Unfortunately for the powerful, the plight of the biblical Job is a story with perennial resonance. A man seemingly rich in the gifts life has to offer, happy and blessed, finds himself — unjustly, from his perspective — bereft. Protected and apparently invincible one day, he is buffeted as God turns his back on his former beloved, producing rage, confusion and self-pity. In the history of the American presidency, reversal happens time and time again: Lyndon Johnson declining to run four years after his landslide victory in 1964, George H. W. Bush losing re-election after winning the Persian Gulf war of 1991, Bill Clinton in the 1994 midterms, and now Barack Obama.
....Outside politics, President Obama thinks of himself less as a professor or community organizer and more as a writer — a man who observes reality, interprets it internally, and then recasts it on the page in his own voice and through his own eyes. And he is a reader of serious books.
Given that, he might find Alter’s new book (on the Old Testament character Job) congenial. John Boehner is not exactly a case of boils, but the president may feel differently at the moment, and thus the story of Job could be of some use to him.
Like Obama, Job was once the highly favored one:
Would that I were as in moons of yore, as the days when God watched over me,But the Lord withdraws his protection, inflicting pain and death and misery on Job, who cries:
when he shined his lamp over my head. . . .
Terror rolls over me, pursues my path like the wind. . . .God is having none of it. He will not be questioned by a mortal, even a mortal whom he once loved and who has honored him. Fairly snarling, the Lord taunts Job from a whirlwind: “Where were you when I founded earth? / Tell, if you know understanding.”
At night my limbs are pierced, and my sinews know no rest.
With great power he seizes my garment, grabs hold of me at the collar.
He hurls me into the muck, and I become like dust and ashes.
Ah, the tragedy of it all !!! The ManGod has fallen !!!
Of all the grasping and desperate and failed attempts to apply some significance to the behavior of this mediocre Chicago con artist, this one from Jon Meacham is probably the worst.
Barack Obama now has more in common with King Solomon than he does with Job.
Barack Obama has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
In less than two years, Obama has:
1) Given 3/4 trillion dollars of pork to his contributors,
2) Temporarily socialized two major auto companies, both of which employ thousands of his contributors, and relieved them of the responsibility for their actions,
3) Relieved his upper and lower end contributors of having to face the music for their bad housing investments,
4) Socialized American medicine, a move guaranteed to increase the number, loyalty, and power of his party's contributors,
5) Began paying for these thefts with "quantitative easing", an economics term that means "printing a bunch of money",
6) And he did all this while maintaining his posture as an intellectual who reads "serious books", in Meacham's phrase.
To those of us who see the goal of politics as a series of spectacular transfers of wealth, Barack Obama is not Job. Not even close. He's the most succesful president in American history.
Obama is not having a dark night of the soul.
Everything after this is not Obama's tragedy. It is his victory lap.