Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Shameful Day for America

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.


Mark said...

As a British Thatcherite I despise Obama for plenty, but not for this. Thatcher was the political and intellectual opposite to Obama. It would have been embarrassing all around for him to attend. The occasion was too heartfelt for the hypocrisies of protocol.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I would have considered it a gesture of respect from one ally to another. Besides, they could have sent Joe Biden or another representative of the admin.

Sam L. said...

"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."

Really angry about that, he was. Benghazi, And it's not like he tried to persuade anyone to vote for this; no, he demanded they vote for this. And more Dems voted against it than GOPs for it. His (theoretically) OWN side; those who'd be voted off the island in 2014 for voting for it.

Ann Althouse lists 8 things in
to which I commented, "#s 1-8 all reinforce the picture of Benghazi Barry as aloof, remote, and out-of-touch (really out of the common touch)."

Dennis said...


You beat me to it. Ann Althouse states it far better than most. It was 9 things.
One wonders whether Obama is trying to up his status as a "lame duck?" Just how many people does he think he can insult and expect them to help him accomplish anything?
Does anyone not think that Obama is a little ghoulish in his rush to exploit victims of any disaster for his political expediency? This while Obama cannot find a bit of passion for everyone else. Much of this is beneath the dignity of someone who is supposed to be a leader. I guess the operant word is leader which seems to be a term that Obama is not conversant.
If Obama keeps doing things like this he will be one of the most disliked presidents in the history of this country and democrats would do well to distance themselves.

Anonymous said...

Three reflections on all this:

First, Obama seems compelled to show the world that he is a small and petty man. It's compulsive. I don't know that he has control over it. I've heard from all my liberal friends how he is messianic, "The One," and all that. I've also heard them say that he "understands complexity." Whatever that means, he strikes me as being very simple and transparent. As I've said in these comments before, I don't sense that he's learned anything since college. He's a snobby law school professor.

Second, from the Obama quote Stuart referenced, I love it when Obama complains that "it came down to politics..." Isn't that his business? Isn't that what Washington, D.C. is... political theater? What Obama seems to not understand is that our constitutional system, with its check and balances, is designed to create compromise. Obama doesn't understand the concept of compromise. He may come off as cool, and swell, but he's one of the most notable all-or-nothing presidents we've ever had, as bad as Woodrow Wilson. And I thought liberals claimed a commanding understanding of "nuance." There is nothing nuanced with Obama.

Third, it is interesting that we continue to remark about things like "Even if it had passed the Senate..." What Obama is so upset about is that he cannot hold his caucus together. What he's really angry about (while saying "it came down to politics...") is that he wanted the bill to go to the House so he could blame it on House Republicans, his favorite storyline: how evil and out-of-touch the House Republicans are. That's not artful politics, thats rolling the dice on an already dicey issue.

Even in death, Obama cannot acknowledge the greatness of Margaret Thatcher. For all the Left's self-congratulatory talk about compassion, it's in death that you see the true mark of their character. Makes me think that Dinesh D'Souza had a point in his movie "2016." Obama seems to have a preternatural antipathy for Great Britain.