Most educational to observe reactions to the Obama performance at West Point. Barrack H. Obama needed a long-winded speech in front of hundreds of grey coated military bureaucrats-in-training to officially announce that USA is going to escalate the bloodshed in Afghanistan.
FOX News quickly concluded it is a sound policy, but a terrible speech. He was not enthusiastic enough. They resent Obama for not delivering a more energetic performance, for not acting like he is really hot for the idea. Bill O'Reilly even found himself wondering, "where is the table pounding". They got all they wanted in the way of policy, jet they were unhappy because they have not gotten a more bloodthirsty speech.
Perhaps they are in the right. Perhaps instead of concentrating on the policy that had just been announced the real news was the performance. Perhaps that is the real role of presidents. Not to direct the state bureaucracy (theoretically on behalf of the people), but to act as its spokesmen and sell its policy to the populace.
That would mean the elections are more like pop idol contests. There not to choose the next supreme ruler, but to provide some amusement and for the part of the populace that can be bothered to help pick a face they would most like to see on television for the next few years.
It would not be that shocking to discover presidents are mere captives to the cogs of the bureaucratic state. Even the supposedly absolutist monarchs of the 18th century frequently felt that their power had been taken hostage by the bureaucracies they themselves had created. And they were appointed by God. Compared to that what is the 70 million votes in a semi-free election that Obama has for a sanction?
The phenomena is all the more likely now with still more expansive bureaucracies of the present day. Albeit Obama's electoral programme included the notion of an Afghanistan surge, once in office it often seemed as if additional pressure to actually go through with it was being applied, even openly through the media, by the state's top military bureaucrats who seemingly wanted it a lot more than he did.
In fact as far as we can tell his whole mode of operation consist of trying to please everyone and of making concessions on his every step, even when there was seemingly no reason for him to do so. Let us just recall the assurances given to AIPAC, the hiring of superhawk Hillary, reversing himself on the torture photos, renditions, trials and other issues concerning the prisoners of the terror war.
It is possible he is the first American president who is truly nothing but a facade, a performer. With Obama one gets the feeling the head of the state is somebody who went to school for presidential doubles. True, Bush was also an actor. But Dubya was playing the role of a cowboy. He was pretending he was a rancher from Texas who throws in grill parties for his neighbours. Obama actually looks like someone who is pretending he is the president. He says he is, but he is not quite sure whether he believes it himself.