Powerline's Hinderaker Reminds Us of Bush's Genius
That President Obama had a very good week seems beyond dispute. His groundbreaking speech in Cairo Thursday was praised worldwide. Meanwhile, NBC's Brian Williams aired a fawning two-hour look inside the Obama White House that the Daily Show rightly compared to an episode of MTV's Real World.
But when Newsweek's Evan Thomas described Obama's stratospheric global standing as "sort of God," that was more deification than 2004 Blog of the Year Powerline could stomach. Of course, John Hinderaker's nausea could also be a lingering symptom from his 2005 proclamation that George W. Bush is "a man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius."
To be sure, Thomas' discussion with MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews about Obama's Egypt address and upcoming D-Day commemoration at times went from the sublime to the ridiculous:
"Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn't felt that way in recent years. So Obama's had, really, a different task. We're seen too often as the bad guys. And he - he has a very different job from - Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is 'we are above that now.' We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial. We stand for something - I mean in a way Obama's standing above the country, above - above the world, he's sort of God."
For Powerline's John Hinderaker, such talk is sacrilege. After all, as he made clear on July 28, 2005, omniscience and beneficence are terms reserved for President Bush:
"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."
(While Hinderaker later insisted his tone about Bush's supposed "stroke of genius" on carbon emissions was "obviously tongue in cheek," Dubya's broken 2000 campaign promise to regulate CO2 was predictably absent from the Powerline hagiography.)
Of course, Thomas' hyperbole about a god in the White House is just that - hyperbole. As for Powerline's genius, George W. Bush apparently believed God chose him to lead the United States. As Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention put it:
"Among the things he said to us was: I believe that God wants me to be president, but if that doesn't happen, it's OK."
Just don't tell John Hinderaker.