The Secret History: Obama Is a Nincompoop
Whenever you put forward an idea that enrages both the left and the right, you can feel pretty certain you've come close to the truth.
A while back — I can no longer locate the post — I advanced the notion that Barack Obama is a hapless schmuck. The theory was greeted with derision from both sides. Leftists, of course, were furious because it's clear to them that even their president's failures are a product of his genius. He's just too smart for the rest of us to comprehend what it is he's doing. Rightists were upset because I had offended their certainty that Obama is evil. Clearly every disaster of his administration was the result of his careful planning. He hated America so much that he had schemed and connived to lose her wars and damage her economy, and what a brilliant job he'd done.
They were wrong. I was right. The man's a nincompoop. An economy that should be in a booming recovery has stalled. A war that was fought and won when Obama took office has to be fought all over again. The "Arab spring" has spiraled into an endless winter of discontent after the administration mishandled nearly every uprising in every nation. The most plausible explanation is neither genius nor evil, merely the incompetence of a boob.
Obama's not an idiot. He hasn't got a low IQ. He's just a fool. His ideas about the world are almost entirely wrong, and his ironclad narcissism keeps him from changing his mind. On top of that, his ideology has served him so well personally — raising him to the country's highest post on the shoulders of a deluded elite and an ignorant public — that he can never acknowledge that it is simply false.
A specific example. During his recent trip to Elkhart, Indiana, to take credit for a boom in RV sales he had nothing to do with, Obama was questioned by a steelworkers union man about the fact there are no jobs for his people. Obama filibustered — as always, the less he has to say, the more words he uses. But part of his response was this:
Part of the problems have had to do with jobs going overseas and this is one of the reasons why I've been trying to negotiate trade deals to raise wages and environmental standards in other countries so that they're not undercutting us.
Even an economic illiterate can see how ridiculous this is. Union wages and excessive environmental red tape are luxuries of a high-functioning economy. No developing country, trying to catch up, is going to sign onto them simply to level the playing field for us. The obvious answer is not to try to convince struggling economies to burden themselves with greater regulation, but to streamline our regulations to make us more innovative and productive. Instead, the Dodd-Frank law — sponsored by two of the men who helped sink the economy in the first place — is a monstrosity that essentially puts government regulators in boardrooms where they can shoot down ideas before they're even born. And, of course, ObamaCare has failed utterly and discourages business growth by trying to make a necessity of virtue.
But Obama doesn't know this. He doesn't know how things work. He doesn't know that when you pull lever A, the ball drops in slot B, because his ideology says otherwise and his ideology has worked for him even as it has failed the rest of us. Even his argument that the poor economy and the troubles in the Middle East preceded him is beside the point. His job was to make those problems better, not worse, and what a failure he has been.
It may be true, as many on the right contend, that Obama actually wanted a weaker America, a more modest America, an America straitened and humbled by its past mistakes. But he's not a cartoon villain. He thought that would make the world a better place — not a powder keg with an aimless economy. He was wrong in every respect, and he can't admit it and he can't change course.
That's the very definition of a nincompoop.
For more commentary, listen to my podcast Monday through Thursday.