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Obama Is The Best Writer Since Caesar

From Fox News:

Obama ‘Most Powerful Writer Since Julius Caesar,’ Says NEA Chief

Et tu, Rocco?

Maybe President Obama will win the Nobel Prize for Literature, too, now that the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts has declared that "Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar."

Rocco Landesman rendered unto Obama that considerable compliment in a little-noticed speech to a group of art philanthropists in Brooklyn, N.Y., last week, praising the president as an "Optimist in Chief" who is developing "the most arts-supportive administration since Roosevelt."

Putting the president in the pantheon with such pencil-pushing powerhouses as the man who was, literally, the Czar of all Czars, Landesman said that since Obama "actually writes his own books," he’s the most powerful man to be a true writer in the 2,000 years since Caesar strode the narrow earth.

"That has to be good for American artists," he said.

But one man’s praise is another’s dagger, say presidential historians, who called the speech a "bizarre" and illiterate attempt to praise a political patron — and a big misfire for the NEA chief.

"Julius Caesar is historically the last person in the world that American presidents would want to be compared to," said historian Richard Brookhiser, who has written widely on the Founding Fathers. "He tried to subvert the republic — that’s why he was killed."

Though Caesar has been justly celebrated for his commentaries on Rome’s Gallic and Civil Wars, he has been cursed by democrats for centuries for his role in the systematic destruction of Rome’s republican government.

"Caesar … was certainly the symbol during the whole founding period of the despot, of the aspiring despot," said Brookhiser. "The Founders insulted each other by calling each other Caesar."

A spokesman for the NEA called the chairman’s comparison a "bit of an overstatement" — a "rhetorical flourish" that still scored an important point.

"I think the underlying point is a serious one, which is that we currently have a president who had an identity as an author, as a writer, before he had an identity as a president," said Jamie Bennett, the NEA’s director of communications

Though he mentioned Theodore Roosevelt, he left out quite a few presidential penmen:

Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs are canonized in the Library of America as a national treasure; Calvin Coolidge translated Dante’s Divine Comedy for his personal pleasure; Herbert Hoover wrote around 25 volumes before his death in 1964; Richard Nixon authored another eight volumes in his own hand; and many other presidents besides managed to publish before they perished.

Abraham Lincoln, whom Landesman called the greatest American author, never actually wrote a book, though he’s been the subject of thousands. Smith suggested a better comparison for the president might have been a writer and leader like Winston Churchill, who won the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature, or an American like Grant, rather than an assassinated Roman tyrant.

"There’s not a shortage of presidents who write books," said Smith. "Don’t muddy the waters by dragging Julius Caesar into this."

This is slightly old news. But it is hard to pass up, since Mr. Landesman so perfectly epitomizes the Obama administration.

Like so many of the bravos that Mr. Obama has brought to Washington,  Mr. Landesman is stupid — and smug about it.

Was Caesar a great writer? His second most famous line is "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres." (“All Gaul is divided into three parts.”) It’s not quite Shakespeare.

Still given that Caesar’s Commentaries are usually viewed by those who had to labor through them in second year Latin as being both boring and evil (the latter because they are such naked propaganda), maybe it’s a more apt comparison that the lunkhead Mr. Landesman realized.

But on the other hand, Caesar was the major proponent of a Purist style of writing Latin, which was called the Attic or ‘clean style,’ as against the flowery and convoluted oratorical style which his contemporaries like Cicero loved.

Indeed, Cicero famously said of Caesar’s writing in the Commentaries that it was: “nudi sunt, recti et venusti.” That is to say, “spare, direct and engaging.”

Nobody could possibly say that about Mr. Obama’s writings.

By the way, someone might have told Mr. Landesman (and also the Fox News reporter) that John Kennedy’s book, ‘Profiles In Courage,’ written while he was in the Senate, actually won a Pulitzer Prize.

Though there have been some disputes about whether it was largely ghostwritten.

But perhaps that would make the comparison even more apt.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, October 30th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Obama Is The Best Writer Since Caesar”

  1. ilzito guacamolito says:

    Shame on you, sir! Are you implying that Dear Leader didn’t pen his own tomes?

    • Steve says:

      Actually, I have no doubt that Mr. Obama did write his own two autobiographies.

      They sound just like him.

      And they are certainly nothing to brag about.

  2. TerryAnne says:

    Vini. Vidi. Virose.

  3. Grassy Knoll says:

    Obviously Obama deserves a Pulitzer. And like the Nobel Peace Prize it should be for a book he hasn’t actually written yet.

  4. beautyofreason says:

    “Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar…”

    “….the most arts supportive administration since Roosevelt…”

    “…the most powerful man to be a true writer in the 2,000 years since Caesar strode the narrow earth.”

    Yeah, it takes a special kind of ego to say that stuff – I would expect no less from an organization that uses American tax revenue to pay for porno “performance art” in San Francisco. As for Roosevelt’s support of the arts, I am very skeptical of government financing of any art – one such recipient, Jackson Pollock, was a drunkard known for pissing on fireplaces and completing large scale paintings of splatters. Not worth subsidizing in my opinion – no matter how much he has been glorified in standard art history surveys.

    Government financing of art these days is largely a way to fund elitists on the left who have their own social agendas that the taxpayer should not be forced to cover. Why should a country of 85% Christians give up a portion of their earnings to fund a photograph of a crucifix in urine, for instance? Shouldn’t people take responsibility (and cost) for their own value judgments?

    Still, NEA waste is a drop in the bucket compared to the massive expenditures of the federal government. Not even worth mentioning, really.

  5. proreason says:

    Bill Ayers must be thrilled. His work is being publicly recognized by a fellow revolutionary.

    And would it be racist of me to mention that Julias Caeser was the politician who overthrew the Roman Republic and created a fascist dictatorship Empire?

    But of course, we have to concede that both Caeser and Obamy are men of unique courage and bravery.

    Why, who else in history could have lasted as long as they did with the women they had to endure.

  6. MinnesotaRush says:

    “.. the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts has declared that “Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar.”

    I’m thinkin’ he meant to say .. “the most powerful LIAR ..”. Just sayin’, ya know.

  7. Liberals Demise says:

    “……and as American burns to the ground, Caesar Dingle’barry’ diddled with his fiddle.”

  8. Yarddog1 says:

    Every day I think I have heard or seen the most absurd thing in my life.

    Then, I awake to another day.

    I really think that mankind has gone completely mad.

  9. Reality Bytes says:

    I’m sorry but nobody does a better Julius Ceasar than Spanky from The Little Rascals.


    Hey it’s Friday – I’m just havin’ a little fun before the RBTini comes outtatha freezer.

  10. Chuckk says:

    Can there be any doubt why the government schools system is in such bad shape?

  11. canary says:

    Will the dozens of Obama’s writers share the reward. Really ticked me off
    when he described marines in Iraq (who’d just love 5 of their own) as young pimply faced skinny marines. Evidence Obama spits on our soldiers.

  12. joeblough says:

    Obama ‘Most Powerful Writer Since Julius Caesar,’ Says NEA Chief

    … and the NEA chief is the biggest butt-sucker since Caligula’s bathroom slave.


    By the way, impressive old Julius was the fellow that busted the Roman republic and brought on imperial rule of Rome.

    Its NOT what you call a happy comparison.

  13. TerryAnne says:

    Anyone else notice that this video is ranked one star? *laughing uncontrollably*

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