Prognosticating about Politicians: Will Your Politician Cheat on You? Spotlight: Barack Obama

I’m just going to lay my cards right on the table (pun intended). I was burned badly in the last election. I voted for Barack Obama and then watched him flush many of his campaign promises down the toilet. It occurred to me today that many people ask tarot readers about possible cheating in relationships — so why not construct a tarot spread focusing on politicians and campaign promises?

First, a disclaimer: I’m not advocating any particular politics here. I’m personally on the radical left side of the political spectrum, but too fed up at this moment to even follow the campaign particularly, and, anyway, I’ve found that despite a long history of radical leftist politics, I also have some strong sympathies with certain kinds of conservatives. I don’t believe in political parties and you’re not going to hear a straight party line from me, ever. This post is not about politics per se, but about how politicians operate in a campaign.

My political cheating spread consists of four cards in total: three cards in a row across the top, with the fourth card on the bottom. The cards are laid out as follows:

1. motivation: what is this politician’s reason for making promises? 

2. backbone: what is the basis for this politician’s staying power? 

3. temptation: what would cause this politician to stray?

4. bottom line: what is this politician’s overall level of true commitment to his or her promises? 

Let’s test my spread on the President.

1. motivation: reversed 10 of wands/5 of wands. I meant for this position to hold only one card, but two jumped out of the deck at me, so I won’t argue with them! These cards tell me that Obama views a campaign as a war of ideas. Making promises is part of the struggle, and he’s an intellectual fighter. He has a lot of ideas to carry around and he plans to use each and every one of them in this fight. [Sorry not to include the Ten of Wands image–I’m having some problems getting it to upload this time, for some reason.]

2. backbone: 4 of pentacles. This is a man who holds onto his money and doesn’t let it go. To use the language of Chicago politics, when he’s bought he believes you stay bought — otherwise you end up losing money. And I’m sorry to sound so cynical, but surely you know by now that all politicians have been bought and paid for by some powerful interests. I’m not accusing Obama of being any more corrupt than any other politicians — in fact, this card suggests that among thieves, he has some honor, even if it is based on pecuniary motives.

3. temptation: reversed 8 of Swords. Interesting. This card suggests the President will break his promises when he realizes that they have no real power over him, that like the woman on the Eight of Swords card, he has the ability to take off his blindfold and walk away — and when he feels

he needs to do so to get out of a corner. When would promises cease to bind a politician? Right after he or she has just won the election, that’s when. Obama won’t break his promises with an election coming up — now is the time when he will fight for his constituency. Later, once his power is assured, let’s just say he’ll be acutely aware of no longer being truly bound by those promises. That doesn’t mean he’ll break promises right away after the election. He may stand there like the woman on the Eight of Swords card and bide his time, but he will stand there in the full knowledge that breaking a promise is an option he can turn to if and when he needs it.

4. bottom line: Judgment. Oho! Maybe the President’s faith is more real than it sometimes appears to be. Looks to me like this is a politician who will turn to his religious faith and consider how he will be ultimately be judged when he makes a decision. However, that doesn’t mean he will necessarily keep his promises — it means he will approach his decisions from a long-term perspective and try to use statesmanlike wisdom (whatever he thinks that means). This card has strong positives and strong negatives when you apply it to the President or any other politician: on the plus side, it suggests he has real heart and real faith and will honestly try to do the right thing; on the negative side, it suggests that he believes that being right trumps anything and everything else, and that could lead to an intellectual arrogance that could make him think he should be allowed to do absolutely anything (like accepting the Nobel Peace Prize while sending troops to Afghanistan!). He may think that the usual rules, including promise-keeping, simply don’t apply to him in a given situation. He may think he has a god-given mandate.

Based on these cards alone, my overall assessment of Barack Obama is that he will approach the use of power with a strong heart and a strong sense of religious faith. Campaigning, on the other hand, is just part of the game to him. He has the capacity to honestly dedicate himself to what he believes is the good of the country, but he also has a blind spot and is at risk for becoming one of those arrogant politicians who believes that his good motives justify anything. He may believe the rules don’t apply to him. Will he cheat on his campaign promises? If he thinks he should, absolutely.

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