August 22, 2010
Obama's Point of No Return
Obama's Point of No Return
By J.R. Dunn
There comes a moment in a failing presidency where the incumbent, through some single gesture, action, or statement, crosses a certain line from beyond which there is no return. Through his own will and behavior, he so underlines his failings, so frames his negative image, that no further action can ever erase it. Fate, accident, and circumstance have nothing to do with it. It is the president himself who puts the period at the end of his own sentence.
Such moments are obvious in retrospect, though not always at the time. With Richard Nixon, it was the "eighteen-minute gap." An oval office tape recording turned over to Judge John Sirica, who was overseeing the investigation of the Watergate incident, turned out to have a lengthy period of silence smack-dab in the middle of a conversation between Nixon and chief of staff H.R. Haldeman. The White House claimed that Rose Mary Woods, the president's secretary, had inadvertently hit the wrong button for those eighteen minutes. This might well have been true, but in light of Nixon's long reputation as Tricky Dick, it sounded like the cock-and-bull story to end them all. Nixon had been holding his own in the Watergate battle up to that point. The voting public viewed the uproar with bemusement rather than indignation. But the tape gap finished him. In less than a year, he was forced into resignation.
For Jimmy Carter, it was the "malaise speech" of July 15, 1979, in which he attempted to shuffle the blame for his tepid performance as president from his own administration onto the shoulders of the American people. Carter claimed that a national "crisis of confidence" (he never actually used the word "malaise") made it impossible for him to adequately grapple with the country's problems. It was America's fault, not Jimmy Carter's. The public reaction was open disgust and the abject collapse of any support for the Carter presidency.
With Obama, we have an abundance of riches: the multiple vacations, the legal harassment of the state of Arizona on behalf of illegals, the clownish response to the Gulf oil blowout. But when historians come to select the moment when Obama went over the edge of the world, I think they'll find the great Iftar mosque speech of August 13, 2010 hard to beat.
During a White House dinner celebrating Ramadan, the president found it appropriate to come out in favor of religious freedom. Not in support of Christians being attacked by janjaweed gunmen, or Bahá'ís tormented by Iranian mullahs, or Jews being stalked by assassins, or even American citizens being told that they cannot pray in public, but in favor of a shadowy foreign foundation with suspicious financing and disturbing jihadi connections that wishes to build some kind of victory monument congruent to the site of the 9/11 massacre.
These doomsday statements work by putting previous suspicions and surmises about the president -- always negative -- into sharp relief, acting as verification and confirmation. Nixon had suffered a reputation as a conniver since his knock-down, drag-out 1950 battle against Helen Gahagan Douglas (it was Douglas who coined the "Tricky Dick" nickname). The tape gap fit so perfectly into that narrative as to crowd out everything else. Carter's inept performance as president was rendered even harder to bear by his continual sanctimony and moral preening. The malaise speech merely added the patina of a whiner.
With Obama, suspicions have involved his status as an American. The foreign parentage, the registration in an Indonesian school noting him as a Muslim, the uproar over the birth certificate aroused misgivings that, despite media scorn heaped upon those noting them, he has never quite been able to put to rest. As of last weekend, his opportunities to do so are ended. Impressions trump arguments, and for most of the country, Obama will, from here on in, be a strange and untrustworthy figure -- a man who does not understand what Ground Zero means to America, who utilizes American law and custom to support foreign interests, who speaks to strangers more clearly than to his own.
Nothing either Nixon or Carter did enabled them to recover from their faux pas. Even as the tape gap story broke, Nixon was supervising a massive airlift of supplies and ammunition to Israel, which was involved in a life-or-death struggle against massive Arab attack in the Yom Kippur War. It gained Nixon nothing, scarcely earning a mention amid all the public speculation about Watergate. Less than three months after the Carter speech, Iranian "students" (actually professional revolutionaries under the control of the Ayatollah Khomeini) sacked the American embassy in Tehran, taking nearly a hundred American hostages. I can attest that I was not alone in thinking, "Great -- and we've got Mr. Malaise is charge." The year-and a-half-long hostage crisis, climaxed by the disastrous Eagle Claw rescue mission, hastened the collapse of the worst presidency of the later 20th century.
The past two years are the best Obama will ever see. The real crises of his presidency are still to come, and they are easily visible as they move toward us -- Iran, terrorism, the economy, the collapse of the national health care system hastened by his own policies. He will meet them under a cloud of his own making, attempting to overcome them as a president who takes endless vacations, who will not defend his country's borders, who sat out the Gulf oil crisis, who overlooks the sacrifices of his own countrymen in favor of dubious foreign figures.
Some lines of Shakespeare occurred to me while Obama was dawdling over a response to the oil blowout. They can also serve to cover the entire morass:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads us to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
The tide has gone out for Barack Obama. It is all epilogue from here on in.
Wild Thing's comment........
Perhaps Rush Limbaugh said it best when he said, “Obama is the dumbest guy in the room, no matter what room he’s in.” People are seeing an aloof and out of touch lazy ideologue strut his arrogance and spend our tax dollars with impunity, and we don’t like it.
He is indeed an alien in the White House.May he fall speedily from power!
America is now a powder keg that is set to explode. Let us not underestimate the sheer potential of Iman Obama's mendacity. We are only eighteen months into a historic political train wreck and it may take scholars centuries to pinpoint the exact moment the wheels flew off this "man caused disaster" called the Obama presidency.
Almost every process our forefathers put in place to keep America's freedoms has been tampered with.
How can 330 million Americans sit idly by and watch this monkey destroy our nation. Obama, Ried, Pelosi should be frog marched to Leavenworth tomorrow.
Posted by Wild Thing at August 22, 2010 07:47 AM
Rush says,"Obama is the dumbest guy in the room", I disagree. Obama says dumb things, and has no sense of reeling in his thoughts, when they will be inappropriate. Dumb he's not.
Look what he has accomplished over the last 19 months. He has been smart enough to take his popularity and use it to cram Stimulus Bills, Corporate Takeovers and Healthcare down the throats of the American people, in spite of their opposition.
He is making it more and more difficult foir his apologists and handlers to off set some of the inane and stupid comments he makes.
Maybe this is why he is taking all of these vacations. If they get him out of town and on the campaign trail, then they can avoid him stepping in it.
I have some serious doubts that the Mosque will not be built at the Ground Zero sight. Their are too many Liberal leaning judges out their, and that is where all of this is going to wind up, in the Courts.
Posted by: Sean at August 22, 2010 11:49 AM
I hope obama has provided enough point of no return moments to supply most Americans to vote against him and the Dems in the next two elections.
Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at August 22, 2010 09:27 PM
Sean, I see what you mean, good point too. Thanks for that on the Mosque too.
Posted by: Wild Thing at August 22, 2010 10:57 PM
Tom, I hope so too. I hope people are paying attention like they never have before.
Posted by: Wild Thing at August 22, 2010 10:59 PM