Has the President Lost His Bearings?

There was a moment during the campaign, when candidate Obama was still keenly feeling his superlative oats, where he declared about his older opponent: “McCain is losing his bearings.” At issue then was a McCain comment that Hamas, the terrorist organization shelling Israel from Gaza, was “clearly supporting” Obama’s election.

Of course, in retrospect, it’s not hard to see which candidate was off-kilter upstairs, especially in regards to the Middle East.

The slo-mo implosion of Obama’s presidency is the topic du jour among just about everyone these days. From the yuppie-occupied tables at the neighborhood Starbucks to every main street beer joint and pool hall, in every golf club tavern and even at ladies’ luncheons, the question of what went wrong and why is foremost in every American mind and on their lips.

It’s a rare citizen these days who is not asking that very question -- has he lost his bearings? -- about the president. And as the days tick by on the government’s feckless response to the BP oil spill, a spill that occurred squarely in federal waters in a federally regulated industry, one image stands out and may go down as marking when we all knew Barack Obama had clearly lost not only his bearings, but his presidency.

The image, which ought to be branded in every voter’s mind right now, is this one -- nicely captured by video -- where the president leads the entire first family up on stage to join Paul McCartney and his raucous band of musicians in a momentous rendition of Hey Jude. The affair? Another in-poor-taste White House gala, which ought to, by now, be billed by the press as tawdry let-them-eat-cake displays of President Obama’s royal-laden, out-of-touch disposition towards all things real-life. The president’s Hey Jude moment occurred on June 3, day 44 of the man-caused catastrophe in the Gulf.

The whole thing sadly reminded me of my teeny-bopper excitement upon seeing the Beatles perform live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. I was 13-years-old and went around singing I Want to Hold Your Hand in a silly girl, fawning trance for a week afterwards. So did all my girlfriends. We outgrew it in less time than it took for our hair to grow out from those awful Beatles’ haircuts we just had to have. To see my president thus grossly enthralled -- and up on the stage, no less -- was enough to put me nearly round the bend myself from embarrassment. What was he thinking? This seems too mild a question for the enormity of the statement Barack Obama made about his own transparently disordered character.

Any president who fails to see the vulgar implications of partying hearty while millions of American citizens are seeing their already-imperiled livelihoods go completely kaput with every day of gushing crude has lost touch with reality.

Like everyone else, I’ve hated -- just hated -- seeing those gorgeous pelicans drenched in rust-colored slime. I’ve cried over the devastation of such a beautiful, pristine coast. The beaches and the marshes and the nature preserves, all hideously disfigured for what some experts say may be a decade.

But even worse, in my view, is the decimation of the fishing and tourism industries which have barely just recovered from Katrina. These industries represent the livelihoods of millions of our fellow Americans. Hard-working from-the-bootstraps-up people, who do their jobs, pay their taxes, raise their families, and help keep our country strong.

As citizens, we must ask why our federal government has grown too big to succeed at anything much at all. That’s not all this president’s fault, of course. Our federal government has been outgrowing its constitutionally set boundaries for decades now. But anyone who has the temerity to put his name on the ballot as presidential material without having ever run anything more than an election campaign with an infatuated press in tow ought to know that he just might be getting in a bit over his own head. And when a president doesn’t even have the good sense or the backbone to have a face-to-face meeting with the BP CEO he is entrusting to fix a national disaster, then he’s not only in over his head, he is drowning.

Anyone still in charge of his faculties would know he was drowning.

Barack Obama holds, I think, the distinction of having been the presidential candidate with the highest self-esteem of any in American history. There was that moment in July 2008, when Lara Logan of CBS asked candidate Obama whether he ever had any doubts concerning his utter lack of foreign policy experience. The beyond-audacious candidate gave the one-word answer “Never.” An answer that pretty much says it all about this president’s inability to gauge reality.

Here we are less than two years into a presidency which appears more and more by the day as though it were some cosmic cruel joke. Americans are learning the hard way that political indoctrination parades as education, with grave national peril as its handmaid. An Ivy League degree ain’t what it used to be, in other words. At the very least, one would think that higher education ought to impart some sense of reality, some ability to prioritize problems, some idea how the real world works. If Barack Obama is any example, then one would need to conclude that the Ivies are long overdue for a bubble-burst, too.

This president loves the word “empathy,” yet he doesn’t give even the slightest indication that he’s ever had any of his own off-teleprompter. When pushed to the wall last weekend by his own base voters, when told by his pal, Spike Lee, to just “go off,” the president dodged into the very last refuge of incompetent cowards throughout history: profanity. Using the A-word on a morning broadcast -- when the kiddies are watching -- was as unpresidential as it was contrived. More evidence that something vital is missing from Obama’s bearings.

When I see a president with enough leisure time on his hands to party (not on his own dime, lest we forget) chime in on a baseball umpire’s call, and never miss a beat on the Democrat fundraising circuit or a chance to shave one more point from his golf score while crises explode unfettered from here to kingdom come, I see a president so out of touch with reality that it would take a complete nitwit not to assume the man has simply lost all his bearings. Flipped out. Gone ‘round the bend. Is so out to lunch that he doesn’t even have the good sense to pretend he’s hard at work so as to quell the public’s growing-more-frantic-by-the-day concern.

And when all is said and done, I shall always remember the Hey Jude sing-along as the most clarifying image of the whole unseemly mess we refer to as the Obama presidency. He’s done. Some will call this a premature judgment, I’m certain. But the sad truth is that this handwriting has been on the wall ever since Barack Obama, the not-even-through-his-first-term senator, announced his candidacy with a resume containing little more of substance than a memorable speech from 2004.

Experience? I don’t need no stinkin’ experience. I’m me.

Hopefully, the next time a charismatic candidate makes such vainglorious claims, the public will be healthily weary, vigilantly skeptical, and not in a false-god worshiping mood.