The putative President reached another dubious milestone today. The Mayor of Trenton, NJ unveiled a bronze bust of Barack Obama. For the first time, lower government officials have honored a sitting President with a portrait bust. The Obama bust sets a thoroughly bad precedent.
The Obama bust and how it came to be
Bronze bust of Barack Obama in Trenton, NJ. Photo: The Times (Trenton)
Mayor Tony Mack of Trenton, NJ commissioned the Obama bust last week. According to this account, he prevailed on the city to pay $1000 for the plinth. The rest came from gifts that may, or may not, have been truly of the free will of the givers. Eight people made anonymous gifts for the Obama bust, for a total of $4700. Four of them later told Trenton City Council President Phyllis Holly-Ward that
they [gave], but felt they had to.
Ms. Holly-Ward has another problem with Mayor Mack. A federal grand jury indicted him on corruption charges last week. Today she said:
I see this as a desperate attempt, and a sad one, for the mayor to redeem himself after the indictment.
Bad precedent and worse symbolism
“The Eagle,” a resident of Wall Township, New Jersey, called CNAV to shout his outrage:
Herr Hitler had a bust. Comrade Stalin had a bust. Chairman Mao had a bust. And now we have a bust of Obama?
Historical bust of Julius Caesar. Photo: Andrew Bossi, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License
Actually, the bust looks very much like the bust of Julius Caesar that divers found in the Rhône River in France four years ago. It dates back to 46 BC and hence to Caesar’s Dictatorship.
More troubling still, the accolades that The Times of Trenton quoted people as giving the Obama bust sound much like the accolades that Dictator Caesar got while he lived.
No President has ever had anyone commission a public portrait bust of him while he still sat in office. (The Danbury Mint produced its own Obama bust for commercial sale. They seem to have stopped making their Obama bust; when, they won’t say.)
See also at examiner.com.