Ride on, King Obama! – UPDATED

Instapundit links to an interesting piece at Powerline, where it is suggested that President Obama might prefer to be a King:

Obama enjoys being president, and he especially treasures the symbolic significance of being the first African-American president. That’s how his supporters feel, too. I haven’t heard anyone defend his actual performance in a long time, but there is still widespread satisfaction with the symbolic value of his presidency. So why don’t we make him king? If being the first African-American president has symbolic value, just think what it would mean for the first King of the United States to be African-American! Plus, Michelle would be a queen and Malia and Sasha would be princesses. How cool would that be?

It’s a clever bit of snark, and you should read it all.

I was actually a lot more serious when I made a similar suggestion back in ’09:

I suspect that what Obama wanted was to be the King, not the President. The King’s role is largely ceremonial. In time of national tragedy the King goes before the camera and says, “this is very sad.” If he can assign blame on a perceived enemy he does so, and then he steps aside and retires to his amusements while those actually in charge clean up the mess and determine how to prevent future messes. Everyone loves the King, defers to the King, rushes to do for the King, but the King -who tends to get bored and distracted by the dry business of actually governing- is responsible for very little, and most are just as glad of it.

If a King is on vacation and his country encounters an critical issue, he knows there is no need to come jetting back to the palace, because the Prime Minister is taking care of reality. All the King needs to do is -in a day or three- show up at a microphone in casual dress and do the PR work of expressing concern over the issue and confidence in the government. The King can command instant coverage, even if there is only time for audio.

A King does not worry, so much, about representative governance, since it is irrelevent to his standing.

Sadly, though, America is not in need of his Kingship.

America needs a good old-fashioned President.

Actually, I might have suggested it even earlier:

The forced definition of the American Presidency is sitting very uncomfortably with Barack Obama. There is nowhere to hide; there are no further personae to be invented and presented. The Jekyll and Hyde who has been singing endless encores of “This is the Moment” to America for nearly three years, has finally come upon a real moment, an authentic crossroad: he must now materialize into a defined entity with a known vector. Will that entity choose to define himself by a willingness to help a nation of free and energetic dreamers sustain the most exceptional and productive dream in history? Or will it choose to remain the poorly-marked outline of an aching, light-consuming void, delivering nothing but silence?

Until Barack Obama decides who he is, we cannot know him, and he cannot know America. And until he knows America, he cannot begin to understand the good-faith majority of us, who are longing not for a god, not for a king, but for a president worthy of our trust.

And even earlier!

“Bring back the lone haranguer!”

Seems like I haven’t written much about Obama in a while. He is not even in my Tag-cloud.

That’s not really surprising; he makes me tired.

But I’d still like him to answer this question!

UPDATE: The King is Not Amused

UPDATE II: Not King, just President of China

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Anonymous

    You render me speechless. I guess I am left with my own Lenten thoughts about civility and charity. That is not to defend Obama, but to seriously ask what this has to do with anything remotely religious? And how does this build anything up? Do you really enjoy being mean? I can’t imagine that you do, but perhaps I am missing something.

    You have a lot of power and a wide readership and that is a great thing. I am always sad when you do not use such things for good. That Elizabeth – that is what makes me tired.

  • Ohiogal

    Sigh. I guess you don’t like Christ “being mean” to the money changers in the temple either, huh Fran?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    On the other hand, I enjoyed the article.

    Obama is certainly not above criticism, civility and charity notwithstanding. He’s supposed to be our leader, and the American president, unlike a king, must expect criticism.

  • Anonymous

    Jesus was not being mean to the moneychangers and you cheapen Jesus by making this comparison.

    I can’t even imagine Ohiogal how the two would be even remotely related.

  • Anonymous

    Who said it was wrong to criticize? It is the mocking and superior tone of criticism that I was addressing. No one is above criticism except God in my estimation.

    Leaders should be criticized. Mocking and criticism are different matters. Also, we all must be aware of what our motivation is.

  • Ohiogal

    Those don’t seem like charitable Lenten thoughts – not at all. I think the phrase you’re struggling to comprehend is “righteous anger.” That’s what I see in common.

  • Guest

    I used to love this blog when it was smaller and religious-oriented. I still follow through Twitter, but the political stuff is tedious to me, too. I think I felt really low when The Anchoress tweeted a horrendous video of a woman from the developing world surrounded by men who laughed while she was whipped. The video was awful, but the tweet was so disappointing- something like, “Where are the feminist groups to speak out against this?” How does that help build anything up? I am 100% pro-life. Feminist groups can be called out for many things. But implying that they support that type of abuse because they didn’t tweet it first is just irresponsible. It leads them to shut their ears and hearts to the message of the dignity of every human life when they are blamed for something like that by someone with a prominent pro-life voice.

    I echo FranRossiSzpylcyn’s comment that The Anchoress has a wide readership and power. No more useless snark on the President. We can get enough of that on the Internet. Please return to your beautiful religious roots on this page. Maybe just for the next 40 days? Please?

  • Anonymous

    Fran, I know you don’t like it, but this blog never has been strictly about religion and never will be. I don’t think I’m being the least bit mean in observing that Obama appears not to much like being president; it’s an opinion based on observation. And “the King is a Fink” is a bit of pop culture based humor, nothing more, which I think you actually know. I don’t wish the man ill, I don’t lie about him, and I am not mean…I just don’t think he’s a very good president, and I think I am perfectly within my rights as a citizen, and within my scope as a Christian to express that opinion. I am sorry you are tired of me. But not surprised. You’re tell me that, a lot! :-)

  • HMS

    Fran:
    Unfortunately, this Catholic blog is losing credibility. Recent rants against unions and funding for NPR, past defenses of so-called injustices (?) done to Sarah Palin, all make this blog appear more and more like an attempt to blend a particular political agenda and philosophy with Catholic spirituality and teaching. (However, I am not sure that it is done consciously.)

  • RedCarolina

    Hilarious! If it weren’t so true. In that “tribal” mentality, they do think of themselves as royalty. It would explain a lot about Michelle’s bizarre behavior and all the parties and golfing and vacation. I am from the South. I think people of America are learning a lot about the black culture by observing Obama. It’s not just Chicago, although there is more money there. I’m not being racist, but I have been around the culture and he is behaving exactly as I would image someone from that classic Black Liberation culture would act as president. I’ve learned more about it being link with Marxism. That’s scary. That is where he stands with the abortion issue, sadly. No Christian, no Muslim (I would think) would be pro-abortion. That is just evil.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly I find it a lot of doublespeak when you say that you are within your rights as a citizen and within your scope as a Christian. Of course that is true, it is not the expression itself, it is the style and tone that I object to.

    During the last administration, I often used my voice to decry the prior occupant of the Oval Office. Then it began to dawn on me that there was a dividing line between what I said and how I said it. That’s my journey however and not yours.

    I will say that when I had my old blog, the more mean, antagonistic and snarky one, I had a much higher readership. We all do know what sells.

    I only say these things so often because I find myself frustrated more than tired. You possess such gifts and a place to use them… You certainly don’t need my flattery or praise, but I do think you have so many gifts. That is why I think that this type of talk demeans you and your gifts, but that is my opinion and opinions are not right or wrong. (They can however, be wrong-headed, I know…)

    I’ve got to get back to work.I wish you peace and good.

  • Anonymous

    I have trouble finding the righteous anger in this post. I have no issue finding righteous anger in Jesus.

    And you are right, mea culpa, I was not exactly charitable. I am sorry.

  • Anonymous

    In all seriousness, and with all due respect, Fran, I look at these excerpts from 2009 and I do not read a superior tone, or even snark…this is real, genuine frustration at a president who does not seem to want to embrace his office. Now, I cannot help how you read this, or receive it, but I know what snark, sarcasm and superior tones are, and this time, I don’t think I’m guilty. You wag your finger at me a lot, and I never respond because I usually think there is enough truth in your fingerwagging as to warrant your critiques. This time I am defending myself because I think don’t think so. We’ll have to agree to disagree, I guess.

  • Anonymous

    This “Catholic” blog was never merely a “Catholic” blog, and always delved into politics. The PBS piece was a fair observation on the diminished quality of Sesame Street and the astonishing amount of money the merchandising for the show brings in – a legitimate question about taxpayer funding and where it is needed, vs. where it is not. As to Sarah Palin, I’m not a fan…but if you have to put a {?} about “injustices” done to her, then (shrug) – I simply think you have to be fair sometimes…even to Palin. I also support comprehensive illegal immigration and abhor the death penalty, but by all means, receive me as you will.

  • Anonymous

    As I said to Fran, this was not “useless snark,” it is a real expression of frustration. How we receive things is entirely our decision. The video I posted I identified quite rightly as an outrage and a human rights injustice. And asking where the feminist outcry was? A legitimate question. I see feminists carrying on about political foes who aren’t “real women” or about pro-life activists, but they don’t seem inclined to speak out about stonings, whippings, etc…it’s a fair question to ask, I think. You don’t?

  • Anonymous

    I am amenable to agreeing to disagree. If I did not like and respect you, I would not spend what little time I have, especially lately, at your blog. Thanks for entering into the conversation – that is what always matters to me. Thank you and peace.

  • Lily

    Re: Update

    That was the last straw. Obama is the most divisive politician… evah! He is calling the kettle black. Harrumph, she mutters as she exits the comment box.

  • Teresa

    For anyone to suggest that Mrs. Scalia should not be critical of our current President because she posts a Catholic blog is just plain silly. Because the actions of Obama frequently display a contempt for the Catholic Church, it is imperative to point out those actions. As well, the couple in the White House, clearly, by their behavior, do not embrace the office at all. The constant entertaining, basketball playing etc., while the whole world and this nation is falling apart, only communicates to us that they will never be serious about that office. They do occupy the White House as if they are royalty.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Well, it seems to me that there was no superior tone here, and no real mockery; and the criticisms—that Obama does seem to enjoy the perks of the presidency, rather than exercising its power, and fulfilling its responsibilities—look at his waffling on Libya, and Iran—seem justified, given his behavior. So, what, exactly, is your problem with this post? And what sort of “motivations” are the correct ones, for critiquing politicians? Do we all have to pass a “motive” test now, before saying anything?

    And this blog has never been entirely religious. One can always read the many religious threads the Anchoress posts on, and skip the political ones. And as for the religion vs. politics angle—well, we live in a dangerous world at the moment. I’m afraid there isn’t going to any possibility of simply retreating, and focusing only on “Pure” religious feelings, and sensibilities, at the moment.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Ah, yes, let us all return to “beautiful religious roots”, and not worry about what’s actually going on in the world, and, especially, let us never, ever criticize the president, or the feminists, because some people might be offended—and it’s just being mean and snarky, to do so.

    /Sarc. off.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Also, criticism of NPR, or unions, is just in bad taste! It’s just mean and snarky, however, to point out any injusticies done to Sarah Palin. Please! No criticisim of the current administration, or society at this point! Just lovely, lovely, religious thoughts. . .

    /Sarc. off again.

  • Wilsonia

    Fran, this isn’t your blog. It’s Mrs. Scalia’s blog and her blog is not a public service. She can write what she wants. Oh, and the king is just an empty suit.

  • kelleyb

    Psst, pass it on…

  • Lily

    Well… it seems good and proper to weigh in on the Mean Lizzie critics.

    Mrs. Scalia is an excellent writer full of wit, humor, hyperbole, insight, incise analyses, depth, compassion, piety, and generosity. All in all… she’s one mensch of a Catholic.

    If her critics think they are even 1/2 as talented or at least 1/2 as Catholic, I suggest they start their own blog and run it for awhile. That would end all of the silly criticisms once and for all.

  • Lily

    I apologize for my haste in my last post. I should have added the adjectives: intelligent, warm, creative, and other such things, but I think ya’ll get the idea that she is superlative in many ways and it would be good to lighten up on her. :)

  • kelleyb

    I’ve been barking “the king is a fink!” for several years because I agreed with Elizabeth that our current President seems comfortable keeping out of the messy decision making weeds, playing golf-BB and attending ceremonial events on overseas junkets-and it is funny. If you have read the Anchoress for many years, you are aware that Mean Lizzy writes on a multitude of topics. She writes with humor, love, satire, warmth and human-ness. It is also obvious that she loves God more that I will probably ever be able to muster. God bless all who venture to her “window”.

  • HMS

    I think that it would be helpful if the Anchoress made it very clear when she is giving her own opinion on a topic. For example, shifting from inspirational posts about Benedictine spirituality and then dealing with government funding of Public Broadcasting gives the impression that there is a Catholic Church position on the latter issue. (By the way, well-respected Catholic authors have been interviewed and have promoted their books on NPR.)

    I have no problem with people’s opinions being expressed freely but, given that his Blog is part of a Catholic Portal, personal opinion and Catholic Tradition need to be carefully delineated.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Er, who else’s opinion would she be giving, in an article like this? She’s not talking about Catholic tradition here, or teaching; she’s talking about the president—a completely secular subject (though some might wish it to be otherwise), a subject upon which all Americans, Catholic or not, have a right to talk about.

    I don’t recall the Anchoress has ever claimed to be some sort of pope, able to rule on matters of faith and morals.

  • SKAY

    We know that Obama -before becoming President-talked about the problems that he has with the Constitution as written. It limits the things that government can do.
    He has recently said that being President of China would be a lot easier than being President of the U S.
    That would mean no bothersome old Constitution to deal with at all.
    Forced abortions because of the one child only policy and people can just be thrown in jail or worse if they don’t agree with what the leader says.

    I can see his point only too well.
    He makes me tired also.

  • SKAY

    We know that Obama -before becoming President-talked about the problems that he has with the Constitution as written. It limits the things that government can do.
    He has recently said that being President of China would be a lot easier than being President of the U S.
    That would mean no bothersome old Constitution to deal with at all.
    Forced abortions because of the one child only policy and people can just be thrown in jail or worse if they don’t agree with what the leader says.

    I can see his point only too well.
    He makes me tired also.

  • jeff

    Obama is someone who has been coddled virtually his whole adult life because he is half-black. He is not used to anything getting in in his way, so the presidency I’m sure has come as a shock to him psychologically. As Michael Goodwin said, his remark can only be interpreted in one of two ways: 1) his is overwhelmed by the job despite an absolutely fawning media that covers for him night and day, or 2) he longs for a totalitarian state where he can be king. I’m sure he is also frustrated by his as yet unsuccessful efforts to find his birth certificate too.

  • Joseph Marshall

    That’s not really surprising; he makes me tired.

    There’s a good reason you’re tired about it. Since the faction you favor will have him and his wife be villains under any and all circumstances, for anything he does or doesn’t do, past a certain point there’s not much left to say, and saying it is a bore. We’ve had a good look at him now and the only permanent criticism that can be made of him is that he is sometimes too slow on the draw.

    I don’t count the ridiculous criticism that Obama is essentially not a conservative and doesn’t have conservative views. So many on the right are so infatuated by the illusion that their views are self-evidently correct whether the facts in view contradict them or not, that I suppose we must suffer such foolishness, if not gladly, at least with a firm commitment that everybody has the right to speak and to vote.

    But when you consider how often the “quick on the trigger” previous administration managed to shoot itself in the foot, maybe a little more care and consideration before acting is not a wholly bad thing. I notice that Republican governors and legislatures all the way around are picking up the “quick on the trigger” habit. I strongly suspect that it will not rebound to their ultimate advantage.

    One thing is certain about Obama and that is that he is very patient, and what victories he has won [which are more than conservatives are genuinely willing to ackowledge] have come through patience and willingness to compromise.

    Luck has had a good deal to do with it, too. Patience is a prime skill for working with any representative body, and sometimes Congress requires the patience of a saint. If your patient, you get compromises sooner or later. And whether conservatives know it or not, compromises are victories, even for them. But nothing serious enough to absolutely demand a quick response has actually occurred in his Administration so far.

    There is a school of thought, however, that if you keep your gun holstered and don’t ostentatiously step into the street with a chip on your shoulder, it is highly likely that there will be no gunfight at all. So perhaps patience has made Obama’s luck, too.

    I do think that your readers who dislike your political excursions really are far too sensitive. You have already written so much fine stuff on Lent that there is every reason to be satisfied with you. I certainly am.

  • Anonymous

    Ouch. No need for sarcasm with a stranger. I stand by my own criticism that there is a less divisive way to express Catholic sentiments. Is it better to win an argument or to change hearts? Sarcasm rarely does the latter?

    I do not hold the Anchoress responsible for this posters’ remarks above. I doubt anyone would speak this way face to face. It’s just part of the Internet phenomenon of posting anonymously.

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s unfair to imply that feminists approve of that outrage because YOU didn’t see or hear their outcry. I know pro-abortion women who were outraged by that video, AND ticked off by what you implied by your tweet. You didn’t look for or listen for the outrage. There was outrage when they saw it. I saw the tweets. How did you help change hearts? You didn’t. You widened the divide. Please consider my point.

  • Anonymous

    Does she invite discussion or not?


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