Ed Driscoll

'Obama and de Blasio are Both Learning to Shave On Our Whiskers'

“De Blasio and Obama’s lack of experience” is explored my Michael Goodwin in the New York Post, beginning with a great quip in the opening:

A liberal friend pained over the rampant failures of liberal government makes an observation: “Barack Obama and Bill de Blasio are both learning to shave on our whiskers.”

The image is priceless, the insight wise. Their lack of experience in how the world works, and their ignorance of such basic knowledge as meeting a payroll, are proving to be fatal flaws for our president and mayor.

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Another telling example is Obama’s latest outrage — his effort to draw a moral equivalency between Christianity and Islamic State barbarism.

“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” he said at the National Prayer Breakfast. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

The statement reflects his abiding disapproval of Western history and his fetish that Americans are always this close to mass ­Islamophobia — two topics where he’s far, far outside the mainstream. Instead of building a bridge, he throws a stick of ­dynamite.

Having failed over six years to convince the nation that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, he drags up ancient Christian history to silence his critics. He’s moving the goal posts, which is another way of saying, “Shut up, I’m right.”

When Obama gave that shocking utterance at the National Prayer Breakfast last week, it was made all the more disgusting by ISIS having released their latest snuff film the day before of burning a man alive in a cage. And as the New York Times reports — and I think we can trust them on this one — Obama’s PC hectoring to three quarters of America wasn’t boilerplate written by his often bumbling speechwriters — the president says he wrote those words himself:

President Obama personally added a reference to the Crusades in his speech this week at the National Prayer Breakfast, aides said, hoping to add context and nuance to his condemnation of Islamic terrorists by noting that people also “committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

But by purposely drawing the fraught historical comparison on Thursday, Mr. Obama ignited a firestorm on television and social media about the validity of his observations and the roots of religious conflicts that raged more than 800 years ago.

And one entirely of his own making. But then hey, this is the guy who said, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”

Well, you walked right into this latest disaster all by yourself then, champ.

As Jonah Goldberg noted in his latest G-File, “The Islamic State is crucifying people right now. Romans crucified people over 2,000 years ago. Does this mean that Italians can’t criticize them? How is it that the sins of Christianity are eternal but the sins of Muslim fanatics right now aren’t even Muslim? The Islamic State is enslaving people right now. America had slaves 150 years ago:”

Forget the Inquisition and the Crusades for a moment. Take slavery. It was an evil institution. It will always remain a stain on America’s honor.

But here’s the thing. America put an end to it at an enormous price. Moreover, slavery was a constant on every continent for thousands of years. Looking at America in the context of the great tide of human events, the remarkable thing isn’t that we had slaves, it’s that we ended slavery. We ended slavery because deep in the founding principles of this country were deeply Christian — or, if you prefer, Judeo-Christian — principles that eventually couldn’t be reconciled with slavery.

Obviously, the better example is Britain. The British had slaves, as did countless other societies and civilizations stretching off to the dawn of man. What is remarkable is that, thanks to a Christian renaissance, they decided to not only abolish slavery in their own lands, but to impose their values on others. The British got on a very high horse, thank God, and they had the courage to act on their sense of moral superiority.

As should we. It’s entirely fair to argue that we shouldn’t get on a high horse with regard to how the French or the Canadians do things, no matter how much fun it may be. But the Islamic State? The Mullahs of Iran? Boko Haram? Please, we’re so much better than them by any objective moral or intellectual standard, it’s insulting to be asked to make the case. That doesn’t mean we don’t have faults, but it does mean our faults are entirely irrelevant and one should not bring up such irrelevancies for fear that reasonable people will hear false equivalencies.

Unless, of course, you’re the kind of person who isn’t comfortable with the idea that America or the West can be wholly, completely, unapologetically on the right side of a major question of human affairs, particularly when that conviction gives you license to kill evil people. Such confidence makes some people very uncomfortable, and so they start scanning the horizon for a topic they can drag into their comfort zone. “Enough about how bad they are,” they seem to be saying. “Can’t we get back to how bad we are? Where’s Joe McCarthy when we need him!?”

The Horse Equivocator

One last thing about this high horse. There’s a kind of Escher drawing pas de deux of asininity here because Obama is telling people not to get on a high horse from the saddle of a much higher horse. I mean is there a man in public life who preaches from a higher equine altitude than this guy? This is the guy who explained that Hillary Clinton’s supporters in the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania were backward yokels bitterly clinging to their sky god and boom sticks.

What offends Obama isn’t sanctimony, judgmentalism, or arrogance; it’s competition. What rankles him is when people refuse to genuflect to the trite pieties he unspools as if they were spun from gold.

In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR, looking towards both how the postwar era would shape up and his own upcoming reelection bid that November, smeared millions of small-government laissez-faire-minded Americans when he thundered, “if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called ‘normalcy’ of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.”

Just to review: FDR considered those oppose socialism in America to be National Socialists themselves. George Orwell, call your office.

Similarly, the man whom Time magazine anointed as the next FDR in 2008, knowing that the clock is ticking on his administration, smears three quarters of the country as crypto-terrorist slave-owners. And the man hired a decade ago by the New York Times to be their token conservative tells NBC’s Meet the Press today that he’s “totally pro-Obama on this.” Hey, those pants won’t crease themselves.

As Goldberg writes in his G-File:

What Obama shares with the collective authors of the liberal narrative is a deep and abiding suspicion that the American people are bigots, that they don’t understand their self-interest as well as liberal elites do, that America/Americans has/have no right to judge others given our own sins, and that we should never overreact to anything that makes liberals feel uncomfortable. Oh, you can overreact as much as you want to whatever liberals are overreacting to. In fact, that is encouraged. But if you get excited about something the folks at MSNBC think is weird or scary or could lead to the McCarthy poltergeist will-o’-the-wisping through the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Park Slope, then it’s a scary time here in America.

No wonder Obama is much more concerned with waging war against his domestic opponents than doing anything meaningful to fight ISIS.

On the other hand, a journalist at The Week squares the circle: