Can Obama change?

Listening to President Obama speak on election night, I thought of the moment in “The Lion King” when Scar took over Pride Rock. My sentiment for America was perfectly captured by the accompanying song, “Be Prepared.”

Be prepared, America, for another $5 trillion dollars in debt. That means America would be over $20 trillion in debt, one half of it added by one man, Barack Obama.

Be prepared for higher taxes on those who are pulling the wagon, and more benefits for those who are sitting in the wagon.

Be prepared for further restrictions on hydraulic fracturing and oil drilling in America, even as President Obama promotes and subsidizes oil drilling in developing nations.

Be prepared for transfers of wealth away from America and to the rest of the world.

This is what we as a country have voted for.

Be prepared, also, for the further diminution of American power and influence in the world. This involves our allies falling, one by one, in the Middle East, while the radical Muslims consolidate their power in Iran, Egypt and elsewhere.

Ultimately just as Reagan was largely responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union, President Obama may be credited by history for helping to restore Islam as a global power, which it has not been for three centuries. By 2016 America could cease to be the world’s sole superpower, and have become rather a weak giant, a kind of second Canada. This, too, we have risked by giving President Obama a second term.

These predictions are not conjecture but rather projections out from what President Obama has been doing in his first term. As he suggested to Russia’s then-president Medvedev, Mr. Obama now has more flexibility to make the concessions and pursue the objectives that he really wants. He is, at least in foreign policy, untethered to public opinion, and answerable only to his own conscience.

For me, this is a scary prospect. I can see America in 2016 as a poorer, weaker nation, and this would make Americans frustrated and angry.

But why should President Obama care?

He would, as he cleared out his desk, feel the profound satisfaction of a man who had single-handedly rearranged the political and economic map of the world. He would have helped redistribute wealth and power globally, and thus restored the world as it was before colonialism. His reward would be that still, small voice inside his head telling him, “Well done thou true and faithful servant.”

Consequently you can imagine the amusement with which I watched pundits, including Democratic pundits like Lanny Davis, counsel President Obama to be like President Clinton in his second term. Sure, Mr. Clinton pivoted to the center, recognizing that he was governing a closely divided country. Clinton, however, was committed to American prosperity and American greatness; Obama isn’t. Clinton also wanted to be liked by his people, the American people. For Obama, to borrow a quotation from his mother, “These are not my people.” Obama’s commitments are global.

So I don’t expect Obama to change. I have argued in my book “Obama’s America,” and implied in my film “2016,” that he cannot change. He is like the toy soldier who walks into the wall and keeps going. That is the only Obama we can realistically expect for the next four years.

And yet.

I watched Obama closely on election night, recognizing the familiar hubris and bravado, I thought to myself: how brilliant he is, how he strides across America like a colossus, how he may have assembled a new and enduring majority, how this is his America now, how this man whose story is possible only in America has now twice been entrusted by America with the highest office in the land.

Isn’t that enough to make a man want to defend and advance the interest of his country? Isn’t it sufficient to make Obama seek to protect the economic welfare of his fellow citizens over that of the citizens of other countries? Ideology may not compel Obama to move in these directions, but his own self-image might. Obama has been raised on high by the American people, who are looking to him to lead them not down the hill but onward and upward, to greater and higher things.

How incredible it would be if Obama responded to this great trust by proving himself worthy of it. That would truly make him one of America’s great presidents. He would even, in this way, be helping the world, because a strong, thriving America is good for the security and prosperity of the world. Maybe this very smart man can rise above his past and figure that out.