President Obama teared up when talking about gun violence the other day, and the pundits immediately started asking whether it was real or sincere. One feels some sympathy with those who thought he was faking it. After all, when James Foley was beheaded Obama offered a perfunctory expression of regret and went off to play golf, laughingly. Far too often, Obama’s expressions of emotion feel fake. Sorry to have to say it, but Obama has convinced the country that the one thing he cares about is Barack Obama.
Jeff Jacoby analyzes the phenomenon:
From the earliest days of his presidency, it was clear that Obama was deeply enamored of himself, and had no doubt that the rest of the planet was just as smitten. "I am well aware," he told the UN General Assembly, "of the expectations that accompany my presidency around the world." He gifted the queen of England with an iPod that included his own speeches. Obama's addiction to the first-person singular pronoun — "I," "me," "my" — has been remarked on by many; he has even referred to "my military" and the troops "fighting on my behalf."
Since it took his administration years to admit that the Fort Hood shooting had anything to do with terrorism, one is within one’s rights to question the president’s sincerity. We can say this without saying a word about the constant lies that Obama tells, whether about your ability keep your health care plan or his success in containing the JV team called ISIS.
Others, first among them Jon Stewart’s successor, Trevor Noah, were outraged that anyone would doubt the president’s sincerity. It is fair to say that, compared with a master propagandist like Stewart, Noah is thin gruel indeed. So, he needs to make an occasional fuss, and this time he fussed over the fact that some pundits on Fox News doubted the president’s sincerity.
One understands, at some level, why Obama would tear up over Sandy Hook. It is impossible not to feel some sadness about a madman gunning down so many students and teachers. And yet, would it not have been better if he had gotten angry, if he had shown an emotion that does not look like maudlin sentimentality.
Shouldn’t he and we feel anger at the fact that it has become impossible to commit people like Adam Lanza and James Holmes for involuntary psychiatric treatment? But that would require him to be angry with one of his core constituencies, the ACLU and we cannot have that.
So, Obama was really, really sad. But one suspects that he was saddest because it happened on his watch. He always seems to be saying: How could they do this to me?
This raises the salient question. Even if you believe that Obama’s tears were sincere, for what was Obama crying?
Was he crying because he had failed to get gun laws passed?
Was he crying because he knew that the new gun laws would not have stopped any of the mass shootings that have been punctuating his presidency?
Was he crying for the children who were slaughtered in Sandy Hook, CT or for the co-workers who were murdered in San Bernardino?
Or was he crying for all the victims of gun violence in America’s inner cities, the ones who were shot and killed in places like his former home of Chicago, the ones who were not killed by white police officers?
Allow me a different conjecture. Let’s grant, the better not to discomfit Trevor Noah, that Obama’s tears were real, sincere and genuine. But, let’s qualify that by saying that he was not crying for the children of Sandy Hook as much as he was crying for his own failed administration.
He might not know it. He might not be willing to admit it to himself. He might not even allow it into his dreams. But, somewhere, somehow Barack Obama must know that has failed and has failed miserably.
While he works himself up into a frenzy trying to find someone to blame, he must know that the fault is not in his stars but in himself.
We don’t know Obama’s heart but we are confident that the one thing he really, really cares about is Barack Obama. His speeches are filled with self-reference, to the point where the only thing they seem really to be about is Barack Obama.
Our president rode into office on a platform of hope and change. One might say that he rode in on a wing and a prayer. He was woefully unqualified for the job, had no idea what he was doing, but he believed in himself and in the ideals he had gleaned from Jeremiah Wright and Saul Alinsky. On the basis of no evidence at all he hoped that things would work out and that change would be for the better.
On both scores he has been wrong. Bad luck and bad Republicans… he must be thinking.
Obama believed that his soft power approach to world affairs would remove the greatest international irritant: the United States. He believed that he would eradicate poverty by redistributing wealth. He believed that he would save the inner city residents who supported him, no matter what. And he believed that once America overcame its racism, a new era of comity would arrive. People would live together in harmony and tranquility.
Well, how did all that work out? By now Barack Obama must know that the world is in far worse shape today than it was in early 2009. The Middle East and Europe are in states of near-permanent crisis. By signaling weakness and abrogating his responsibility to lead Obama has given the green light to Islamists around the world and has even managed to convince them that they are riding the strong horse.
Obama continues to tout his Iran nuclear deal, but every day brings news of new Iranian defiance, coupled with contempt for the United States. It turns out that Iran never even signed the deal.
One must assume that Obama knows that he has no idea what is going on in world affairs. The best he can do is to hope that things will change. Otherwise, his studied neglect has given major players in world politics license to take over and do as they please.
As for the economy, it has recovered, but the recovery has been anemic. The economy has created jobs, but the workforce participation rate remains depressed and job creation in minority communities continues to lag.
Minority precincts are still infested by crime, especially by gang violence. Life in those places has not improved under Barack Obama.
A president who promised to turn America into a multicultural paradise, who must have believed that he could foster good relations between the races has divided the country. Worse yet, conditions in America’s inner cities, the place where most of the gun violence takes place, and where nearly all of it is committed by members of minority groups have not gotten better. They appear to have gotten worse.
As for the Islamist terrorism in America, it is likely that Obama’s passionate rejection of anything that resembles profiling contributed to these incidents. If so, Obama will certainly not admit it to himself.
Obama is seriously upset by all of the mass shootings that have occurred on his watch. How, he seems to be saying, could these people, the Muslims and the minority group members, people he has defended, do this to him, make him look bad and make him look incompetent.
After all he’s done for them, they should have had the decency to await the next Republican administration before letting loose.