April 29, 2014
The 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' President
By Ed Lasky
Presidents have been known for slogans that came to symbolize their agendas. There were the New Deal, Great Society, and New Frontier presidents. There was the president who spoke softly but carried a big stick.
Then there is the president who should be known from now on as the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” president: Barack Obama.
Very few of our presidents have ever been truly prepared to handle the rigors of the presidency, but most of them have risen to the challenge. The time period for Obama to do so expired long ago. His leadership has been consistently and willfully obtuse and oblivious to the duties and responsibilities of the presidency.
He has routinely dismissed massive problems and threats to Americans as being trivial -- beneath his God-like goal to halt the rise of the oceans. Instead, he has portrayed his stewardship as being exemplary -- one of the top four presidencies in history -- and conveyed in various ways we should not worry and be happy, if not be thankful to have him.
If ignorance is bliss, Barack Obama is one of the most blissful leaders in our nation’s history.
When David Letterman once asked Obama about the rapidly growing national debt Obama didn’t have the faintest clue regarding its size (Romney would have known to the penny). His budgets are not only repeatedly late but larded with even more spending, heedless of dire debt warnings from the Congressional Budget Office.
In the throes of the recession with many millions unemployed and businesses failing across America, he said private businesses were doing just fine (the only problem were there were too few government workers). But weren’t the trillion dollar stimulus boondoggle and those multitude of green schemes peddled by Democratic cronies supposed to create millions of jobs and lower the unemployment rate? One more promise down the drain, but it sure was grist for laughter when Obama later joked that it turns out there were no such things as “shovel-ready jobs.” Real people with real jobs will be paying for this disaster for decades.
Don’t worry, be Happy.
But will future taxpayers be so happy?
How did Obama address the IRS scandal? At first, outrage suitable to the public mood. But as the stonewalling continued and the media served its block and tackle role for him, he dismissed its importance and declared there was not even a “smidgen of corruption” involved in that scandal -- even before the investigation was complete /.
Move on, the debate is over, be happy.
His signature achievement, ObamaCare (how Democrats refer to the Affordable Care Act depends on the audience), was “working the way it should,” Obama boasted and claims that it is hurting people have been “completely debunked.”
President Obama certainly seemed in fine fettle when he declared the debate is over when final (and very suspect) initial enrollment numbers were released. Those people who have lost their insurance, doctors, preferred hospitals, cheaper premiums, and jobs might beg to differ (even though they are all liars, according to Senate Majority Leader (dirty) Harry Reid).
But Obama seems not to be worry and is happy since the program in his mind is working as it should, leading America towards nationalized health care.
Obama confidently and blithely declared America can absorb another terror attack (tell that to the victims and their families). This perspective is part and parcel of downplaying all violence committed by Islamic extremists -- hence the Fort Hood Massacre was an act of “workplace violence” despite the perpetrator screaming “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered Americans serving their country. Lest we forget at a press conference shortly thereafter Obama issued cheerful shout-outs to friendly journalists before deigning to mention the Texas tragedy. Benghazi was blamed on a video critical of Islam not on the terrorists themselves. While the attack was occurring, Obama took a break from the rigors of responsibility to rest up for his mega-donor fundraiser in Las Vegas the next day.
Obama has touted Al Qaeda’s demise at least 32 times and it is not on the path to defeat (it controls more territory than ever before). Yes, Osama Bin Laden is dead -- and Obama played cards with his body man, Reggie Love (how does one get a body man?) while our soldiers were risking their lives to bring him down.
Why worry? Be happy.
Iran is dismissed as a tiny country that poses no threat to America -- did our geographically challenged president (57 states, Hawaii is not in Asia, they don’t speak “Austrian” in Austria) ever look at a map? Did the self-declared student of history not comprehend all the Americans killed by Iran and its proxies (Beirut barracks bombing, Khobar Towers, Iraq)? He also said that Iran was not seeking to carry out terror attacks in America -- despite the plot to kill the Saudi and Israeli Ambassadors in Washington, D.C. that was widely covered in the news and had been uncovered just a few weeks before . True, he routinely skips daily economic, national security, and Cabinet meetings but even his close friend Eric Holder knew this was an Iranian assassination plot.
Obama’s television addiction has been widely commented upon but his fare runs to fluff such as Mad Men, SportsCenter, Real Housewives, Jersey Shore, tons of HBO, and not, say, the actual news (to the extent he takes his news, it is “fake news” with a liberal slant via The Daily Show, where, White House spokesman Jay Carney recently informed us, he had his toughest interview.) He is glued to the Boob Tube -- video Chooming. Wallowing in popular culture certainly beats dealing with crises and being entertained pleases Obama -- he even feels entitled for advance copies of hit shows.
His insular presidency (he doesn’t like people) is shielded from bad news by ego-protector Valerie Jarrett who buffers him from “critics and complainers who might deflate his ego” with bad news or reports of problems that might actually require him to work -- he has a problem with his work ethic, after all. It is far better for his mood to surround himself with a Team of Idolizers, as even the New York Times liberal columnist Roger Cohen notes has been done .
Don’t worry, be happy.
Russian invades Crimea (violating a twenty-year treaty) -- or as the White House politely describes it “uncontested arrival” (Roget’s Thesaurus must be the most useful book for the administration, so addicted to euphemisms -- too bad George Orwell missed this opportunity).
What does Barack Obama do in response? Emits some pabulum fed to him by his handlers and then moves on to a Democratic Party fundraiser where he declares before a cheering crowd, “Well, it’s Friday, it’s after 5:00. So this is officially happy hour with the Democratic Party” .
After all, Obama told a crowd, ”We never need an excuse for a good party” and and they certainly throw a lot of them-especially private musical concerts in the East Room. Imagine the blowout party when Iran detonates its first nuclear weapon.
Don’t worry, be happy!
Who is worrying? Ukrainians and people throughout Europe and the world who fear the run of the dictators has a long way to go. Who is happy? Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama, and that party of cheering democrats.
Well, why should Obama worry? After all, Obama tells us that Russia is a “regional power” and its successful invasion of the Ukraine was “acting out of weakness,” and Ukraine is “not some Cold War chessboard” because the Cold War has been over for decades. When fighting erupted in the Ukraine, Obama immediately called the…coaches of the University of Connecticut basketball team to congratulate them on their championship.
Obama is still sticking with his wrong claim that Russia is not our number one geopolitical foe because to admit otherwise would be to confess that Obama was wrong and Romney was right, Barack Obama does not accept responsibility for mistakes so he routinely dismisses or downplays them. He ignores reality and lives in a personal, palatial Wonderland. He is happier there.
Not sure Vlad the Impaler or his victims would view it in the same way. By dismissing the threat, he absolves himself of responsibility. Even when he was compelled to draft some sanctions on Russia they were all but toothless and he went about the rest of his day being…happy.
Meanwhile, Russia violated the nuclear arms control treaty America had with it and the White House smothered the news and remained silent (if a tree falls in the forest…), while accelerating the hollowing out of our own military and speeding up the de-commissioning of our own nuclear weapons.
Obama has broken many promises to Americans but kept one promise -- to Putin: he would be flexible if he won reelection. Indeed, Barack Obama has shown the spineless flexibility of Gumby and our enemies have taken note.
The poker-playing President does not even try to bluff anymore (what red lines in Syria?). Geopolitical strategy 101 preaches the value of strategic ambiguity -- keep the other side guessing. Our foes don’t need to calculate Obama’s response to provocative actions on their part -- he gives them advance notice that military help for the beleaguered Ukrainians is not in the offing (he will send them snacks they can eat as they watch their nation, whose independence we had guaranteed, be dismembered); any sanctions will be weak and not a “threat or meant in a personal way” (via Obama’s proxy, John Kerry); “send the troops” has been replaced by send the tweets, and Obama even there is being punked by Putin.
After all, it is in Obama’s interest to ignore treaty violations by our adversaries-just as he ignores Iran’s nuclear program, the breaking of our immigration laws, IRS scandals, Fast and Furious, the burgeoning entitlement crisis and myriad other problems on the horizon. If he acknowledged them he would have to work and work does not make him a happy camper.
How does Obama get away with all this feel good palaver? His most fervent supporters, millenials, get their news from Facebook and other social media. Tweets are the length of the attention span of many of them. And many of those tweets come from the White House and Obama’s own Organize for Action. Fox News is denigrated constantly.
While their fathers might have relied on Huntley and Brinkley, Reasoner, and, before them, Edgar Murrow and Eric Sevareid, they now get their news from comedians such as Stewart, Colbert, and Letterman. With the former, there was an obligation to report the news as faithfully as possible -- that was the standard anyway. But with our modern-day newscasters/comedians, the obligation seems to be to mock Republicans, get laughs and ratings and display proper servility to Democrats. The vast wasteland has arrived.
The traditional media has been (willingly) coopted. Most journalists are liberal and give the vast majority of their political donations to Democrats. Recently, the media has been in overdrive to hype the good news about ObamaCare while burying the bad news
-copying the Obama playbook.
And this servile behavior by the media suits Obama’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” approach to the presidency.
Why work? After all, he seemingly has no problem creating a nation of loafers and he most assuredly knows the appeal of such a life, as opposed to, say, working.
Far more enjoyable to play golf, live it up in the lap of luxury, fulfill the dream of every adolescent sports fan to tee off and play hoops with legends, be serenaded by music stars. Even the funeral of Nelson Mandela’s became an opportunity to smile and yuck it up for yet another selfie. This is a president who completely lacks self-awareness and respect for solemn occasions and the office of the presidency.
When the chickens come home to roost, as his moral compass Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior might put it, he will be long gone from the White House and they will be someone else’s problem -- as well as the problem of every American.
Famed literary agent Andrew Wylie has said that Obama’s memoirs could command $20 million and Michelle’s memoir (reportedly she is at work on it now) could ring the bell at $12 million. Round it up with speaking fees, board memberships, sweetheart investment deals, and the like and one can wonder why he just can’t build his own presidential library and not saddle Illinois taxpayers with the due bill.
No wonder Obama could tout that he is not worried about the future of their daughters who are on the path of success: “they’re on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful.” Nice to know at least they will be happy as Americans struggle to pay off the record debt and deficits racked up during the Obama era.
Come to think of it, why shouldn’t Barack Obama be happy? He has succeeded in his goal of fundamentally transforming America. And the rest of America will be left cleaning up the mess from his party.