Tony Blankley, The Steamboat Institute’s moderator for the past three years and now its patron saint since he passed away from cancer two months ago, analyzed President Barack Obama in February 2009, shortly after he was inaugurated. In a private conversation at his home, he deemed Obama a strange combination of naive and cynical. I have thought about it often in the ensuing three years while witnessing Obama’s behavior, and it once again attests to Tony’s brilliant insights.
The naivete certainly isn’t hard to recognize simply from a foreign policy perspective. Of course, Obama’s not much different from any egotistical politician who thinks he has gifts no one else has been endowed with, and thus his insights and charm can tame the worst monsters on the planet while the rest of us poor devils are just clueless. Iran building a nuclear bomb? Just let them know we understand their previous fears from the maniac George W. Bush, and they will turn over to have us scratch their soft underside. Al-Qaida flying planes into skyscrapers? They probably just don’t know that we are more than empathetic to their religion of peace, Islam. Bashar Assad mowing down his own people in the streets of Syria? Heck, this guy is a reformer who just needs some support.
In case you haven’t noticed, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Perhaps it’s because of the liberal tendency to ignore true evil in the world, which halts only when confronted with equal or superior power. Tyrants and mass murderers love narcissistic types who think they possess magic to negotiate peace because they realize they can ease the knife into their backs while both still are smiling. And the saddest aspect is, the guy with the dagger in his back still thinks he was winning the argument as he keels over in the soup.
The cynical part has become so clear in the past few months that I am only one of hundreds of folks I’ve spoken with who hardly can stand to watch or listen to our forked-tongue president. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey made the observation a few years ago that Bill Clinton was “an exceptionally good liar.” What a piker! Obama tells so many more whoppers any day of the week that he makes Clinton look like an honest man. You can see why the Chicago pols latched onto this youngster years ago. With his smooth and innocent demeanor, he can switch gears to contradict himself in a nanosecond without taking a full breath in between. The latest performance — claiming to be for the Keystone Pipeline by declaring he was instructing his administration to hop-scotch over the red tape to finish the Nebraska leg of the pipeline when he had nothing to do with it and still was holding up the real part of the deal — should have turned him crimson red if he had any shame. His declaration of supposedly mandating insurance companies to pay for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients as if that eliminated all costs would have been laughable if it didn’t make it obvious how stupid he thinks we are. The list is endless.
So perhaps Obama’s naivete has receded somewhat, though surely not fast enough. But at this point, he seems to have learned that words can only go so far when you are dealing with powerful people armed with evil intentions. Yet cynicism has taken up that slack and is on steroids full speed ahead. The mendacity insults my brain and wounds my soul. I am not alone.
Gary Hofmeister is a member of The Steamboat Institute and owns Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat Springs.