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This is a defense of President Barack Obama. He probably won’t think so.
You who bellow forth your disappointment in his presidency fail to understand a major fact of political life. Political disappointment is appropriate only when you had the right to expect better. And you were never given the right to expect better. Whenever Obama spoke, he was, in a way, reading us our Miranda rights. From his left-lunging agenda to his rogues’ gallery of lifelong associates, this president gave all of us full and fair warning. A child’s-eye view of foreign dictators coupled with arrogance enough to dwarf an Alp is not a happy quiniela.
A proverb tells us, “A nation gets the kind of government it deserves” – not exactly ringing or exciting, but thunderously true. Another proverb, this one Jewish, asks wisely, “What do you expect of a steer except beef?” You who voted for Obama knew he was young, didn’t you? And you knew he was utterly lacking in experience, unless your attention was deflected by the overwhelming hilarity of all the “old” jokes the TV comics were telling about John McCain. You knew Obama would have to learn a great deal, didn’t you? And didn’t you also realize we’d all be paying for that on-the-job learning?
Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch, who doesn’t merely claim “evenhandedness” but has actually sued both Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney, can be a good phrasemaker when need be, but he’s also a good word-chooser. And the word he’s chosen to describe the Obama presidency so far is “pathetic.”
A military dentist, during combat, had to pull a soldier’s tooth without Novocaine. “Don’t worry,” the medic said to the nervous GI, “I promise you, you won’t feel me pull the tooth.” Simultaneous to the pulling of the tooth with his right hand, he slapped the soldier’s face as hard as he could with his burly left hand. And, sure enough, the soldier did not feel the pulling of the tooth. Maybe we’re reeling so much from Obama’s “burly left hand” that we don’t feel the unanesthetized dentistry the world is presently performing upon us.
Let’s say the Obama charm worked on the American electorate to the tune of “100.” What score has that charisma earned against the rulers of Iran? We all know of the student who got a zero on a test and told the teacher, “I don’t think I deserve a zero on this test.” “I don’t either,” said the teacher, “but it’s the lowest grade I’m allowed to give.” The Iranian high command isn’t merely rejecting Obama’s “diplomacy.” They’re scorning it. That’s important. Meanwhile, Congress had set aside funds to sponsor nonviolent upheaval and overthrow of the Iranian regime and support to those who understand and crave democracy in Iran. You can’t dismiss such an endeavor as stupid sky-pie. Those Iranians came out by the millions and showed us who they were, this very year. Guess what? President Obama, continuing his attempt to appease the mullahs, canceled that program.
Can you imagine what that does to the pro-democracy – and unashamedly pro-American – elements inside Iran? It’s like survivors on a life raft in the ocean, who see a scout plane and yell and wave and pray – but the plane fails to see them and drones on out of sight. And has America’s willingness to “shake your hand if you unclench your fist” had any better results with North Korea? The naïveté of Barack Obama is manufacturing contempt for America like North Carolina manufactures cigarettes.
Where might we find an American diplomatic success? Newspapers in Poland and the Czech Republic are cussing us out for our “Yalta” encore in scrapping the missile shield, a concession to Russia for which we got zero in return. Pakistan, with its nuclear arsenal within grabbing distance of al-Qaida and the Taliban, is an elephant dangling over a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy. Wasn’t there supposed to be a success somewhere? Afghanistan? The Olympics, maybe? Honduras? Has this president ever uttered the word “Darfur”?
Russia was supposed to be the big redeeming victory. The Obama administration was going to “push the reset button” on U.S.–Russian relations, right? Well, Secretary of State Clinton went there. The real power in Russia, Vladimir Putin, turned his back and went to China. Madame Secretary did not come back defeated, deflated and empty-handed, however. While in Moscow, she dedicated a statue to the American poet Walt Whitman.
Obama is not the first president who has led us poorly. He’s merely the first who has led us so predictably poorly.
A final proverb, this one Greek, tells us, “If you want to see wolves, act like a sheep.”
The president’s report card reminds us of the hapless student who had to show his parents the dismal printout of four F’s and one D. His excuse was that he’d been spending all his time on one subject.
And that must have been “Advanced Apology.”