President Obama is many things, but humble isn’t one of them. You get the impression he believes that if he were around when Rodin sculpted The Thinker, the artist would have asked him to be the model; the man who so thoughtfully sits there, his chin resting on his hand, the essence of intelligence.
How smart is Barack Obama? Well, he once said he was “a better speechwriter than my speech writers.” He boasted that he knows “more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” And that he’s “a better political director than my director.”
How lucky we are to have such a bright man leading our country. Or maybe he’s just a narcissist.
But even wise men have their lacuna, and Barack Obama’s knowledge gap involves his inability – or unwillingness – to recognize how illogical and inconsistent he can be, when it suits his purposes. Or maybe he just doesn’t care.
Consider the president’s take on terrorism. We have to put it in perspective, he believes. “Obama frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents, and falls in bathtubs do,” according to a recent story by Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.
True enough. But as any smart person knows, accidents are substantially a function of probability, based on lack of intent. Terrorist acts are intentional. Using the president’s standard, even a dirty bomb set off by terrorists in a small city, would fall below his bar.
How does such an intelligent man as Barack Obama even begin to make such a comparison between accidental deaths and those committed by savages who blow up airports or train stations?
And has the president considered this: There are more bathtub and car accident deaths in America each year than deaths caused by rogue white cops who shoot unarmed black kids. But you’d never know it listening to the president.
“I think everybody understands all lives matter,” Mr. Obama has said. “I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. Rather, what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that’s happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
He did not go out and play golf minutes after making that statement, something he did after announcing the beheading of an American at the hands of ISIS terrorists. Nor did he do the tango, which he did on camera after the murderous terrorist attacks in Brussels.
There are other inconsistencies in the president’s reasoning. He is troubled by collateral damage in pursuit of terrorists. This is understandable. No one wants to see innocents killed by American bombs targeting terrorists who live among civilians in places like Iraq and Syria. So the president has set in place a policy whereby our military will avoid dropping bombs on terrorist targets if civilians might get hurt in the process.
But if the president is so concerned about collateral damage, why would he release so many prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay? Surely he know that a certain percentage of them will return to the battlefield, and some of them will go on to kill innocents, including Americans. Shouldn’t the president think of that as collateral damage, too?
And if collateral damage keeps him awake at night, what about the collateral damage caused by illegal immigrants in this country? A new report by the Department of Homeland Security shows that over the past five years, 124 illegal immigrants arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and released rather than sent back stayed to commit murder in the United States. Tens of thousands more committed a multitude of crimes, including burglary, sexual assault and drunk driving that resulted in the deaths of innocents.
That’s a lot of collateral damage, even if we don’t get a lot of fretting about it from the president.
I wonder what our Thinker-in-Chief would say about all of that. Maybe one of his adoring fans in the media who have so much invested in his presidency should ask him about it at his next news conference.