The Poseur President

Victor Davis Hansen:

When I heard the president in the last debate, I thought I was in Cloud Cuckoo Land: he seemed to be running for office as a fresh challenger — with the same future tenses and subjunctive moods of “I will” and “I would” as he long ago used against Bobby Rush, Alan Keyes, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain, when he was the perennial potential office-holder. In other words, the president sounded as if he does not have a record to run on, only a speculative one about which to offer hypotheses. Note how Obama slept through four years and only comes alive in a campaign where he loves his own speeches, likes to accuse and belittle, and feeds off the frenzy of crowds — in comparison to all that, intelligence briefings and debate prep are a “drag.”

So what he said in these two debates was all a sort of lie, as if Mitt Romney has been president for four years or George Bush is now in his third term. The Greeks called such a busybody, non-stop talker a “polypragmôn,” someone who jumps from here to there, always talking, persuading, speechifying, but never really accomplishing anything. The more Obama promised, the more I thought I had amnesia: did he not have two years of a Democratic Senate and House, and in the beginning with a supermajority that was filibuster-proof?

The Way of the Sophist

I had a lot of Obamas in class. They sat in the front of the room, posed long eloquent questions, mellifluously interrupted the lectures with clever refinements and qualifications, often self-referenced all that they had read and done — and then pow!: you grade their first test and there is simply nothing there: a D or F. It was quite stunning: how could a student be so confident in his rhetoric and so dismal in his performance?

Surely I thought this test must be some terrible mistake (did his mother just die? Had she came down with mononucleosis? Is this a fluke, a once-in-a-lifetime bad day?). And then he takes the midterm and then the final and then turns in the paper — each effort proves more pathetic than the last. Yet in class the next day, there he is again, raising his hand, pouring out clever phraseology and eloquent exempla, as if he has not just flunked his test and is getting an F.

Each time you encounter such a Starbuck the Rainmaker or The Music Man, the experience still is discomforting, given the vast abyss between the eloquent grandstanding rhetoric and actual achievement — and the deliberate way in which you, the instructor, were to be conned. And if such students are athletic, dapper, charismatic, and sharply dressed (and for some reason they so often are), the disconnect becomes ever more arresting. Sometimes the debacle even worsens when they come to office hours after the first bad grade, “shocked” that the professor might underappreciate their rhetorical gymnastics. Similar is the gulf between Obama’s teleprompted verbiage and his actual performance of governing since 2009.

I don’t know about back east or down south, but out here in the west we have what used to be called “drug-store cowboys.” They are easiest to spot on the road because they drive big gas-guzzling trucks with tires five feet tall but they live in the suburbs and work indoors. They have Truck Nutz hanging from the trailer hitch and enough horses under the hood to move a house but they don’t own anyhing to haul behind them. The truck may say “4×4” on the side but they rarely take it off the pavement, hate to get it dirty and never put anything in the bed for fear of scratching the paint.

These guys might be annoying but they are harmless because they know they aren’t real cowboys. They are poseurs.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

noun \pō-ˈzər, ˈpō-zər\

Definition of POSEUR
: a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person

Origin of POSEUR
French, literally, poser, from poser
First Known Use: 1869

Barack Obama has been a poseur all his life. He pretends to be an intellectual. He went to law school but didn’t practice law. He was on the faculty of a law school but he’s not an academic. He ran for public office but he knows little of politicking and even less about governing. He accomplished nothing but wrote two books about it.

He spent the past four years pretending to be President of the United States.

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28 Responses to The Poseur President

  1. LiVo says:

    AWESOME post. Made my Monday.

  2. Lulu says:

    I have never seen a cowboy hat shaped like that. That is a circus lion tamer hat or some Australian crocodile hunter wannabe. It looks more like a fake gentleman farmer in Wellies in wilds of suburban Boston which is the crowd he associates with most often.

    • yttik says:

      LOL, that’s what I thought! That’s not even a real cowboy hat. Australia maybe? It almost looks like a mobster hat. Indiana Jones? Whatever it is, I’ve never seen a cowboy wear a hat like that.

    • britgirls says:

      Yep … I think it is an Australian hat called an Akubra. My hubbie has one.

  3. tommy says:

    Battleground/GWU/Politico has Romney up by 2. R-49, O-47. Akin likens McCaskill to a dog (loony Akin just went loonier). And Donald Trump promises an ‘October surprise’ on O by Wednesday.

  4. tommy says:

    Captain Dick Poseur. Yep, its got a nice ring to it.

  5. AniEm says:

    I don’t have rabid Obots in my immediate circle, but do have friends and family who are quietly concerned that I don’t support the Oba-malarky ticket. I would love to refer them to this article. To be fair, I think O should be hired by ESPN because can talk a good game. The problem is the millions of people who believed in him and can’t see through the nonsense, and that includes a heluva lot of university professors, not to mention Russell Crowe.

    • myiq2xu says:

      My kids are Obots so we don’t talk politics. I’m sure they’ll outgrow it while they are quite confident that I am senile.

      • AniEm says:

        I’m trying to embrace onset senility these days, but I’m sure we have a long way to go before reaching the Joe Biden stage.

  6. driguana says:

    Yep, he’s lookin’ like Illinois Jones! He, and others as Hansen points out, are able to get away with this because of a phenomenon I call “cultural amnesia”, an affliction that does not allow you to remember anything beyond yesterday.

    By the way, big props to the Giants!! I’m a fan.

  7. tommy says:

    Gallup bites back. Faced with criticism from the O campaign, Gallup states that their ‘methodology is extremely solid’ and that they’ve been criticized whenever ‘one side doesn’t like the result’. Lol. And in other news, according to Reuters, O has planned a 48 hour non-stop swing state blitz to stop his slide.

  8. yttik says:

    .”….here in the west we have what used to be called “drug-store cowboys.”

    LOL, not to put too fine of a point on it, but California is not “the west.” We have real cowboys up here, who sometimes clean themselves up and try to pose as drug store cowboys. But all our trucks are dirty and the truck nutz are real.

    That’s how we spot the Californians, their trucks are clean and their nutz are made of plastic 🙂

    • myiq2xu says:

      We ain’t all surfers and tofu eaters around here.

      • yttik says:

        There ain’t no such thing as a vegan cowboy 🙂

        • myiq2xu says:

          An old cowboy – dressed to kill with cowboy shirt, hat, jeans, spurs and chaps – went to a bar and ordered a drink. As he sat there sipping his whiskey, a young lady sat down next to him.

          After she ordered her drink she turned to the cowboy and asked him, “Are you a real cowboy?” To which he replied, “Well, I’ve spent my whole life on the ranch, herding cows, breaking horses, mending fences, so I guess I am.”

          After a short while he asked her what she was. She replied, “I’ve never been on a ranch. I am a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. I get up in the morning thinking of women, when I eat, shower, watch TV – everything makes me think of women.”

          A short while later she left, and the cowboy ordered another drink. A couple sat down next to him and asked, “Are you a real cowboy?”

          “I always thought I was,” he answered, “but I just found out that I’m a lesbian.”

  9. votermom says:

    Wait, that’s not a photoshop?

  10. swanspirit says:

    And, we have to get our information from the Poseur in Chief , from late night comedy shows , because he cannot be bothered to have a press conference .

  11. yttik says:

    It’s not even Tinfoil Tuesday yet, but this is strange:

    CBS News affiliate calls 2012 presidential race for Barack Obama weeks ahead of election

    Read more:

  12. ME says:

    I voted today, early voting is busy here in TX. I also checked out No Apology from the library.

  13. Just on first glance at that picture. Anybody see that it ooks like Obama’s wearing a poet blouse? Or is it more akin to the pirate shirt?

  14. SWPAnnA says:

    Reminds me of my husband’s dirt bike/motorcycle joke: Plenty of the “hip” Harley riders haul their bikes to the meet-up location rather than have to brave the weather to join their friends for a T to T scramble or a fund-raisier ride. … How are German Shepards like Harleys? They both like to ride in the back of the truck.

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