The controversy over Orson Scott Card's opposition to gay marriage appears to have simmered down. Maybe it'll kick up again as the Ender's Game premiere closes in, but it shouldn't—Card's religious objection to gay marriage is shared by a substantial minority of Americans, and holding it against him is a little pat. The actual outrage over what's happening to gay Russians appears to have captured all the anger being directed Card's way.
That's good! The gay marriage foofarah was a distraction from Card's much more fascinating political paranoia. His last column on politics is a sort of masterpiece of that genre, starting with the grouping of "George W. Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq" among "politically useful lies," and continuing with a fantasy of how Barack Obama will stay in power forever.
Obama is, by character and preference, a dictator. He hates the very idea of compromise; he demonizes his critics and despises even his own toadies in the liberal press. He circumvented Congress as soon as he got into office by appointing "czars" who didn't need Senate approval. His own party hasn't passed a budget ever in the Senate.
In other words, Obama already acts as if the Constitution were just for show. Like Augustus, he pretends to govern within its framework, but in fact he treats it with contempt.
Here on Earth, Obama has actually signed off on a series of compromises that fell short of what he demanded—the health care law, the debt limit increases—and he's only the latest president to appoint a series of advisers who are termed "czars." Back on Planet Card, it's clear that Hillary Clinton will not be the Democrats' 2016 nominee.
Michelle Obama is going to be Barack's Lurleen Wallace. Remember how George Wallace got around Alabama's ban on governors serving two terms in a row? He ran his wife for the office. Everyone knew Wallace would actually be pulling the strings, even though they denied it. Michelle Obama will be Obama's designated "successor," and any Democrat who seriously opposes her will be destroyed in the media the way everyone who contested Obama's run for the Democratic nomination in 2008 was destroyed.
That's a fun theory that forgets the role that 50 states have in electing a president, and the lack of operational control the White House has over the voting systems of those states. How does he get around that? Card sees how. "Like Hitler and the Iranian dictators," Obama has announced his plan for a "powerful domestic army to terrify any opposition that might arise." According to Card, "Obama called for a 'national police force' in 2008, though he never gave a clue about why such a thing would be necessary."
This is a revealing bit of craziness, and one you occasionally hear from members of Congress. Obama never called for a "national police force." In a July 2008 speech he used the words "civilian national security force" to describe how he'd "expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots," "double the size of the Peace Corps," and "grow our foreign service." That was five years ago, and he actually failed to do it.
Not to be a snob about it, but anyone looking logically at the Obama record from then to now might notice that he hasn't actually created a civilian strike force answerable only to him. (How its budget would exist outside of congressional appropriations I do not know). Card doesn't explain why it hasn't happened, but he has a theory about how it will.
Where will he get his "national police"? The NaPo will be recruited from "young out-of-work urban men" and it will be hailed as a cure for the economic malaise of the inner cities.
In other words, Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama's enemies.
Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people "trying to escape" -- people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.
This thoughtful detour into racism is the apotheosis of the essay; after this it gets a little mired in incoherence, with multiple assurances that it's a "experiment in fictional thinking" but "sure sounds plausible." It's easy to think that factless obsessive theories about the Obama administration—which has plenty of problems!—are developed by and for stupid people. Card isn't stupid. He's a smart kook. I'd rather read his treatment of this Obama coup than watch the Ender's Game movie, but if he went there, the estate of George Lincoln Rockwell might sue him for infringement.
TODAY IN SLATE
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How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
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The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.