October 16, 2013
Obama in Wonderland
By Ed Lasky
Many people criticize President Obama for spending too much time campaigning, traveling or on the golf course. They are wrong. He spends too much time in a far more removed and unique place: Wonderland. Indeed, he seemingly lives in Wonderland.
The problem is that the rest of us live in the real world.
Over the last five years it has becoming increasingly clear that Barack Obama and his crew of handpicked officials see America and the rest of the world in ways at variance with reality.
We have heard President Obama say that ObamaCare would not add a dime to the deficit, people would be able to keep their doctors, premiums would not rise -- and in many cases would be cheaper than a cell phone bill -- all demonstrably false; the rollout of ObamaCare is not going great with some minor "glitches" due to the high demand, it is a train wreck and the demand, such as it is, has been pathetic.
Does he read newspapers or watch the news?
The recovery summer was upon us in 2010 -- except it wasn't; there were no "shovel ready jobs"; raising the debt ceiling does "promote profligacy" despite what Obama believes; there is a debt crisis-despite what Obama says on Letterman -- where his life in Wonderland was made clear by his inability to even give a round figure of the national debt; his "green energy" schemes have been a disaster for taxpayers -- and he still plows ahead, regardless of reality; indeed, "there are times when the Obama administration makes statements so disconnected from economic reality that you wonder if any White House official has talked with anyone in business."
Nowhere is it clearer that Obama lives in Wonderland as it is when it comes to relations with the Muslim world. A Washington Post columnist calls his views "myopic."
Delusional would be more honest.
The Director of National Intelligence declared the Muslim Brotherhood is "largely secular"; the tide of war was receding ; Benghazi was not caused by an obscure video; Barack Obama has touted Al Qaeda's demise 32 times since Benghazi (it was "decimated" and "on the run"; like Mark Twain, this is a death that has been "greatly exaggerated"; Al Qaeda is "on the run" alright -- all over Africa and the Middle East); a massacre in Kenya is considered by Obama's deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes as a sign Obama's policies are working; Obama's paean and love letter to Islam delivered in Cairo was pure fantasy replete with errors -- a modern Arabian Nights (there are not seven million Muslims in America; Muslims did not create the compass, master printing, pens, or our understanding of disease ; does this self-styled "student of history" just make this stuff up? (Yes he can!)
The Fort Hood massacre was not an act of "workplace violence". The killings were committed by a man who identified himself as a "Soldier of Allah" who was screaming "Allahu Akbar!" during his reign of terror, and who had fallen sway to radical Islamic preachers. Does that sound like a random act of going postal?
Yet Republicans are bomb throwers, who take hostages, threatening to shoot them in the head and strap bomb vests to their chests. Unreal.
Act of terrorism are not "man-made disasters." They are just wanton killing meant to terrorize entire groups of people.
When "inconvenient truths" are too overwhelming, he seemingly wishes them away. And apparently he hopes, no one will notice.
Barack Obama claimed that he never set a "red line" regarding Bashir Assad using chemical weapons in Syria; yet, this is a blatant lie -- in his own words he had set such a "red line." Only in Wonderland would he be given a pass.
This was far from the first time he has suffered one of his periodic bouts of amnesia (granted, a pandemic in Washington). Last year, he dismissed concerns about Iran carrying out attacks in America:
We don't see any evidence that they have those intentions or capabilities right now
Yet just a few months previously, Iran had planned to bomb a Washington restaurant in order to kill the Saudi Ambassador to America, according to Obama's own Department of Justice. Recall, he does live in Washington. Does Obama know what happens in his own city, within his own administration? It was on the front-page of the Washington Post. Does he live only in Wonderland?
When it comes to threats posed by Iran, Obama remains blissfully serene. Iran, through its proxies, has murdered more Americans than any single government since the Vietnam War (in Beirut, the Khobar Towers, and Iraq), and has been developing a nuclear weapons program for decades. Yet Obama said there was a basis for negotiations with Iran because its Supreme Leader had purportedly issues a fatwa against nuclear weapons. There is no evidence that such a fatwa exists -- and even if one did exist it could, under Islamic doctrine, be easily ignored or changed. Facts all point towards Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Wishful and magical thinking does not work-except in fairy tales.
But why let those nasty things known as facts into Wonderland? Facts are the enemy.
Jeff Bergner writes in The Weekly Standard, about the folly of Obama's foreign policy:
These failings of Obama policy are not minor miscalculations that need to be tweaked. They represent a flawed way of looking at the world. There are names for people who believe that incantations or the purity of intentions can change external facts. These policies are less in need of a foreign policy critique than of a medical diagnosis.
But why rely on fictions? They are easy. They don't spoil the fun.
The theme song of the Obama administration could be Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"; Happy Times are always "here again" at the White House. After all, Obama himself touted that they "never need an excuse for a good party." As our ambassador to Libya and three guards were being captured and slaughtered, he played cards with his "body man" Reggie Love.
President Obama has made numerous gaffes revealing an appalling lack of geographic knowledge. Of course, there was the well-known "57 states" gaffe, but there have been others. Iran is not a "tiny country" that poses no threat to America. And they don't speak Austrian in Austria (hint: Anschluss is a German word, as students of history know). Hawaii is not in Asia despite what Obama says (recall, Obama is from Hawaii and spent most of his childhood there); Arkansas is not closer to Kentucky than Illinois is (recall, Obama was the Senator from Illinois; he should know Illinois is adjacent to Kentucky and Arkansas is not). Obama may have promised to fundamentally transform America but moving around states may be beyond even his own sense of power.
And critics accused Ronald Reagan of having Alzheimer's.
The Supreme Court exists to overturn laws if they conflict with the Constitution, a basic fact that the former president of the Harvard Law Review does not apparently know. Or, as the Washington Post styles it, Obama has a "selective memory" of Supreme Court history. He, the Student of History, sure has been doing a lot of that selecting stuff.
But in Wonderland facts don't matter. Nothing matters but what the Red Queen declares.
Why does Obama live in Wonderland? How does he get away with it?
Partly, because he is the embodiment of liberalism. Those on the left ignore reality and evidence and hew to doctrine -- whatever the results may be (famine, poverty). The answer is always more government and more dependency.
But there is also Obama's biography to consider.
Barack Obama has not lived in the real world. He spent most of his life coddled in private schools. He never had a real job. True, he did work as a part-time lecturer at the University of Chicago but if one spends years in the Ivory Tower is that reality? Would Rapunzel be prepared for the Presidency? There is no legal work that has registered; no transcripts to scrutinize. The community organizing "gig" was a bust. He barely made a mark as a state senator and spent most of his time as a U. S. Senator running for the Presidency. There has never been a President with less real-world experience, and it shows. Irving Kristol quipped that a conservative is a "liberal mugged by reality." Of course, Obama has never really experienced much reality.
Clearly the media has shielded Americans from the truth -- and still does so for the most part. How else could somebody with so few qualifications for higher office win so many elections? There have been reports after report of the disastrous ObamaCare rollout yet, at a recent press conference, the media did not ask Obama a single question on this topic. Even if journalists would do their jobs, Obama selectively anoints those who will ask him questions. He is happy to tackle tough questions from talk show hosts regarding New Mexican chili and his favorite work-out music or chat with the "Pimp with the Limp."
He gaffed at his recent (and rare) press conference by admitting he was going to take questions only from a list of reports pre-selected by his handlers. There is a reason 60 Minutes has had unusual luck landing Obama as a guest -- they don't bother him with 'gotcha questions."
Reporters have all but abdicated any pretense of being professionals. Why put Obama on the spot as they often did with George Bush, starting when he was candidate Bush in 1999 when he was asked to name the leader of Pakistan?
The IRS scandal has all but vanished from the media; Benghazi -- where is that (don't ask Obama, he has a shaky grasp of geography)? Jeremiah Wright and his scathing anti-Americanism -- that quickly became off-limits. Where are questions to him about the trillion-dollar stimulus bust, the crony capitalism, the pathetic economy, the soaring use of food stamps (remember there is only a homeless crisis in America when the Presidents are Republicans) and abuse of the disability program? "Anyone, anyone" from Ferris Bueller's Day Off comes to mind.
He is setting all-time records when it comes to poverty and dependency. Usually when records are set (whether in business, entertainment, sports, science) journalists are aflutter. Not these days. But we live in unusual times.
There is a self-imposed gag rule among journalists when it comes to exposing Obama to any bad news or facts.
They are not alone.
Obama may be the most aloof President in modern times. People may give Nixon the nod but they are wrong. Nixon was socially aloof but he enjoyed discussing domestic and foreign policy with a range of advisers and experts. Obama is solitary by nature and, unlike Nixon, listens mostly to himself when it comes to making decisions. He ignores the advice of experts with far more experience (witness his flip-flop on Syria, for example).
He has an overdeveloped self-regard and lives in a bubble of his own supremacy.
Michelle Obama is on a crusade against "junk food"; perhaps, she should focus more on her husband's TV watching. Our pop-culture president is an avid consumer of "junk TV" shows, mostly sports. His closest (and maybe the only truly important) adviser, Valerie Jarrett, complained that Obama's interests are "sports, sports and more sports," but Obama also indulges in watching a lot of lesser fare such as Entourage and Boardwalk Empire. He seems to know a lot about what is happening on Jersey Shore and Real Housewives, while remaining blissfully unaware of what is going on in America, Cairo, Tehran -- and the rest of the real world, for that matter.
He listens to few advisers who are chosen not to challenge him with pesky facts but to idolize him (this from Roger Cohen, the Obama-supporting liberal New York Times columnist). Valerie Jarrett, his closest and most trusted advisor and family friend, guards him from meeting with "critics and complainers who might deflate his ego", according to author Ed Klein . Since he considers himself an expert in most areas he rarely bothers to listen to anyone.
Sycophancy might be a job qualifier in the Obama White House, but this kind of staffing creates a Wonderland around Barack Obama. By surrounding himself with courtiers, Peter Wehner writes, "whose jobs are to affirm his greatness and glory," they and Obama "live in a bubble."
One could call it a "bubble of his own supremacy."
The most relevant question raised about Obama in 2011 came not from a reporter or debate moderator but from former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. While discussing the unreality of Obama's claims and the foolishness of his policies asked: "what planet is he from"?
Wherever he is from we know where he lives.
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton hosted a Wonderland-themed party at the White House a few years ago (pictures here).
But why bother? Every day is Wonderland at the White House.