If I had to compare Barack Obama to literary characters, I would pick two: Forrest Gump and John Fitzgerald Adams, the protagonist in Charles McCarry's prescient and overlooked 1998 novel Lucky Bastard.
In Forrest Gump, the novel by Winston Groom that was made into a movie, the lead character is someone who simply receives his worldview early in life and never changes his mind about anything. He's is a geyser of learned cliches. In Lucky Bastard, John Fitzgerald Adams, the president (and illegitimate son of JFK), is recruited by Marxists and is an actual communist. Obama is a kind of Forrest Gump Marxist.
Early on in Lucky Bastard, author McCarry comes up with a crucial distinction: John Adams and those who recruit him are a very particular kind of communist. As McCarry writes of one of them, "he was not, however, a Marxist-Leninist. Peter did not believe that the revolution had happened yet. Or, to put it another way, he thought that it had happened in the wrong country at the wrong time."
These are people who believe, as many on the left still do, that "genuine communism has never been tried." And that the time and place that it will succeed is modern America.
Has anyone asked Obama directly if he thinks communism was a failure? The answer would be interesting from the man who is creating the Leviathan State to replace Christianity.
But Obama is erecting this new world in such a hackneyed and campus socialist- boilerplate way. What is ironic about Obama is that his revolutionary ideas and actions come from never challenging the assumptions of the people who raised him. Unlike every other teenager in America, Obama never rebelled.
Perhaps President Obama's autobiography, Dreams of My Father, offers some serious moments of crisis. I could be wrong. But the one thing I have been struck by is the absolute lack of conflict in Obama's life. To be sure, his father had personal problems. But aside from that, the president has lead a life in which he never seriously questioned his own beliefs.
He is raised in Indonesia and Hawaii, then goes to the mainland where he lands at Columbia and Harvard. There doesn't seem to have been any moment when he stumbled over his conviction in the goodness and rightness of liberalism. Like Forest Gump, he just kind of wandered through life unchanged. There's not moment of existential crisis like Whittaker Chambers in Witness, no inner turmoil like Saint Teresa of Avila, no intellectual self-examination like Ronald Reagan.
There is an episode when he is in grade school in Hawaii and some big dumb kid makes a crack about his skin being dark. The offender is quickly reprimanded by the rest of the class. But did this even happen, or was it manufactured, like so much else of Obama's biography?
Here is a telling passages from The Bridge, the Obama biography written by David Remnick: "Obama received a liberal education in the most rounded sense of the term. He was too young for the sixties; rather, his teachers were products of the period and brought new values and historical narratives to the classroom and lecture hall: the antiwar movement, civil rights, gay and women's liberation, ethnic diversity. These were not the struggles of Obama's youth; they were the givens, the environment."
Remnick can't see the humor in this. The future 44th president in fact has had the opposite of a well-rounded liberal education. A classical liberal education in the traditional sense strives to teach students to master the basics of rhetoric, Latin, science, classical literature and speech. It attempts to make students have a confrontation with something they haven't experienced before, all while aiding in the discovery of the eternal truth of things.
Barack Obama was forged in the new liberal curriculum: environmentalism, feminism, socialism and political correctness. He goes from the liberal teachers in Hawaii to the liberal professors at Columbia to the liberal professors at Harvard to liberal Chicago and then to Jeremiah Wright.
Like John "Jack" Adams in Lucky Bastard, he is at the right place at the right time and gains a position in which he can begin to affect the revolution. And like Gump, he's not about to have a moment of doubt. It's revolutionary idiocy.
In The Bridge, Remnick tries to portray Obama's biracial identity as something that caused agony, but the impression one gets is that while it caused slight discomfort, the main affect it had was a doorway to the left-wing activist groups in Chicago. Indeed, had Obama been half white and half Asian the path would probably have been much more difficult.
If The Bridge is an indication, Barack Obama's life has been nothing like a box of chocolates. You know exactly what you're going to get: one lucky bastard.