Obama: President of Just Another Country
What do we make of a leader who puts down his own nation to lift himself up?
April 30, 2009 - 12:00 am
For the past month President Obama has represented America to the G-20 members in Europe, to Turkey, and to the collected leadership of Latin America. The president went out of his way to portray the U.S. as nothing special; in fact, it was responsible for all manner of world problems and had a lot to apologize for. Through heartfelt apologies, bows, contrition, faulting of policies and conduct of the prior administration, and silently accepting the most in-your-face insults ever leveled at a sitting U.S. president, one could legitimately wonder whether Barack Obama was actually embarrassed to be the leader of such a flawed country.
It is hard to accept that an American president would travel abroad and openly denigrate this country, to not only weaken our standing as a world leader but also to legitimize and reinforce those who have hate for America and pray for her downfall. Whatever else he may be, he is not the traditional American president in the way he represents our country and her interests in a divided and dangerous world. One gets little sense that America is the beloved country he feels honored to lead; nor does he appear humbled by the enormity of his role. There is no obvious sense of pride in America’s achievements and the role it has played in the freedom of, in many cases, the very homeland of its critics. Rather, he was an apologist inviting all manner of rivals to take advantage of his lack of resolve for America. Prior presidents attended these events as the leader of the free world. This month we bowed to a hostile king and assisted Latin American dictators and oppressors in legitimizing themselves at America’s expense.
Certainly America didn’t decline in the past six months and history didn’t change, so the diminished stature of America and the presidency is due to the man himself, who he is and what he believes.
His beliefs are more and more apparent and they reflect a much more negative view of America’s past and present role in the world than most Americans identify with. In this he appears naive and inexperienced, not at all surprising given the thinness of his resume. Barack Obama’s adult professional life has been an insular one lived in a world of words and ideas, not actual experience. His negative views of America’s role in the world appear amplified and reinforced by the people he chose as his primary associations over the past twenty years. Nor has actual experience tempered his negative views of American involvements because he has never had to contend with a hostile and violent world while in a position of real power and responsibility.
His climb to the presidency was not one of successive long and hard fights over substantive matters; rather the presidency came by riding a wave of ordination by media and unseen backers and financers. He rose to his current office having never seriously engaged issues of national importance. Even at the state level, when an issue was contentious he merely voted “present.” To say he arrived in office lacking real-world experience is an understatement of massive proportions. In short, it has been all too easy to accept the rantings of those who seemingly fault America for so many ills in the world because it fits his template of America as an unjust country; the view of America as an arrogant, greedy, and, yes, dismissive country was widely held in his circle of associates, as in Michelle Obama’s first sense of pride in America arriving during the campaign. His idea of a real threat was limited to a prosecutor in Cook County, Illinois, not the naked hatred from nuclear-armed fanatics in North Korea or Iran.
Even more than what the president believes, however, the nature of his character is emerging as even more disturbing. Through all the high-profile international events of the past month, not once did our president rise in spirited defense of our country — quite the opposite, in fact. He apologized and humbled America while deftly making sure the blame didn’t include him. After all, Mr. Ortega, I was only three months old. In words and actions, he repeatedly degraded the country he was supposed to represent and put himself at the center of attention. Clearly, the country did not come before Obama but often it served as a means to elevate him above all others.
What type of person does this? We all know at least one of them. It’s all about them and their image of themselves as reflected by the reaction of those around them. They are the ones who will ridicule their wives to get a laugh or if they think it makes them appear bold. They are embarrassed by their family and make sure those around them understand that he is not “like them.” He is the good one. He talks down friends when they are not around just to make himself look good. People who otherwise know not to criticize a person’s family to their face don’t hesitate to do so with him — he will join in and rarely defends them. To this day, despite his position and wealth, the members of his extended family live in poverty and deprivation. How would helping them benefit him?
He is the type who stands alone on a massive stage to accept a nomination or be inaugurated. Friends, family, and colleagues are nowhere to be seen. Everyone must know he wrote the speech alone so all can know they are hearing his word in the firm belief they have a need to hear it.
He is the type that will sign a book deal a week before becoming president of the United States; after all, just because the country may need all his time and effort, that doesn’t mean he should pass up his opportunity at a half million, right? He will find the time. In a very direct way, his reluctance to wear the flag pin early on fits his narcissistic character perfectly. The patriotism that makes one proudly wear the country’s flag simply doesn’t make sense to him. It may even embarrass him.
This is one seriously narcissistic person, one who could recklessly and without hesitation change the world because a serious regard for history, experience, and even human nature simply is not there with him. To the extent that evidence or views are contrary to his vision they are simply wrong, misguided, or poorly executed. Barack Obama represents himself, first and foremost, and his vision is the one this country must ultimately accept. Who can doubt that a vision for the world outweighs one for America alone? It is his vision of what the world ought to be, one that is decidedly not an American vision, which is the central focus of his presidency. When dealing in global matters, we are not the lone superpower and greatest hope for a freer and more prosperous world. Rather, as he informed England earlier this year, we are just another country he must contend with on the way to creating his concept of the world as it ought to be. We are just one of the pieces, no more. He will have to deal with our arrogance the same as with Russia’s belligerence, China’s ambitiousness, or European condescension.
So humbling America makes perfect sense and he has no hesitation to do it. But he also makes it clear that it is not he who should be blamed; it was those other guys. After all, he isn’t like other Americans — arrogant, wasteful, and selfish. He’s the good one.