America was still reeling from the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. It was trying to get a handle on the ricin-filled letters sent to a Mississippi senator and to President Obama.
For President Obama it must have seemed just the right time to throw a tantrum over gun control legislation. Because that’s what he did yesterday.
There was no real chance that his latest foray on gun control was going to become law. Even if it had passed the Senate, it was not going to survive in the House.
Still, when the new bill went down on a procedural vote in the Senate yesterday, Obama flew into a rage. He immediately stepped before the microphones and declared that it was: “a pretty shameful day for America.”
Never one to miss an opportunity to politicize an issue, Obama denounced Republicans for playing politics.
In his words:
There are no coherent arguments as to why we didn’t do this; it came down to politics…. They caved to the pressure. And they started looking for an excuse—any excuse—to vote no.
At the least, we know that Obama does not like to lose. He is not gracious in defeat. He was saying that the war is not over. For him, the real battle will be fought at the ballot box in November, 2014. To his mind the Senate vote will let him tar Republicans as baby killers. The opportunity was too good to let go.
By throwing a tantrum, Obama was also showing that he took the defeat personally. Perhaps he was showing the world how deeply he felt about the issue, but he was also making a demagogic play for votes.
Like it or not, he considers it a winning issue. On that score his track record is very good.
Anyway, the Senate vote was not the only thing that was happening in the world yesterday. Great Britain and much of the world was transfixed by the funeral of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. It was an opportunity to show some respect and to act as a world leader.
The Obama administration chose to boycott the event. It did not miss the chance to insult the memory of Lady Thatcher.
As the world’s leaders congregated to mourn Lady Thatcher no member of the administration or even of the Democratic Party was in attendance. America was represented only by officials from the Reagan administration: George Schultz and James Baker.
It was not the first time that Obama embarrassed himself and the nation by snubbing Great Britain.
Why did Obama boycott the event? Because of politics. What else?
Apparently, Obama defines his role in terms of advancing his progressive agenda. Those who oppose that agenda, be they Senate Republicans or a conservative British Prime Minister are his enemies.
His job is not to unite, but to divide people on political and ideological lines. The Obama administration is all politics, all the time. No one should have been surprised.
Considering how well it has worked for him, he has no real reason to stop. Surely, the world took notice of the snub. Certainly, the British took notice. In Obama's America, even if nothing much had been going on, most Americans would not have noticed or cared.
Even for Obama, it was especially egregious. Great Britain is America’s staunchest ally. Margaret Thatcher was a stalwart defender of liberty. She was one of the greatest female political leaders of our time.
And yet, she was a conservative. She fought entrenched labor union interests. She was not a fan of big government. She stood shoulder to shoulder with Ronald Reagan in the Cold War against Soviet communism.
Apparently, that made her an unimportant figure. Yet, since the world entire knows how important Margaret Thatcher was, Obama's failure to honor her death will be read as the act of a petulant ideologue.
And then there was the United States Senate.
When Thatcher died, the House of Representatives voted unanimously for a resolution honoring her. Surely, it was the right thing to do.
When the resolution went to the Senate, Robert Menendez put a hold on it. By senate rules, that made it impossible for the Senate to vote for or against it.
Apparently, the language praising the Iron Lady was too conservative for the tastes of the senator from New Jersey.
One suspects that if the White House had made a phone call, it could have persuaded Menendez not to embarrass the country further. It did not.
Obama's way of politics may be divisive; it may even be disgraceful. Still, it’s been working.