Monday, September 9, 2013

The Mind of Obama

Yesterday on Meet the Press Newt Gingrich explained why President Obama’s Syria policy is intellectually incoherent.

You cannot lead without communicating, Gingrich said. And you cannot communicate effectively if your policy contradicts itself:

If the strategy is inexplicable to a normal American, we're going to sort of punch you, but we're not going to punch you too hard, and we really would like you to leave, but we don't want you to leave enough to get rid of you, and we hope there's a political solution, although we haven't got a clue what it is.

I mean, that's very hard to build momentum for. And you have to be communicator in chief before you're commander in chief. And Tuesday night's speech I think really matters, because he has to show a coherence and a discipline and a directness that average Americans can identify with.

Gingrich continued that Obama could have bombed Syria and then given a speech announcing actions that he had taken as commander in chief:

And I think the decisive point was that Friday night walk with Denis where the president said, "I'm going to go to Congress." Prior to that, he literally could've bombed, done a national speech, and said, "Here's why I did it. I'm commander of chief."

By asking the permission of Congress Obama presented himself as weak and indecisive. American prestige has suffered. But his own prestige has suffered more.

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal Norman Podhoretz also summarized the president’s communication and conceptualization failure:

For how else to characterize a president who declares war against what he calls a great evil demanding immediate extirpation and in the next breath announces that he will postpone taking action for at least 10 days—and then goes off to play golf before embarking on a trip to another part of the world? As if this were not enough, he also assures the perpetrator of that great evil that the military action he will eventually take will last a very short time and will do hardly any damage. Unless, that is, he fails to get the unnecessary permission he has sought from Congress, in which case (according to an indiscreet member of his own staff) he might not take any military action after all.

Podhoretz rejects the idea that Obama is a bumbler. He suggests that Obama is just doing what he said he would do, radically transforming America.

Commenters on this blog and others have raised the issue: did Obama really believe the leftist rhetoric he heard when he sat, bewitched, in the pews of Jeremiah Wright’s church? Is he doing his best to diminish America? Is he disguising his intentions with just the right amount of double talk.

Podhoretz wrote:

To those of us who took this declaration seriously, it meant that Mr. Obama really was the left-wing radical he seemed to be, given his associations with the likes of the anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright and the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, not to mention the intellectual influence over him of Saul Alinsky, the original "community organizer."…

As a left-wing radical, Mr. Obama believed that the United States had almost always been a retrograde and destructive force in world affairs. Accordingly, the fundamental transformation he wished to achieve here was to reduce the country's power and influence. And just as he had to fend off the still-toxic socialist label at home, so he had to take care not to be stuck with the equally toxic "isolationist" label abroad.

Whether he intended it or not, the consequences of Obama’s bungling the Arab Spring are clear:

First in Egypt, his incoherent moves resulted in a complete loss of American influence, and now, thanks to his handling of the Syrian crisis, he is bringing about a greater diminution of American power than he probably envisaged even in his wildest radical dreams.

Podhoretz believes that Obama is willing to sacrifice his reputation in order to change America for the worse:

For this fulfillment of his dearest political wishes, Mr. Obama is evidently willing to pay the price of a sullied reputation. In that sense, he is by his own lights sacrificing himself for what he imagines is the good of the nation of which he is the president, and also to the benefit of the world, of which he loves proclaiming himself a citizen.

But, if Obama sullies his reputation he will also be discrediting his project. He will be undermining his capacity to lead. If he becomes a laughing stock, any changes he instituted will also fall into disrepute. Once the nation catches on, it will be more likely to elect candidates who pledge to undo what Obama has done.

Or so we like to think.

Roger Simon, however, suggests that Obama’s mind is divided against itself. Even if he believes the leftist ideas that he heard in Chicago, he must also understand that, as President of the United States, he can only validate his beliefs if he succeeds. If he discredits himself, his project will fail with him.

Simon sees Obama as dazed and confused:

And Obama is genuinely blind in the deepest sense because he doesn’t really know who he is or what he stands for. That’s why he vacillates all the time. I realize many on the right feel, with some justification, that Obama is some kind of neo-socialist, anti-colonialist out of Frank Marshall Davis via Saul Alinsky, but I don’t even think he’s that. Or not only that.  If Obama is Trotsky lite, it’s very lite indeed, a kind of uncommitted Trotsky that Stalin wouldn’t have bothered to assassinate. He’s not a particularly successful socialist, judging by his record, or even a particularly good crony capitalist (though a bit better at that).


Dr. Mabuse said...

I think that Obama thought he could have it all: degrade the U.S. internationally, and yet still ride the wave of international popularity. In fact, one would inevitably lead to the other. He saw himself as the Man of Destiny, the one who finally put American in her place - the only one who could do it. And the world would love him for it; he'd be the guy who put down the mighty from their seats and exalted the lowly and meek.

Only it didn't work out that way. To his chagrin, he's discovering that he can't detach his own reputation from that of the country he leads. As America goes down, HE goes down, and that's very aggravating for a narcissist. Instead of being honored, he's being laughed at, and not by his customary bogeys like the British; even the Egyptians are scorning him! I don't believe he ever foresaw a situation like the one before him now. He must be looking for a quick exit, in the hope that it will all just go away and things will return to the way they ought to be.

Dennis said...

I guess I am not the only one to notice that in almost every fiasco Obama has gotten us in the Mid East he has improved the lot of the Muslim Brotherhood to the detrimate of the populations of each of these countries. I would suggest that when one spends time in a foreign country one begins to identify with it especially as a child. As a child one is less likely to see the dangers posed by radical Islam. I know I have fond memories of many of the countries I was in despite what people like Marcos et al did to the people in those countries. It is hard not to when one is dealing with the AF People to People program, the Peace Corps, USAID and other programs meant to improve the lives of others. When one gets away from the large cities, and even there at times, one finds people who are great to know.
Sadly one has to balance that with the cold hard realities that exist on the ground and Obama has never done that because he was always surrounded by radicals whose big enemy has been the United States. This was true both inside and outside the US. It has never occurred to Obama that he has profited by the greatness of this country.
I would posit that Obama has a love/hate relationship with this country. One where he loves what he has accomplished, but hates the very country that made it possible.
It follows when one makes great strides due to Affirmative Action then one can feel like a "token" which had to be given something instead of earning it. One notices this same behavior in many beneficiaries of AA.
There is in each of us a powerful desire to know that we have succeeded on our own merit and anything that impinges upon that causes negative thoughts about a country and people who would think so negatively about your capability that they would make it easy for you. I suspect that is why we don't have access to Obama's grades because that might demonstrate that Obama is not anywhere as smart as the "media" and leftists try to make us believe. Does anyone really believe that those on welfare or other programs that take away human initiative loves what they have been turned in to by a nation that seems not to know the difference between earning and receiving?

The Dark Lord said...

at this point everyone on both the right and the left is pretty much in agreement that Obama is a serial liar ...

On the left they know he is lying but they think it is for a good cause so they excuse it ... (the evolution on gay marriage ? come did anyonre believe his original stance)

The right has always seen him as a liar ...

So basically everyone thinks he lies to get his way ... it just so happens that at this point in time a large number of liberals think he is lying about no boots on the ground which happens to NOT be a good cause in their eyes ...