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Sometimes Barack Obama cracks me up.
That’s not easy to do for a wannabe tyrant with no respect for the Constitution, one who has systematically concealed every meaningful document about his personal history, one who has “fundamentally transformed America” into something much less than the shining city on a hill Ronald Reagan envisioned, one who personally directed his White House and Justice Department to run guns to Mexican drug cartels so they could be used to kill at least U.S. law enforcement agents and probably hundreds of U.S. and Mexican civilians.
But still, sometimes his audaciously prideful arrogance is just so overwhelming no other reaction would do besides a good belly-laugh.
That was my reaction to his answer to CBS interviewer Charlie Rose last week when asked to ruminate on the biggest mistake of his first term.
A normal American with compassion and humility might have answered any of the following ways:
- “My biggest regret is that my prescriptions for turning around the economy haven’t worked as quickly as I would have liked, leaving many Americans hurting financially.”
- “My biggest regret is that there are still millions of unemployed Americans despite the steps we have taken to get people back to work.”
- “My biggest regret is for the loss of American lives we’ve continued to experience in two foreign wars I inherited and some other military conflicts I have determined were necessary for the security of the United States.”
In fact, I could dream up at least a dozen answers like this that. And though they might not be sincere reflections of Obama’s attitudes, they would have been mature, politick answers, adult responses to a question any grown-up would see coming in a presidential election year, appropriate, statesmanlike quips that we have come to expect from seasoned politicians.
But Obama didn’t say anything like that.
Instead, he said what you might expect from a rookie politician facing defeat in his first bid for re-election to the Illinois Legislature or maybe even to some city council seat.
Obama explained that he has not been a good enough storyteller, putting policy achievements ahead of laying out a clear, compelling narrative for the American public.
“The mistake of my first term . . . was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right,” he said. “And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
What’s so hilarious about this answer is it’s Bart Simpson-like juvenile appeal: Imagine Bart up to his neck in some kind of mischief. He gets caught. The principal of his school asks him if he has any regrets. He responds, “Yeah, I wish I had a better story to tell. I wish I could talk my way out of this.”
This is the approach Obama chose.
What’s even more remarkable about his answer is that he’s actually usually a pretty good storyteller. This is his strength. This is how he got elected. He’s a master of the tall tale. He has somehow, almost inexplicably managed to persuade nearly half of the American people that his predecessor is still responsible for all the ills of the country after four years.
Telling fibs is what he does best.
Of course, he knows this as well as you and I know it – which is why he answered the way he did. He needs to give his loyal minions something to hold on to – the idea that Obama hasn’t really failed at all, he’s just a lousy salesman of his near-miraculous, superhuman achievements.
Personally, if I were Mitt Romney, I’d run a national contest on what the American people think Obama’s biggest mistake has been.
I’m willing to bet they don’t agree that it’s poor storytelling ability.