The president is not a moral figure in any idiom, any land, any culture, any subculture. I’m not talking about the liberal enlightenment that would make him want the country to take care of the poor and sick. I mean he has no Republican values either. He has no honor among thieves, no cosa nostra loyalty, no Southern code against cheating or lying, none of the openness of New York, rectitude of Boston, expressiveness and kindness of California, no evangelical family values, no Protestant work ethic. No Catholic moral seriousness, no sense of contrition or gratitude. No Jewish moral and intellectual precision, sense of history. He doesn’t care about the life of the mind OR the life of the senses. He is not mandarin, not committed to inquiry or justice, not hospitable. He is not proper. He is not a bon vivant who loves to eat, drink, laugh. There’s nothing he would die for....She goes on for a while longer. It is clear that she loathes the man, of course. Still, at least some of this criticism is warranted. It can't be that he has no values, but he does not seem to have many strong values. He loves winning, and he loves 'big, beautiful' things that are associated with himself. He would like America to be one of those things.
He has no sense of military valor, and is openly a coward about war. He would have sorely lacked the pagan beauty and capacity to fight required in ancient Greece. He doesn’t care about his wife or wives; he is a philanderer but he’s not a romantic hero with great love for women and sex.
That is a kind of patriotism, in that it implies a willingness to take on the country's problems in order to make her bigger (economically) and more beautiful (as he sees it). He will want to win at this project, but I'm not sure he cares exactly how he wins, or exactly what he wins -- for example, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up endorsing single-payer health care if he decides he can win that battle and thereby claim credit for having done something 'big' and 'beautiful.'
Or is that wrong? His administration has so far adhered much more strongly to conservative actions, the health debate aside, than his history or his language would suggest. Is that coming from him, or from the people he has chosen? Is there a core moral vision that he has hidden for some reason?