In the long list of things done and said by Barack Obama since walking into the Oval Office, is there any one thing you can think of that would suggest he believes freedom is the answer for the human condition?
There’s certainly nothing I can think of, but I suppose there are those who would consider me to be less than fair when talking about such issues. But I am confident you won’t be able to think of anything, either.
I raise the question because the answer is key when analyzing his words and actions responding to the Iranian situation.
At every turn since becoming president, as various problems have presented themselves, Barack Obama has raised the power of government over people (usually the least accountable government possible, his pledge for transparency notwithstanding) and eschewed the free market solution. He’s taken over the banks and the auto companies. He’s now working on taking over health care. He’s appointed “czars” who are not accountable to any elected authority and who even Democratic Senator Robert Byrd insists are unconstitutional.
These are not the actions of someone who thinks freedom paramount. Clearly government, and not freedom, is Obama’s panacea.
With this is mind, why are we so shocked and amazed when he refuses to stand up for freedom for the people of Iran? He’s already made it consistently clear that he doesn’t support freedom. Rather, he thinks government is the solution for every problem.
By contrast, let’s analyze the response to similar situations by previous presidents.
On his inauguration day, back in 1961, John F. Kennedy told the world in no uncertain terms that he planned to fight for liberty:
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
Apparently, Mr. Obama is no Jack Kennedy.
No question, those are some of the strongest words ever uttered in an inauguration speech. Not for the weight of the words themselves, but because of the principles behind them. Kennedy made it clear that liberty is worth fighting for. Even someone else’s freedom is worth any price we have to pay.
Meanwhile, Obama — instead of wading in boldly on the side of liberty — informs us he’s “deeply troubled” and continues to seek “engagement” with Iran’s oppressors. What a leader! With the philosophical distance between the two, it’s a wonder that the party of Jack Kennedy can stomach Barack Obama at all.
There’s one other example that comes to mind. When faced with a government crackdown on the democracy movement in then-communist Poland, Ronald Reagan made no bones about what his position was on the matter.
He backed freedom.
Americans have always backed freedom. Americanism itself is the belief that freedom is the answer for the human condition. From the beginning, Reagan warned the Soviets against taking action against the Polish people, even going so far as to threaten harsh actions against the Soviets. They backed down, and freedom won the day.
None of that for Barack Obama, however. Rather than speak up for liberty and use the political weight and capital behind the office of president of the United States to full effect against the oppression in Iran (which would help the Iranians and the rest of the world — a point on which both ends of the political spectrum seem uncharacteristically to agree), the president’s rhetoric was wilting.
Mr. Obama could and should have spoken up at once, telling Iran’s current leadership that the way it treats its opponents will determine its place in the world going forward. But no, that calls for a real leader. What we have instead is Obama, who now withholds comment, plays it safe, and hopes apparently to win the day with his winning smile and a few shovelfuls of manure. But win what, exactly?
Obama’s cooperative silence might get a brief bit of peace or at least the absence of war (and no, they’re not the same thing), but the freedom on which Reagan and JFK placed so high a value? Apparently not.
It seems Obama’s words and actions about Iran are indicative of where we’re headed, too. Frankly, Americans should be frightened. America needs a leader who will speak unequivocally about freedom.
What we have instead is Barack Obama.