I wonder what would happen if nine people were murdered in a church and a Republican president jetted out to the West Coast for four days of fundraising and golf. Surely, the sensitivity police would have been brought out in force and locked down the nation’s airwaves, commenting on the callousness of the president and the Neanderthal nature of Republicans in general.
But Obama returned Sunday night from four fundraisers and two rounds of golf without hearing a peep of protest, his devotion to government having pre-certified him as a caring, sensitive type and rendered him immune to suggestions otherwise.
But the parties, the constant golf, the extravagant and frequent vacationing do take a toll. Because Obama does not understand that his presidency, like any other, is within a kind of petrie dish, and every seemingly insignificant mold that grows there is scrutinized by friends and enemies alike.
If Obama wonders why nobody in Congress cares what he thinks, why Iran doubles down on its insults as nuclear deal time approaches, or why the Chinese blithely arise strategically placed islands out of depths of the South China Sea, well part of the answer is the unseriousness with which everyone can see this president operates.
Obama, who the previous weekend had staged a “what the heck” party for 500 people to celebrate no particular occasion and who, during his California trip, offered a rare interview to a podcast titled “WTF,” has stripped the presidency of what was left of its dignity in the aftermath the fun-loving Democratic president who preceded him.
I was reminded of how the actions of a president can echo in unpredictable directions and with unanticipated force when I read last week about an interview former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren did with the Times of Israel. Oren said:
The bottom line is that the day that Obama didn’t act against the Syrians (for their use of chemical weapons in 2013, and thus failed) to maintain the Syrian “red line,” was the day that the debate (over whether Obama was serious about his military option on Iran) stopped here. Did you notice that? Just stopped. Dead. And everyone went quiet. An eerie quiet. Everyone understood at that point that that was not an option, that we’re on our own.
Obama didn’t understand that when he, as president – as opposed to community organizer – drew a “red line,” it meant something. And when he didn’t enforce, it meant something even greater.
I recalled then the story about how Ronald Reagan’s decision in 1981 to fire most of the illegally striking air traffic controllers reverberated far beyond our borders
Writes Peggy Noonan, Reagan’s biographer and former speechwriter.
Foreign governments, from friends and allies to adversaries and competitors, saw that the new president could make tough decisions, pay the price, and win the battle. The Soviets watched like everybody else. They observed how the new president handled a national-security challenge. They saw that his rhetorical toughness would be echoed in tough actions. They hadn’t known that until this point. They knew it now.
This is why Reagan’s secretary of state George Shultz said that the Patco decision was the most important foreign-policy decision Reagan ever made.
Everyone knew at the time that it was a domestic crisis. It wasn’t until years later that they came to appreciate that it was foreign-affairs victory.
People understood this new president was not to be messed with. Just as people understand they can mess with the current one all they like.
32 thoughts on “Obama’s Failure to Understand the Symbols of his Office”
Mr.”let me be clear” is a national disgrace.
we don’t have to wonder what they’d make of a Republican doing a similar thing: we know. they STILL play that clip of GW Bush on the golf course talking about Iraq and then saying “Now watch this drive.” that was supposed to prove how heartless and clueless Bush was.
Obama seems not to understand very much about being president. he acts like he was the Saul Alinsky Professor of Social Justice at Oberlin or something, not the president of the United States.
to me, Obama’s most revealing gaffe has always been “corpseman.” he mispronounced corpsman not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, in a written speech. that shows how absolutely ignorant of anything military he is.
I still can’t quite believe he was reelected.
Great job Keith putting your thumb and our hearts on Obama’s problem.
In other Obama news, Michelle cracked me up last week visiting a military base ***and their families*** to offer her support (and punch the taxpayer credit card). As a lifetime military dependent (my dependent’s i.d. card has never expired), an ACCOMPANIED tour in Northern Italy is NOT a HARDSHIP tour.
Of course, active duty military, OR their dependents, can’t BOO her. Probably why we never see the Obamas visit VA Hospitals ;)
Speaking of the VA, there’s been some chatter in recent days about how much WORSE things have gotten in the past year–and still, a year later, no one in the Department of Veterans Affairs has been involuntarily relieved of their services, and never mind losing a single red cent of taxpayer money. Guy Benson, I think, was writing something about it on Townhall.
Meanwhile, I’m hearing, via personal channels, whispers about a low-level contract employee–someone who was brought in as part of the accountability act that Congress passed last year–who may, ironically enough, soon be losing THEIR job. If so, they’d be losing their job before any of the GS types–who are the reason that contract even exists to begin with–lose theirs.
The sad thing is that I think he knows, but just does NOT care how he’s perceived. His minions in the WH tell him how great he is (we all went to school with a kid like that) and convince him he can do no wrong, and anyone who objects is simply racist. For the record, I don’t like Joey B., or the Hillbillies any better.
Obama told his advisers that he knew more about everything than they did — and promised to fundamentally transform this country.
As Obama petries on, America peters out.
During the first campaign, when MO was making the rounds on the talk show circuit, she would often castigate her husband – ‘He’s stinky in the morning’…or ‘He doesn’t pick up his dirty socks’. Always harping.
One thing sticks out in my memory. She said (paraphrasing) that he never could never make a decision – even about what to have for breakfast.
Of course, no one thought he had a chance at that point, so her comments fell on deaf ears.
I wish with all my heart that what MrK writes is not true, but it is.
Hey srdem, I choose to be inspired and how Gov Nikki Haley has handled the SC shooter/flag problem makes my eyes well with pride in our country !
I choose to be inspired :)
I agree. but have you read some of the nasty things the haters have been saying on twitter? the hostility of some of these people is just stunning. accusing her of faking her tears was one of the milder accusations.
what has happened to this country?
obama is what happened to this country, rulierose.
Smells like mean spirit.
Perhaps that may be a good point to discuss. But right now is ABSOLUTELY the wrong time to be discussing it.
The Civil War has been over for a century and a half, so it’s not like this discussion has not been had, perhaps many times, over the years.
And yet, only NOW, in the heat of public anguish and grief, are we supposed to act on, and settle, a decades-old debate?
Why now? If this is so self-evidently the right thing to do, would it not be JUST as self-evident once public passions have had time to cool?
Has ANY proposal in American history, passed during a period of raging public passions on the subject, EVER been a long-term benefit to the country?
To me, this isn’t a serious proposal: it is an Emmanuelian crisis that must not be wasted.
As for myself, I am disappointed in Governor Haley. I would have thought she would have been smart enough to see right through this awfully convenient crisis. I was wrong, apparently.
Has ANY proposal in American history, passed during a period of raging public passions on the subject, EVER been a long-term benefit to the country
Maybe the Emancipation Proc? But you make a good pt.
Comparisons to the failures/mistakes of others does not justify your personal wrongdoing.
A lesson the far left and the White House syncophants have yet to learn.
Just when the fine people of Charleston couldn’t think it would get any worse…Barry & Joe will be coming to town to deliver the eulogy at the AME church Friday. The ultimate carpetbaggers invade the town.
I’m really sorry that people are offended by the stars and bars flag of the Confederacy. There are a lot of things that offend me, but I don’t throw a public tantrum over them.
BTW, many of us in the deep south recognize Confederate Memorial Day and fly our Confederate flags to honor those fallen in the war of northern aggression. If I’ve offended anyone, too bad. It’s a southern tradition and I won’t give it up, just as the city I live in won’t remove the memorial to the Confederate soldiers who died in the war to appease a small minority. If you don’t live in South Carolina, or any other southern state, you just don’t understand. It’s that simple.
I grieve for the dead and wounded in Charleston. My husband and I were in that beautiful city just the day before the horrendous slaughter.
They do say the Civil War had the most American casualties of any–bec they count both sides. American! Get that part?
Lindy, thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I am really sick of the Yankee population villafying us southererns and Our flag! The flag didn’t pull that trigger. It is time then after 150 years for the Black community to quit being victims and lose the hyphenization of who they are.
I feel he is trying to turn us into programed robots. Think as he does and or says.
He ignores things that need to be done, and gets off bringing back the past.
You are describing a Narcissict who has never been Accountable for anything. There has been a fraud conveyed upon the U.S. Citizens and that fraud has been allows to exists because of the media (present company excluded).
We don’t know his college transcripts or grades? Why? Because he was a failure who did not show up to class and was given a social grade is a plausible theory. The Presidency is his first real job and he is a miserable failure. He is petty and will cut you down at the knees at a hint of criticism. In fact, there would be a lot of heads rolling around the WH lawn that would give the Easter Bunny vertigo if he could use a guillotine like the French did..
I guess the French is feeling better now that Obama snubbed Charleston as equally well as Paris. Who represented the WH in Charleston? No one…….
Who needs to be punished for the Fundraising this weekend ? The Democrats, Jeffrey Katzenburg and Steven Spielberg is who should be made to pay. They are the ones who did not reschedule the fundraising.
The morning of the shooting I turned to my wife and said I bet he plays golf this weekend. She is a smart woman and refused the bet. We are both still in shock at how he could make that announcement and get on a plane to raise money and golf on a golf course in a drought area with his pot smoking high school buddies on a Fathers Day weekend while his wife is touring Italy with her Entourage of Friends and Family. I believe that run on sentence says it all……..
His days are winding down. We’ll be back in the business of being America soon enough.
Brilliant piece, Keith.
“The March of Folly” continues.
Barbara W. Tuchman
And yet, Congress keeps giving him what he wants. There is no one to stop this feckless and careless madman.
they are afraid to be called racist
I always found it very revealing of how the rest of the world viewed Reagan and Carter when Iran released the hostages immediately after the inauguration.
With all the talk about O being a community organizer, I have yet to see one person interviewed on TV who said that he/she was in a community where O was active. Wonder why? Also wonder why media are not digging into this story.
AS LONG AS VALLERY JARRETTTTTT CAN WHISPER HOW GREAT HE IS IN BOTH EARS HE WILL FOLLOW HER STRING PULLING….
I MUST SAY ONE THING ABOUT HIM ; HE HAS A ENDLESS GIFT….
OF BULL / S AND LIES 3RD ONLY TO SMILES OF DISTAIN…
CANT WAIT FOR JNURARY OF 2017
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I think African Americans especially should be incensed at his response to this tragedy
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