Frank Rich takes a look back at the decade in his Sunday NYT column, and what he sees ain't pretty at all.
Though the American left and right don’t agree on much, they are both now coalescing around the suspicion that Obama’s brilliant presidential campaign was as hollow as Tiger’s public image — a marketing scam designed to camouflage either his covert anti-American radicalism (as the right sees it) or spineless timidity (as the left sees it). The truth may well be neither, but after a decade of being spun silly, Americans can’t be blamed for being cynical about any leader trying to sell anything. As we say goodbye to the year of Tiger Woods, it is the country, sad to say, that is left mired in a sand trap with no obvious way out.
Rich details the "bamboozling" of the American Public throughout the decade, from Enron to Bush, Citgroup to John Edwards, Barry Bonds to Balloon Boy. He reserves his most pointed criticism for Tiger Woods, in a scathing indictment that makes Woods the poster boy for all that is wrong in America....
People wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Tiger’s off-the-links elusiveness was no more questioned than Enron’s impenetrable balance sheets, with their “special-purpose entities” named after “Star Wars” characters. Fortune magazine named Enron as America’s “most innovative company” six years in a row. In the January issue of Golf Digest, still on the stands, some of the best and most hardheaded writers in America offer “tips Obama can take from Tiger,” who is typically characterized as so without human frailties that he “never does anything that would make him look ridiculous.”
There is truth in Rich's rant...., regarding Iraq, "we wanted to suspend disbelief. Much of the country, regardless of party, didn’t want to question its leaders, no matter how obviously they were hyping any misleading shred of intelligence that could fit their predetermined march to war."
Rich takes issue with Time Magazine's choice of Ben Bernanke as Person of the Year and has instead named Tiger Woods....
As cons go, Woods’s fraudulent image as an immaculate exemplar of superhuman steeliness is benign. His fall will damage his family, closest friends, Accenture and the golf industry much more than the rest of us. But the syndrome it epitomizes is not harmless. We keep being fooled by leaders in all sectors of American life, over and over. A decade that began with the “reality” television craze exemplified by “American Idol” and “Survivor” — both blissfully devoid of any reality whatsoever — spiraled into a wholesale flight from truth.
If truth will set us free, the lack of truth rampant in this country, well described in this column, will surely shatter whatever future we have. The failed climate agreement and finger pointing, the sad, almost comical actions of the United States Senate in the current Health Care reform effort, the placing of Wall Street foxes in the henhouse of the United States Government Treasury, the hourly and daily politics of dancing around the truth speak volumes. There is no more common good nor common sense and we are all wasting time, wasting money and wasting lives.
Kudos to Frank Rich. Many will disagree vehemently with his characterization and questions regarding our President. I hope our President will read the column and think long and hard about the State of our Union.
'tis not a pretty sight.
update.... my take and headline re. Rich's column do focus on the current state of affairs that Barack Obama finds himself in; Rich concludes his column with the graf I quoted first. I don't think Frank Rich intended to directly compare the antics of Woods with the efforts of the President and the situation each finds themselves in currently. The obvious snowballing of America by many parties, before Tiger, is paramount in the article. Many comments below have automatically focused narrowly on the fact that both are black and accuse Rich of racist undertones. Read the article and reach your own conclusions. I'm going to bed.