Barack Obama’s Legacy: A Presidency We Understood All Too Well

Now that President Obama’s policies have proven to be a massive failure in every sense of the word, the liberal spin machine has been kicked into overdrive.  But because liberalism can never be the problem, the latest Leftist apologetic holds that the real cause of the President’s unpopularity and ineffectualness is that the President is too far above the political fray, too analytical, and frankly too good-natured to engage in the political pugilism necessary to get anything done in Washington.  We simply do not deserve a man as good as he, neither is our system designed to accommodate one.  By way of example, Richard Cohen, writing for the Washington Post, notes that President Obama has a “loathing for the pornography of politics,” and New York Times editorialist Maureen Dowd complains that “Obama’s assumption that you can rise above ascribing villainous motives… caused him to waste huge chunks of his first term seeking bipartisanship from Republicans who were playing him for a dupe.” See, the policies are not the problem.  The problem is that evil Republicans are taking advantage of our innocent, selfless, beneficent President.

What nonsense.  Barack Obama seeking bipartisanship?  Rising above “villainous motives”?  Please.  It’s one thing to rewrite history, but at least let the ink dry first.

After all, it was not that long ago that this President, who apparently loathes the ugliness of politics, said of Republicans: “They bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”  He told his followers to approach their neighbors and “argue with them and get in their faces.” His administration applauded and encouraged the union rioting in Wisconsin. Rather than try to pacify public anger, he said “I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”  Speaking about Republican ideas for fixing the economy, he said “I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.” Instead, he dismissively told Republicans if they want to come along for the ride, they had to ride in the back seat.  Then he told a group of Latino supporters that Republicans are “our enemies” and exhorted his followers to “punish” them.  And in the days leading up to the 2010 elections, he told supporters that a Republican victory would mean “hand to hand combat.”

If by saying that Obama is “above the fray” one means that he’s arrogant and solipsistic, then yes, that would be right.  But to suggest that he is somehow incapable of the baser tactics and instincts of the average politician is plainly ludicrous.  He is the personification of everything that is wrong in politics.  He has shown himself to be a belligerent and dismissive partisan, one whose narcissism works overtime to hide deep-seated resentments and insecurities.  For years the Left has tried to convince us that he is an entirely cerebral creature, his motives unimpeachable, and his capacity to reason unparalleled.  In truth, he is little more than a cheap Chicago-style rabble-rouser.

Perhaps his biggest problem is that he has bought into the myth of his own infallibility.  Since he can never blame himself or his policies, he instead blames us for not understanding him.  When public backlash followed his indefensible statement that Israel should return to its 1967 borders, he took to a podium just a few days later to say that we misunderstood his remarks and blamed the press, but refused to take back anything he had said or offer any convincing clarification.  Regarding the building of a Mosque near the World Trade Center site, he told a gathering of applauding Muslims that he believes Muslims have the right “to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan.” But when polls demonstrated that most Americans opposed the project, he scolded the rest of us for misinterpreting his applause line, saying, “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there.” In that same vein, he said the reason Obamacare is so unpopular is not because most Americans are seeing their insurance premiums rise, but rather because of his failure to explain more clearly to us how great that is! In other words, if only we understood what he understands, if only we were capable of thinking on his level, if only we possessed a similar capacity to reason, then we would not be so misguided.  In Obama’s mind, since he is unerring, and his policies unquestionably righteous, there can be no room for reasonable people to disagree.

And this is so typical of a liberal: when you can’t win a dispute, declare the issue to be beyond dispute.

He believes that if he has made any mistake, it was assuming that if he focused on policy decisions, the American people would understand the reasoning behind them.  “That I do think is a mistake of mine,” Obama said. “I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on… if we’re making a good rational decision here, then people will get it.”  So if the President is to blame for anything, it is only that he overestimated our capacity to be rational.  He thought he could talk to us like adults, when really, we need everything explained to us like children, perhaps with finger puppets and illustrations, and even then we won’t get it, so why don’t we all just shut up and get out of his way, since obviously we’ll never understand.

But the problem this President has is not that we don’t understand.  It’s that we understand all too well.

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