Obama’s presidency is already a failure, approximating the size of the Bailly Crater on the Moon. If the details of your high school study of astronomy elude you, that lunar hole in the dirt is about 26,000 square miles in size. The great theologian Jonathan Edwards believed that typology was embedded in the natural order of things, and not just in certain passages of the Old Testament. This is quite true — God gave us the Bailly Crater because He wanted us to have some grasp of how Keynesian economic theory works.
Speaking of craters, when thinking about the incredo-antics of the really lame duck Congress, one of the things that came to mind was Isaiah’s description of a time in Israel’s history when her leaders had been struck with a judicial blindness. There is no blindness like a ruler’s blindness.
“They err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean . . . Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves” (Is. 28: 7-8,14-15).
When rulers get into this kind of zone, they think they are immune from the judgments they are hauling down out of deep heaven because they think have made a no-fault agreement with those judgments. They think to negotiate life by making a covenant with death. They think that a refuge of lies will protect them from the truth. But when the truth arrives with its battering ram, it will become apparent that the strength of their fortress was yet another . . . lie. They have built the walls of their fortress out of tissue paper and warm water.
So the departing Congress was not the inspiration for Wordsworth’s intimations of immortality. No fears about anybody in Washington trailing clouds of glory any time soon.