Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Hubris Administration

Is there any superlative that this president and his supporters won't claim for him? I guess not. When you start out claiming that your nomination is the moment when the seas stop rising and the planet starts to heal, it's clear that your self-love knows few limits. And that was just the start for a man who seems to think that he ranks right up there with our nation's greatest presidents. Remember this revealing comment:
“The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
Obama doesn't seem to realize that passing big, expensive bills is not the same thing as an accomplishment. His bills would have had to actually accomplish their goals. His stimulus didn't jump start the economy as promised and his health care bill doesn't reduce health care costs as advertised. In fact, both did the exact opposite. Just compare the statistics for the recovery under Obama to the recovery under Reagan and it's clear that he's graded himself on a very self-deceiving curve.

He seems to be surrounded by sycophants who are only to eager to feed his self-love. Remember Rahm Emanuel's ahistorical love song to President Obama as Emanuel left the White House.
“I want to thank you for being the toughest leader any country could ask for in the toughest times any president has ever faced.”
I guess Emanuel never heard of either the Civil War or the Great Depression and World War II.

But this lack of historical perspective seems to permeate this administration when it comes to talking about the wonder that seems to be Barack Obama. There was Joe Biden's bloviating about how spectacular President Obama was when it came to making the call on the Bin Laden mission. It wasn't enough to be proud of what he'd done, but Biden had to reach for the prize in hyperbole by calling it "the most audacious plan in 500 years." He also went on to with the whole meme of Obama facing more problems than FDR.
“I think I can say … no president, and I would argue in the 20th century and including now the 21st century, has had as many serious problems which are cases of first-instance laid on his table,” Biden said. “Franklin Roosevelt faced more dire consequences, but in a bizarre way it was more straightforward.”

The vice president claimed that the complexity of the 2008 financial crisis presented challenges in a way the Great Depression of 80 years ago did not.
Why not just say that he faced a tough situation or decision instead of reaching for these absurd comparisons.

And now Obama has reached again for a hubristic claim telling a group of conservative Jewish rabbis that he knows more about Judaism than any other president.
Obama also stressed he probably knows about Judaism more than any other president, because he read about it - and wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel about their support to Israel.
And it's not only that he's read about it, but some of his best friends are Jewish. Truly.
"Rather than describe how deeply I care about Israel, I want to be blunt about how we got here," Obama said, reminding his guests that he had so many Jewish friends in Chicago at the beginning of his political career that he was accused of being a puppet of the Israel lobby.
Bill Kristol responds,
1. The reason no one asks John Boehner or Mitch McConnell about their support for Israel is ... because they really do support Israel. The reason people ask Barack Obama about his support for Israel is because his support for Israel has been equivocal.

2. It's truly pathetic that Obama has to reach for the tired (to say the least) trope that some of his best friends were Jewish. Actually, one wishes more of his best friends were pro-Israel Christians. They might have had more luck convincing him, a fellow Christian, that he should be pro-Israel.

3. And the claim that Obama knows more about Judaism than any president? His vanity boggles the mind. One could begin by citing Adams and Madison, who knew Hebrew, or Harry Truman, who knew Jewish history ... but it's silly to dignify this claim with a rebuttal. In thinking about the presidents since Truman, though, I'd guess the president who knew the most about Judaism was Jimmy Carter, who taught Sunday school and had a deep interest in religion. So let's stipulate that of the modern presidents, Carter and Obama "know" the most about Judaism. But what is it they know? In Obama's case, one could ask whether what he “knows” is what he learned from Rashid Khalidi and Jeremiah Wright.
Alana Goodman reminds us who some of those friends from Chicago are.
The one person I can recall who has actually accused Obama of being an AIPAC puppet is Rev. Wright — though his theory was that Obama didn’t turn into a lapdog for the Jews until he started running for president. I don’t doubt the president hung out with plenty of Jews in Chicago, but considering that some of the most vile Israel bashers out there are Jewish, that says absolutely nothing about his own views on Israel. Plus, if we’re now supposed to judge Obama’s support for Israel based on his Chicago friendships, that’s not exactly comforting. Two of his close friends in the city were an anti-Semitic pastor and a famed anti-Israel academic — oh, and there was also his domestic terrorist buddy who participates in anti-Israel activism on the side. What are we supposed to glean from that?

Despite his very public disdain for Natanyahu, Obama likes to claim that he's done more for Israel than any other president. Biden at least acknowledges Truman's contributions, but thinks that Obama is Israel's greatest friend next to Truman.

His own wife speaks about him in Biblical terms.
This president has brought us out of the dark and into the light.
His supporters seem to see Obama in messianic terms. Maybe that is why they inserted President Obama into the presidential biographies on the White House site. Because nothing that any other president has done stands on its own without a little touch of Obama.

I guess when your guy got a Nobel Peace Prize just a few weeks after taking the oath of office and before he'd actually done anything to spread peace then you figure he really he on another plane than mere mortals. And poor Barack - it's all gone to his head and he believes all the blather that there has been surrounding him since he first appeared on the national scene.

And now hubris is what defines his vision of himself. Well, perhaps he should remember what the gods thought of hubristic mortals.