Obama's Got A Friend In [G.W. Bush's Favorite Philosopher]


The son of God offers to help Energy Secretary Steven Chu find his contact lens

President Obama refers to Jesus Christ more often than President George W. Bush did. That's Jesus H. Christ to you, and Obama can't get enough of that man, writes Politico's Eamon Javers:

Obama's invocation of the Christian Messiah is more overt than Americans heard in the public rhetoric of Bush in his time in the White House – even though Bush's victories were powered in part by evangelical voters.

"I don't recall a single example of Bush as president ever saying, 'Jesus' or 'Christ,'" said Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Christian group Family Research Council. "This is different."

Javers is coyness itself in stating that the Jeebus talk serves "at once as an affirmation of his faith and a rebuke against a rumor that persists for some to this day."

President Obama flogs Jesus' name as vigorously as these strapping he-men flog the savior's flesh.

Javers writes that "Christian rhetoric offers an opportunity to connect with a broader base of supporters in a nation in which 83 percent of Americans believe in God." Bush on the other hand "was so closely politically identified with the Christian right that overt talk of Christ from the White House risked alienating mainstream and secular voters. Bush instead quoted passages from scripture or Christian hymns, as he did in his 2003 State of the Union Address when he used the phrase 'wonder-working power.' That sort of oblique reference resonated deeply with evangelical Christians but sailed largely unnoticed past secular voters." 

I have no beef with presidents quoting Zoroaster or the Eighth Dynamic in their rhetoric. I draw the line when they imply reality can be made to conform to holy metaphor, as Obama did in pulling the Sermon on the Mount into his speech on the economy at Georgetown University.

Beyond the pre-modern thinking required to believe an economy can be built on solid rock, the metaphor just makes no sense. Tourism: sand or rock? How about financial services? What's rockier: microprocessor manufacturing or customer call centers? Building automobiles is obviously not rock. But what about real estate? It's real, it tends to hold its value and they ain't making any more of the stuff: that's gotta be rock, right? So if we build an economy on real estate that will never go kerblooey. Actually, maybe the metaphor works too well.