The national nightmare that has been Obama was brought into sharper contrast last weekend for me as I read stories about the 40th anniversary of Watergate.
In governing style, not necessarily substance, there are certainly parallels between Obama and Nixon.
In can be argued that both men derived their aggressiveness from feelings of inadequacy they endured as children. Both brought these feelings of adequacy in the form of personal demons into the White House; demons that gave them plastic personalities that never really took shape. Both let their demons dictate how they governed- rudderless, compass-less but always needy- to the great detriment of the nation.
Both men only had to face those demons to achieve great things.
In this, both men failed.
To some extent Nixon and Obama were trapped by impulses beyond their control- or it least by impulses they wished not to control.
“Nixon had a troubled childhood. Raised by a sometimes abusive father and a controlling mother,” says Notable Biographies, “Nixon adopted parts of both his parents' personalities. Some historians have believed that, as a result of his childhood, Nixon had a drive to succeed and felt he had to pretend to be ‘good’ while using any tactics necessary to achieve his goals.”
Obama too had what can only be termed as an unhappy childhood. It has left him, like Nixon, ambivalent about the space that he occupies in the world.
Yes, he’s part white; and yes he’s part black.
But he seems uncomfortable with both races. Even more than just uncomfortable: He is actually hostile to both (all?) races, yet still race-conscious.
Yes, he’s an avowed Christian.
But it’s a strange Christianity that tries to disavow his chosen religion while embracing other religions in a way that appears to many as an endorsement of those religions as superior in some way.
Think of this: Of all the places Obama chose to have a political career he picked Chicago, Illinois. He then wrapped himself in the flag of “reform,” “different,” “better.”