Commentary Magazine


Obama Gives Up Pose as Nation’s “Healer”

President Obama told an audience in Nevada on Monday that he will be regularly announcing “executive actions” his administration will take to “heal the economy” without the “dysfunctional” Congress.

“I’m here to say to all of you and to say to the people of Nevada and the people of Las Vegas, we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will,” Obama said. “I’ve told my administration to keep looking every single day for actions we can take without Congress, steps that can save consumers money, make government more efficient and responsive, and help heal the economy. And we’re going to be announcing these executive actions on a regular basis,” according to the president.

The president’s formulation – to help “heal the economy” – got me thinking. Where oh where have we heard that verb “heal” before?

And then it came to me – Barack Obama, during the 2008 campaign, when he said, “That’s why I’m asking you to stand with me, that’s why I’m asking you to caucus for me, that’s why I am asking you to stop settling for what the cynics say we have to accept. In this election—in this moment—let us reach for what we know is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”

Which is different than when Obama said this: “Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

America’s Great Physician appears to be lowering his sights a bit. He’s gone from promising us that he’d heal the planet, to a promise that he would heal the nation, to a promise that he’ll simply heal the economy. Perhaps by the end of his administration he’ll promise to heal athlete’s foot. My guess is he’ll be as successful with that as he was with the other three.