Ed Driscoll

'The Toughest Times any President has ever faced'

At Commentary, Peter Wehner notes what the Obama administration’s pity party says about itself:

[D]uring his farewell remarks from the White House, Rahm Emanuel said to President Obama, “I want to thank you for being the toughest leader any country could ask for in the toughest times any president has ever faced.” Earlier that week, Jimmy Carter told PBS’s Charlie Rose that Obama took office facing “the most difficult circumstances a president has ever faced.” And Mr. Obama added his own interpretation of events in his interview with Rolling Stone: “Guys, wake up. We have accomplished an incredible amount in the most adverse circumstances imaginable.”

None of this is true or even close to true, as any elementary-school student who has studied American history could tell you. What these comments useful highlight, though, is the mindset that has taken hold of the president, his closest aides, and some of his remaining supporters. They really seem to believe that the scale of problems they face is unprecedented in American history, that the hand they have been dealt is worse than any who have come before them.

I worked in the White House during the worst attack on our homeland in history, two wars, a recession, and one of the worst natural disasters in our history (I had left the White House by the time the financial collapse of 2008 occurred) — and neither I nor any of my colleagues entertained, even for a moment, the thought that what we faced held a candle to what Washington, Lincoln, or Roosevelt (to name just three past presidents) confronted. If we had, it would have rightly elicited ridicule.

Not to mention last week, the president compared his own unique Road to Serfdom (that’s a book written by the late F.A. Hayek, for those of you working at the New York Times) to Lincoln (wait, wasn’t he a Republican?) freeing the slaves. George Orwell would have savored the irony.

Not to mention, the irony of Rahm recording his “Glad to be home” in Chicago video while still in DC:

Rahm Emanuel kicked off his campaign for Mayor of Chicago with a homecoming video, filmed in front of a bookshelf with a vase and a family photograph.

“I was born here and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here,” he says. “I’m glad to be home.”

But an Emanuel spokeswoman, Lori Goldberg, confirms that the video itself was actually filmed in Washington, D.C., in the offices of AKPD media, the firm founded by David Axelrod.

The fact that Emanuel’s use of the word “here” wasn’t precisely accurate is an amusing footnote to what Illinois lawyers say may be a serious legal problem: Rivals are challenging Emanuel’s residency, and his right to run will hinge on where his “home” actually is. Emanuel didn’t respond in detail to a question on the subject today.

How big a legal problem this is remains unclear, and may wind up in court. It is not, in any case, an ideal subject for the launch of his campaign.

Talk about burying the lede! They have laws in Chicago? When did this start happening?

Update: As I wrote above, George Orwell would have savored the irony of Obama comparing his dragging America into greater taxes, debt and government control with Lincoln freeing the slaves. Orwell isn’t around to poke fun at such Kafkaesque gasbaggery (hey, I kind of like the sound of that), but Michael Ramirez definitely  is — and Power Line has his latest cartoon.