A Direct Answer for Kathy Lemaster
February 24, 2014
During his recent Super Bowl interview, Barack Obama was asked a question submitted by a concerned citizen, someone unaffiliated with politics or the media. The question came from Kathy Lemaster, and it did not relate to foreign policy, Obamacare, or the scandals in the Obama administration - at least not directly. It was about something Obama said many years ago, and it was important because it went directly to his core beliefs. The question was, “Mr. President, why do you feel it's necessary to fundamentally transform the nation that has afforded you so much opportunity and success?"
He responded in classic Obama style. First, he denied the premise of the question. “I don’t think we have to ‘fundamentally’ transform the nation.” Then he went on to talk about “this incredible country” and ensuring that, “if you work hard, you get ahead.” Obama always seems to say the right thing when he has to.
But it was during a campaign rally in October 2008 that he bellowed those disquieting and prophetic words, “…we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” His enthusiastic audience never considered what he meant by that odd phrase. They only heard his condemnation of Wall Street, and his promises to grow the economy, create new jobs, and help the middle class. But that’s not fundamental change. Those are things that every President struggles with. So, what, exactly, did he mean by that phrase? Were those just the poorly-chosen words of a politician caught up in the excitement of a campaign? Or did they reflect something deeper?
Barack Obama rarely uses poorly chosen words. He never did during campaign events.
Though Ms. Lemaster never got a real response, she intuitively knows the answer, at least to part of her question. Everyone with a shred of honesty and objectivity knows the answer.
As adults, we all generally retain the character and perceptions shaped by our parents, mentors, and early life experiences. It’s no secret that Obama’s formative years were different from those of most Americans. It is well documented that, throughout his youth, he was steeped in Marxist, racist, and radical ideologies. Today, he openly professes those ideologies through his endless condemnation of wealth and his constant carping about unfairness and inequality. Everyone should know by now that Barack Obama was raised to believe this country is deeply flawed, and therefore in need of fundamental change.
But the question remains, why has his success not changed that perspective?
Considering his historic accomplishment, shouldn’t he be touting the boundless opportunities America offers, rather than rooting around for its imperfections? Even after the American voters entrusted him with the most powerful position in the world, he can’t seem to escape the influence of mentors like Jeremiah Wright. And while everyone understands that 50 years ago African-Americans often experienced injustice and unfairness in America, things are vastly different today. Americans cheered Obama’s election as more than just an historic first. They saw it as the capstone of the civil rights movement and an end to racial injustice. Barack Obama never seemed to get that message.
So while he tries to show national pride by talking about this “incredible country,” he’s just not convincing.
When one of his predecessors, Ronald Reagan, spoke of America as the shining city on a hill, he left no doubt about his abiding love of country. He loved everything America stands for. More than that, he inspired that same patriotism in our citizens.
None of that was evident as Barak Obama embarked on his international apology tours as a newly-elected President. Nor was it apparent in his coyly hedged response to a question about American exceptionalism.
But even without the national pride we expect from an American President, where, at least, is the gratitude, the acknowledgement that this country is exceptional just as it is? Is he arrogant enough to believe that his success is due entirely to his own brilliance - that the “land of opportunity” is just a meaningless expression? Maybe he believes his accomplishment was actually in spite of an oppressive environment, an anomaly in an unfair system.
People can decide for themselves if Obama is an arrogant ingrate. But there is little doubt that he is a rigid ideologue, driven by a radical philosophy. As such, he ignores anything that contradicts his preconceived notions. That is why he cannot see the inherent fairness in America, and why he believes it must be fundamentally transformed, even in light of his own success.
His vows to grow the economy, create new jobs, and help the middle class have never come to pass. Like his small talk about America’s greatness, his promises are but empty platitudes, useful only to help his political career. And though he postures himself as a champion of fairness, he doesn’t understand that America has always stood for that principle - those who work hard and play by the rules enjoy greater success than those who don’t. As he inches us closer and closer to egalitarianism and government dependency, we are reminded of his vow to fundamentally transform the United States of America. That is the only promise he has fulfilled.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published online and in print.