The Most Embarrassing President of My Lifetime
By Doug Patton
September 9, 2013
“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”— Teddy Roosevelt
“The buck stops here.”— Harry Truman
“I didn’t set a red line.”— Barack Obama
Barack Obama is, without question, the most embarrassing president of my lifetime — and that is saying something, since my life so far has encompassed 12 presidencies, some of which have brought a lot of embarrassment to the nation. Even Richard Nixon, with his Watergate scandal, Jimmy Carter, with his malaise, and Bill Clinton, with his lewd behavior in the Oval Office, could not top this president for pure, unadulterated disgrace.
Of course, in Obama’s case, it is not a matter of personal scandal like it was for Clinton. By telling the world a year ago that he was drawing a red line in the hot desert sands of Syria — that red line being the use of chemical weapons — he created the debacle that currently threatens to engulf the Middle East. He blustered at the time that if the regime of Bashar al-Assad crosses that red line, there will be a price to pay. No one yet knows what that price will be, but from the current discussion, it appears that it will involve the destruction of at least three camels, four sheep, a half-dozen goats and an abandoned aspirin factory. That oughta show ‘em!
What it will do, in all likelihood, is unify the Islamic crazies in the Middle East and turn Assad into a regional hero, emboldening him to attack Israel secure in the knowledge that the United States has no stomach for a wider war.
Congressional offices on Capitol Hill are reporting phone calls coming in at a rate of more than 200 to 1 against approving Obama’s plan to attack Syria. Republican and Democrats alike are being bombarded with negative responses from their constituents. Still, there are those among the insulated legislative class — John McCain, Lindsay Graham, John Boehner, etc. — who have not gotten the message that the American people are about as enthusiastic about Obama’s proposed war plans as they are about undergoing a quadruple root canal. In fact the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to approve a resolution to allow Obama to use force.
Meanwhile, Facebook postings from members of our military are appearing with sentiments like this: “I didn’t join the Marine Corps to fight for al-Qaeda in a Syrian civil war.”
Yet there was the ever-arrogant Barack Obama, standing at the podium in Stockholm on Wednesday, embarrassing himself yet again (and, by extension, the fools who elected him) by announcing in response to a reporter’s question about his crumbling credibility, “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.”
Obama is a symbol of much of today’s generation, which accepts no responsibility for anything. Therefore, when something goes wrong among his cockamamie plans, it must be someone else’s fault. Usually, of course, it would be George Bush’s fault, but even Obama couldn’t bring himself to tell that one again, not in this case. No, this time it’s the whole world’s fault. And Congress. And America. It’s American credibility that will suffer, he told the world, not his. Unbelievable.
The questions that need to be asked are these: What is the national security interest of the United States of America in attacking Syria? Will our intervention accomplish anything more than assuaging the ego of an arrogant president who has no knowledge of military matters? Will the consequences for the wider region, and for the interests of the United States, be improved if we attack Syria? And the most frightening question: have we elected a president who so admires Islam and so hates Israel that he would deliberately aid al-Qaeda while provoking a brutal Arab tyrant to attack our tiny but crucial ally?
I fear the answers to these questions are as follows: none; no; no; and, unfortunately, yes.
Doug Patton describes himself as a recovering political speechwriter who agrees with himself more often than not. His weekly columns are syndicated by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers are encouraged to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org/or to follow him on Twitter at @Doug_Patton.