If something bad happens, as something frequently does, he deals with it by imaginative denial. "What? Me worry?" When an Islamic radical shoots up an Army base, dispensing wholesale death in the name of Allah, the president sees only "workplace violence." Trouble in Syria? He'll draw a red line around that. Nuclear weapons in Iran? He's on that, too.
Mr. Obama never takes back denial of reality. The view from Fantasy Island is true because he wants it to be true. He follows the examples of politicians past. Marion Barry, the late "mayor for life" of Washington, on being pressed to explain the source of something outrageous he had said, replied: "I just made it up." Orval Faubus, the villain of the troubles at Little Rock Central High, was similarly pressed to explain why something he had said turned out to be not true. He replied with irrefutable logic: "Just because I say something doesn't make it so."
This reasoning is contagious and Barack Obama and other politicians aren't the only people who use it. Some facts are so inconvenient that anyone who notices them is regarded as a pariah, and exiled from polite company.
Even a television network is easily frightened. When a guest on Fox News observed that certain Islamic neighborhoods in European cities were effectively "no-go" areas, particularly in France and England, the usual ostriches in the media exploded with indignation. Anne Hildalgo, the very hot but not very bright mayor of Paris, threatened to sue Fox for "insulting" the City of Light. "When we're insulted," she said, "and when we've had an image, then I think we'll have to sue, I think we'll have to go to court to have these words removed." Free speech and the honor of Marianne hang in the balance. She should consult a good lawyer if she sues in America, lest she prove that the "libel" is actually fact.
Fox News, which has built it reputation as the tough-guy network and surely has competent lawyers, nevertheless fell to its knees with abject apology. The why and what-for is not clear. The Middle East Forum counts 751 "Zones Urbaines Sensibles," or "Sensitive Urban Zones," on the official web site of the French government.
Tom Winsor, the chief inspector of the British constabulary, told the London Times that parts of the United Kingdom are becoming no-go areas for the British constabulary because minority communities operate their own "justice systems," usually by sharia law.
In many of these communities, Soeren Kern of London's Gladstone Institute observed two years ago, "Islamic extremists are stepping up the creation of 'no-go' areas in European cities." The government has lost control and in many instances and are unable to provide even basic public aid such as police, fire and ambulance services.
The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the Pakistani-born Anglican bishop of Rochester, famously observed in the London Daily Telegraph that "to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up, and to turn separate communities into 'no-go' areas where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability," some governments have given up. "Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them."
Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said he "almost choked on my porridge" when he read that someone in America had observed that Birmingham is "totally Muslim." It's actually 25 percent Muslim, which is enough to make the transformation seem total. But British prime ministers since Winston Churchill and Maggie Thatcher have often had trouble digesting a soup as thick as porridge.
Bernard Lewis, the distinguished British-Arabist historian, predicted some years ago that the prospect of Eurabia is a nightmare but a real prospect: "They seem to be about to take over Europe." The question, he said, is whether it will be "an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam."
President Obama shows the way to deal with such reality. If we don't like it we must love it but leave it, joining him on Fantasy Island, where the sun always shines and everyone always breaks par.