with machinery of fate itself. A place that a man cannot walk out of, where no excuses can be made, where no explanation will ever suffice. By the time it’s all over, the election may well be the least of Obama’s worries.
The Greeks gave us a complete picture of a very basic human predicament, arising out of the personal flaws and failings of the individual. A portrayal that still speaks to us because its basic elements remain unchanged even with the passage of millennia. We are seeing it repeated in our time. It will be a terrible spectacle. But it will also be just.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.