He’s guilty as hell and he knows it. Barack Obama must rise from his bed of a night, go to his Oval Office and spin the globe on his desk searching for a blank spot in which to hide. Trailing his fingertips over sea and land trying to find a jungle deep enough or an island remote enough, a destination he might sail surreptitiously away to before the voters realize the whiff of Utopia they got off him has curdled. He’ll search that globe in vain. There’s nowhere to hide.

Because Obama is an intelligent man and he knew what he was doing. It was a premeditated heist. There’s no extenuating circumstance here. He let us dream. He even invited us to dream. Said, “yes we can”. And saying “yes we can” is a dangerous game to play when, quite clearly, we can’t.

So the backlash, when it comes, will be like the Volte-face that was pulled on Il Duce by the Italian people. Their love for that high-chinned fascist was so great that when the romance ended he had to swing boots-up in the street.

The deeper the love the greater the heartbreak when it dies and the more bitter the ensuing hostility. The people love this guy so they’re going to want wholeheartedly to tar-and-feather him when the affair sours. Americans are going to feel duped and ashamed and they’re not going to take the rap themselves. Juvenal said revenge was always the joy of narrow, sick and petty minds. That’s an identikit picture of the majority of people living between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Superior and they’re going to want a cold revenge served in the State Dining Room of the White House.

In England the people loved a guy called Blair. He was said to be New Labour. (Tip: any time anyone offers you something new in politics, walk away.) It was agreed he came with new ideologies attached that could tame the future and make it a circus pony for us to marvel at and applaud. Log on to the English papers now and read what they say about Blair. The man is more tarnished and traduced than Gary Glitter.

The first thing that will happen is the magic won’t. Maybe a year into his term when the world hasn’t got wildly better. Then the people will begin to see Barack Obama brought to the presidency no more or less than any other president has ever brought. But somehow we believed he was bringing wizardry.

Barack doesn’t have any magic apart from the hope he engendered in us — and that great wave of hope was something I’m glad I was alive to see. But now the Defence budget is still around $800 billion and the peoples of the earth as unruly and cantankerous as when W was confounded by them. So, stalemate on taming radical Islam.

The Gross Domestic Product will remain at about $14.3 trillion and may even fall, so he doesn’t have any economic muscle W couldn’t muster. The total U.S federal debt is $10,802 trillion, a sum big enough to be perfectly meaningless except as a metaphor for the end of the world.

Barack has no public health system, which is alarming because the percentage of fat and foolish in the constituency under his care is the same as when W was their shepherd.

And he faces an enemy called GFC, against which he’s launched a rescue package that, to put a human face on it, means the millions of Americans who did the right thing are going to foot the bill for the thousands who didn’t.

When it becomes known he doesn’t have magic that is going to save us, who’s going to save Barack? How did he con us into believing he was magic? What was his trick? Because it must have been trickery, mustn’t it? It couldn’t have been our fault, could it? We weren’t swept up chanting and hollering a mass of hysterical hallelujahs like a congregation in a Southern Baptist church. Were we? No. It was surely him; blinding us with a concoction of false hope, a misty vision of Camelot rebuilt.

So this is really about hope, (always false when things don’t pan out) and the men who trade in it: Faith healers, Tattersalls agents, bookies, casino operators, politicians, priests. We buy hope from them, though the math tells us they’re selling faulty merchandise that shouldn’t even be on the market in a modern country with consumer protection laws and a fraud squad. So it is our own fault. Caveat emptor, baby.

Barack was only fulfilling his duty as a politician. Saying the future could be broken, tamed, made into a circus pony to dance on its hind legs while we cheered and clapped. We knew better, really. In the deepest part of our hearts we knew the truth. We’d heard the promises before. But this time, with everyone locking arms in a joyous unanimity, it seemed…

Well, he’s going to pay. Because we will not be taking the fall for this one. God knows the guy might be so economically, diplomatically and politically adept that he completes more good in a month than the Bushes and the silver-haired fornicator bookended by them completed in their combined tenure. It won’t be enough. The guy let us believe he could turn the future into a prancing circus pony. And now the people want their pony, but are about as likely to get it as a griffin or a unicorn.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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