In a recent interview with Fox 25 TV in Oklahoma City, Senator Jim Inhofe, the ranking GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, worries that the terror consortium that goes by the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is developing a megabomb to blow up an American city. “We’re in the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in as a nation,” he warns; ISIS is “rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city, and people just can’t believe that it’s happening.”
What kind of megabomb that might be, its precise components, and how it could be conveyed to the U.S. remain open questions, but there is justifiable speculation that ISIS and other terror outfits could easily smuggle such a weapon across the porous southern border or are capable of constructing a dirty bomb, quite possibly on site. Which city would be targeted is also uncertain, though under the lax supervision of Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York is an obvious choice. A threatening Twitter post issued by ISIS is accompanied by a photo of the Old Republic Building in Obama’s home town of Chicago and another of the White House. Technology centers like Seattle or Silicon Valley are equally plum targets. I suspect, however, that the jihadists might also be aiming for some comparatively innocuous city, say Omaha or Cleveland, where a major strike would not be anticipated and defensive protocols have not been put in place.
In a rare instance of bipartisan agreement, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel has gone on record concerning the danger posed by the Islamic State, whose leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, was released from captivity by an administration that has placed the U.S. in imminent peril. “They marry ideology and a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess,” Hagel said. “They are tremendously well funded. This is beyond anything we have seen.”
In the meantime, an al-Qaeda magazine urges “lone Mujahid” attacks on American institutions and cities, including Las Vegas, and gives instructions for building car bombs and pressure-cooker bombs. These are meant to detonate in crowded venues at peak traffic times, but the mayhem they will cause pales before the destruction that ISIS is apparently planning. The swift rise to power of so brutal and determined a jihadist entity is clearly on Obama’s malign scorecard, the handiwork of a president who, by his own admission, did not formulate a strategy to deal with the impending menace until he went on TV to explain it on Wednesday night (White House press secretary Josh Earnest frantically tried to cover for Obama, saying he really meant Syria); who withdraws troops from contested regions; who refuses to take responsibility for his mistakes and even attempts to capitalize on them for propaganda advantages; and who is always brought up short by events he is unable to take the measure of. His portrayal of ISIS as junior varsity is a good illustration of such flippant short-sightedness — or of self-extenuation, since many ISIS fighters, according to Reuters, Der Speigel, the Guardian and WorldNetDaily, were trained at an American base in Jordan. At any rate, this is a president whose identity and ulterior purposes remain matters of intense conjecture and debate.
Obama has been variously called by his detractors a “manchild,” a “dufus,” a “clown,” a “playboy” and suchlike disparagements, ridiculed or deplored as someone who is far out of his depth and manifestly unfit for the presidency. These critics cite as evidence for their assessment of Obama’s callowness his oft-reported gaffes betokening a poorly educated lightweight (e.g., the Austrian language, “corpse-man,” the 57 states, temporally conflating the Umayyad dynasty in Cordoba with the Inquisition, a discrepancy of some 500 years, etc.); his puerile decision making; his constant reliance on a teleprompter, even when addressing a group of sixth-grade students; and his incessant vacationing and delight in hobnobbing with vacuous celebrities. His bungling incompetence is thus explained by his lack of condign gravitas, his hankering for distraction and entertainment at the expense of the serious deliberation required by the job.
For others, Obama is a committed, communist-schooled, political radical intent on subverting the country he governs and despises, transforming a free-market republic into a dismal socialist backwater. A man who was mentored in his youth by Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA); who taught workshops on the methods of Marxist revolutionary Saul Alinsky; who considered America “mean spirited”; who castigated entrepreneurs as people who “didn’t build that”; who scapegoats the prosperous and wealthy — the 5% and then the 1% — many of whom have justly earned their station in life; who enjoys a longstanding friendship with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, members of the violent, Communist-driven splinter faction known as Students for a Democratic Society; who featured on a panel sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America; who fraternized with and/or supported socialist autocrats like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya—all this and more certainly provides compelling testimony for the appraisal of Obama’s inheritance and beliefs as fundamentally seditious.
Then there is the matter of America’s uncompetitive 35% corporate tax rate, easily solved by passing tax reform legislation, as happened in 1986. Instead, as Charles Krauthammer writes, Obama “wants legislation to outlaw inversion…the practice by which an American corporation acquires a foreign company and moves its headquarters out of the United States to benefit from lower tax rates abroad.” But a tax reform solution obviously violates Obama’s socialist agenda which works against stimulating the American economy — except, of course, through heavy-handed government intervention, which generally has the opposite effect while simultaneously enabling government to annex, expropriate and cronyize ever larger portions of the private sector.
Some regard the president as a typical academic, with neither military nor business experience; in fact, only 8% of his cabinet, senior staff and advisers have hands-on experience in commerce and industry, strangers to job-creating and productive labor. This figure represents the lowest percentage among the last nineteen presidents, whose administrations averaged slightly over 46%. (Reagan’s clocked in at 56%.) Trained in critical race theory, animated by a collegial leftist bent, and proficient mainly at emitting high-sounding phrases and pseudo-scholarly platitudes without any purchase on reality, Obama may well be the least qualified person ever elected to the presidency in modern times.
According to these doubters, he is too analytic and dispassionate, too much a creature of the lecture hall and the conference circuit, too readily indoctrinated by ideological apprenticeship and tutorial activism, and too imbued with the spirit of university-vetted bafflegab to act effectively in the Hobbesian jungle of the political world where nobody has tenure, where elitist confidence in rarefied and didactic assumptions is a dead letter, and where hard, clear, practical choices need to be made in order to avoid military and political debacles and unnecessary suffering. University lecturers with an aptitude for the phony calling of “community organizing” do not, on this reckoning, make good presidents and are more than likely to be paragons of ineptitude. To wit: the brute in the Kremlin is invading Ukraine and indulging rhetoric of limited nuclear war against the Baltic states while the egghead in the White House says “the world has always been messy.”
For others still, Obama is a closet Muslim or, at any rate, a Muslim-loving fellow traveler, a wolf in a tan suit, an Islamist in golf shorts. As Robert Spencer points out, Obama never fails to “excuse[ ] and apologize[ ] for Islam every time a jihadist atrocity affects the U.S. in some way.” For example, responding to the beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIS, Obama pontificates that “no faith teaches people to massacre innocents.” This is pure balderdash. Either Obama, like many other political temporizers soft on Islam, has never read the Koran and the Hadith, or he is suppressing the fact of cognitive complicity.
Writing for Eagle Rising online, blogger and educator Paul Dowling is convinced that there is indeed an Islamist in the White House, acting in “the style of a totalitarian caliph,” and lists as evidence for his belief a compendium of items that add up to a very robust case, among which: reducing the military to pre-WWII levels and forcing troops stationed in Muslim countries to observe certain aspects of Ramadan; failing to classify the Fort Hood massacre as a terrorist event and re-designating it as “workplace violence,” thus depriving military families of due benefits (the Allahu Akbar-ululating murderer Nidal Malik Hasan, who enjoyed a relationship with an al-Qaeda Yemenite cleric, has meanwhile received $278,000 in government salary); arming Qatar; releasing five senior Taliban terrorists in a dubious exchange for an alleged Army deserter; leaking sensitive information with a view to harming Israel; allowing Iran time to pursue its nuclear project; punishing Christians in the military for making religious remarks; targeting via the IRS pro-Israel and conservative groups; and profiting from Hamas phone-banking for his 2008 electoral campaign.
Furthermore, Obama’s ties to former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi and Electronic Intifada operator Ali Abunimah, his overseeing Homeland Security to repurpose terrorist atrocities as “man-caused disasters” and obliging the FBI to purge its training manuals of all reference to jihad and Islam, the infamous Benghazi cover-up, and his preposterous remarks commemorating Eid-al-Fitr that Muslims contributed “to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy” — a bolt of revisionist history predicated on an unadulterated lie — are other such instances, among a plethora of examples. Additionally, Obama’s staffing of his administration with Muslim Brotherhood operatives argues in favor of Dowling’s hypothesis, although, in the absence of absolute documentary proof, the case he is making remains circumstantial, if persuasive.
Which is it? Will the real Obama please stand up? Or perhaps there is no such commodity as a “real Obama” but merely what Howard Rotberg in Tolerism, quoting Kenneth Gergen’s The Saturated Self, labels a “multiphrenic” personality, that is, someone who has no core identity but is “drawn in multiple and conflicting directions.” “Multiphrenia,” Rotberg writes, is also “exacerbated in those immersed in moral and cultural relativism and moral equivalency,” an evaluation of character and outlook that surely applies to the president. Interestingly, Obama in The Audacity of Hope, referring to his novelty on the political scene, described himself as a “blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.” Ipse dixit. I sometimes think that Obama acts as if he were a feverishly scampering Time Lord, a sort of Dr. Who jittering everywhere at once and nowhere in particular, and plainly not attending to his house, which is, as a result, in a condition of increasing disarray.
If I were asked to define the central attribute of Barack Obama, I would be inclined to adapt Senator Inhofe’s terminology about a method of “blowing up,” not with respect to ISIS but to the policy maker who occupies the Oval Office. It makes no difference whether he is a frivolous and overgrown teenager ruled by his impulses, or a socialist “progressivist” laboring to turn the most successful country on the planet into a redistributive dystopia. Nor does it matter if he’s a a preceptorial savant mired in abstraction, pedantry and oratorical magniloquence, an under-the-radar Islamist with caliphal pretensions or simply, to use a term coined by National Post columnist Barbara Kay, a “useful jihadiot” who runs interference for Islam at every turn, or, in Rotberg’s estimation, a postmodern intersection of relativistic values and fragmentary motives capable of being a glitterati Marxist with powerful Islamic sympathies all at the same time. My own settled view of the president is strictly pragmatic. Obama is political ordnance, an explosive device whose detonation is crippling the nation socially, racially, economically, politically and militarily.
Of course, Obama would have flamed out long ago were he not assisted by a numberless horde in the media, the entertainment industry, the intellectual clerisy, the academy and the plutocratic left, not to mention the grievance-toting minorities and those whose entitlement bread is buttered by domestic leveling policies. But whoever or whatever Obama may be, the issue that chiefly merits consideration is whether the United States will rise from the embers that the megabomb in the White House will have left in his fiery and convulsive wake.