At a town hall meeting in Mountain View, California, President Obama said, “Things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody is so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we’re not able to solve our problems.”
This formulation is priceless, if only because in a single sentence Obama is advancing three falsehoods, which may be a new indoor record.
Myth number one is Obama is a pragmatist and centrist, a man for whom ideology is alien, a politician who cares about results rather than abstract theories. In fact, it is Obama who is setting the standard for adherence to a rigid, faith-based ideology. His economic program, for example, has been a complete and demonstrable failure — and yet he has doubled down on Stimulus II and refuses to roll back the monstrosity we call Obamacare. He also insists on raising taxes even as we’re battling the brutal effects of a terrible recession. Those are the actions of a dogmatist, a man with a deep and unshakable belief in statism.
Myth number two is Republicans are focused on the next election, and Obama is not.
In fact, every politician is focused on the next election; the question is the degree to which that focus is causing lawmakers to act irresponsibly. And by this metric, Republicans are, in general, acting in a far more admirable way than the president. The most obvious example of this is the GOP House budget, which was passed in April and championed fundamental changes to Medicare. Republicans passed the legislation even though, to a person, they knew it was politically perilous. And Obama, rather than encouraging reform to a program that may lead to the fiscal ruination of America, has demagogued the issue. And the last week, we’ve seen Obama in full-throated campaign mode, eschewing even the pretense of carrying on governing. As Charles Krauthammer put it, the governing phase of the Obama presidency is over and done.
Which leads us to myth number three: Republicans are putting party ahead of country while Obama is doing the opposite.
The truth is most politicians, in advancing the cause of their party, believe they’re advancing the cause of their country. They are members of a political party because they believe the ideas that characterize the party are the right ones for the nation. But if anyone is open to the charge of putting his self-interest above the national interest, it is Obama himself, whose decisions to withdraw American troops from both Iraq and Afghanistan only makes sense when viewed through a political, not a military, lens. America’s best-known former community organizer essentially invented his own military strategy. No military
commander could endorse, or even propose, plans as reckless as what Obama has embraced. Yet he did so anyway, conveniently tying troop withdrawals to a few months prior to the 2012 election.
If any person on earth is open to the charge of putting his party and political fortunes above those of the United States, it is the president himself. Not that he seems to care. After all, if there is one thing we know about Obama, it is he views the advancement of his interests as synonymous with the right ordering of the universe. Call it an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with himself. Call it narcissism. Or call it the state of mind of America’s 44th president.