The Gospel Truth

The Cellophane President PART I | January 8, 2010

Last year my precocious six and a half-year old granddaughter asked me whom I thought was the worst president.  I don’t really know what prompted her to ask me that question but I admire her spirit of curiosity that is fueled by her IQ of 136.

I just hope the American school system does not squelch her ability to ask the important question “Why,” which I believe to be at the root of all learning.

I told her to be truthful I thought our new president was the worst I had ever experienced.  I proceeded to give her a few basic reasons for my choice.

I think he has handled the Bush mess as badly as anyone can imagine.  His fiscal and monetary policies threaten to send us into another Depression, similar to the one his idol Franklin Roosevelt extended in 1933.  His insane Heath Care bill threatens to bankrupt the country.

Candidate Obama promised us his administration would be run on honesty and transparency.  Now as we near the end of his 1st year in office, it is clear that this has not been the case.  I have written widely on his ideas and policies for the Mindszenty Foundation.  (All my articles can be accessed at

For a while I have been trying to capture the essence of his leadership ability or lack of since he tool office last January.  It is almost as elusive as trying to assess his character.  I have called him the Hawaiian Candidate, my allusion to Richard Condon’s book and the subsequent film adaptations of The Manchurian Candidate.

As much as I like the analogy, I don’t believe it goes far enough.  Perhaps President Obama is more like a character from the Bob Fosse play, Chicago.  I saw veteran actor, Joel Gray’s perfect rendition of his song, Mr. Cellophane Man on Broadway several years ago.

While Obama is hardly an invisible man–he gets more face time than the gecko in the insurance commercials— he does approximate the lyrics of the song about being unknown by most people who encounter him.  He seems to have no essence or what John Kerry called gravitas.

Sure we know he likes basketball, is a die-hard Pale Hose fan, is married to Michelle and they have two little girls.  They called him “Barry” in high school in Hawaii.

Like Clinton and George H. W. Bush, he’s a southpaw. (It took Albert Pujos’ catcher’s balk to spare him the painful embarassment of bouncing his 59′ curve ball in the All-Star dirt last July.)

We know that he lived in Chicago where he was a community organizer then he went to Harvard Law School where he was the president of their Law Review.

Even his supporters have to admit that this is a very brief resume for a world leader.  I seriously doubt that Sarah Palin was qualified to be president but her credential greatly outweighed those of our current president.

So what do we REALLY know about him?

What religion is he?  We know he studied Islam in Indonesia where he lived with his mother and stepfather during his early years.  He did attend Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Church in Chicago, which was ostensibly a Christian Church but since he has been president has he ever set foot in a similar church?

Stories abound that he is a closet Muslim. He is the first president who did not celebrate Christmas since people took notice of that kind of thing.  Now I read that he is pushing a 44-cent Muslim stamp. Others say that he had the Gitmo prisoners tried in a criminal court in NYC and not before a military tribunal because he did not want to send a fellow Muslim to the gallows.

Balderdash? Bunk?  Maybe–but I would really like to know what his religious beliefs are.  An honest president would tell us.  Wouldn’t he?

Look for Part II Early Next Week


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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