There's a scene in the PBS Frontline documentary "Inside Obama's Presidency" that underscores why President Barack Obama's enemies consider him a magician.
Mr. Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, recalls how Phil Schiliro, then the White House's head of legislative affairs, told Mr. Obama that unless he was feeling "lucky," a key piece of legislation he desperately wanted couldn't be pushed through a recalcitrant Congress.
"And the president got up out of his chair and walked over to his desk and looked out the window and he said, 'Phil, where are we?' " Ms. Jarrett said, recalling the moment.
After Mr. Schiliro confirmed that they were in the Oval Office, and that the man questioning him and running the country was named Barack Obama, the president told him, "Well, of course I'm feeling lucky. Now get back to work and figure out how to get this passed."
On Monday, an African-American man with an Islamic name was sworn into office for the second time as the 44th president of the United States. Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office using Bibles that once belonged to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. With the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, there has never been a less likely occupant of the White House.
A decade ago, no one at the national level had even heard of Barack Hussein Obama. No one suspected he or anyone like him existed. It would have been the height of absurdity to suggest that after 9/11, anyone with an Islamic name and dark skin was within half a century of being elected president of the United States. Nate Silver would've had the odds against such a thing at 100 percent.
Conventional wisdom dictated anyone could be president but the biracial son of a white single mom and an absentee African intellectual. Mr. Obama wasn't part of the Democratic aristocracy like John Edwards or Hillary Clinton or even Joe Biden. Mainstream black politicians distrusted him because he hadn't come up through the civil rights movement like many of them had. Black pols were mostly Hillary loyalists until Iowa.
If you look at Mr. Obama's two presidential election wins through the unsentimental eye of probability, they are both impossible by the standards dictated under the musty rules of political science as practiced since ancient Greece.
One could argue that Mr. Obama's opponents have been unusually inept standard-bearers of a damaged political brand, but that never stopped flawed candidates from winning before. The minuses in Barack Obama's column worked against him as much as his Republican rivals' flaws worked for him.
The very unlikelihood of Mr. Obama's existence atop America's political world is what fuels the fear and loathing of the right wing. Because they're already prone to superstition, they see a genie-like figure taunting them from an office he wouldn't have a legitimate claim to under the old rules.
In response to Barack Obama's unlikely presidency, many right-wingers have allowed their imaginations to run wild. Instead of appreciating Mr. Obama's election as an example of the mad genius of the American electorate, many Republicans see sinister conspiracies afoot. They've erected a counterfactual fantasy as absurd as the prospect of Mr. Obama's election once seemed.
They see an illegal alien who was educated in Islamic schools in Asia, where he became a Muslim sleeper agent. After absorbing the principles of socialism from anti-colonial revolutionaries once allied with his Kenyan father, Mr. Obama immigrated to America, where he attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School on scholarships provided by Islamic jihadists.
Once Mr. Obama learned how to mimic the rhetoric of Christianity from shadowing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, he was able to infiltrate the inner circle of American power by hijacking the hapless "Democrat" party at the grass-roots level.
With a forged American identity, the Muslim sleeper agent then stole an Illinois Senate seat and two presidential elections with the help of ACORN and the New Black Panther Party.
Though "not too bright," the mediocre student who paid ghostwriters to write his bestselling books knows how to use a teleprompter to get minorities, college students and single white women to flock to his agenda. Mr. Obama's ultimate goal is to bankrupt the country and confiscate the guns of law-abiding Americans before putting the U.S. under United Nations control.
This is not a parody of conservative thinking. This is what many deluded people sincerely believe. From their perspective, this scenario is just as likely as the unlikely presidency of Barack Hussein Obama itself. In the New World Order, anything's possible.
Tony Norman: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1631. Twitter: @TonyNormanPG.