SALT LAKE CITY, March 31, 2012—When President Obama assured Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after his “last” election, he wasn’t just tipping his hand dangerously on a national security issue.
He was showing his long-held contempt for the electoral process.
In Obama’s construction of American democracy, elections are a nuisance, the voters fickle and unappreciative. It is a pattern he has established since the electorate bought into his Hope program four years ago.
The voters learn faster than the President, however, and they are poised to put an end to the disastrous experiment of allowing the audacious cynic from Illinois to sit in the world’s highest office.
Obama’s pride has blinded him to the reality that his tenure is just about up.
Not only has he failed to realize that this November he is about to be repudiated in a major way, but he is often openly hostile to the process that will bring it about.
Democracy has long been an irritation to Obama. Last August, Obama lamented our “messy” democracy as the biggest impediment to effecting his program. His envy of Chinese absolutism is well documented.
So it seems a mite insincere when the president invokes a great American statesmen, whose reverence for our system of government was unquestioned.
Channeling his inner Teddy Roosevelt, President Obama gave a speech in Osawotomie, Kan. last December, extolling the virtues of the 26th president and his similarities to the 44th.
He was trying to cast himself as savior of the little guy; the one to take Teddy’s big stick and beat the Republicans who were determined to oppress the poor and pander to the rich.
Our president misreads history as badly as he misreads the electorate. Both problems are symptoms of his enormous ego.
Back in February, while on Latino radio Obama said that he had five more years, as if that pesky election thingy wasn’t such a big deal, or a foregone conclusion.
Then, earlier this week at the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, he leaned to Medvedev and insisted that he had just one more election, a formality, really.
American presidents are powerful. Incumbency bestows enormous advantages on a president running for re-election. That this President feels the need to constantly telegraph his confidence is a big sign of his weakness.
Roosevelt was a man of utmost confidence himself. But he endeared himself to his constituency, instead of dismissing them as too finicky, meddlesome, and…democratic, as Obama routinely does.
Teddy built up trust of Americans over a long a distinguished career: as New York legislator, federal civil service commissioner, New York City police commissioner, governor, assistant secretary of the Navy, and hero of the Spanish-American War. The one thing Obama and Roosevelt actually have in common is claim to the title of bestselling author—TR wrote over 30 titles, many to remain classics in their respective fields.
Jacob Riis, the famous muckraking photo-journalist and a Roosevelt ally, once asked the aspiring, young politician directly if he was aiming at the White House.
In his biography of Roosevelt, Edmund Morris captures the scene:
“TR leaped to his feet, ran around his desk, and fists clenched, teeth bared, he seemed about to throttle Riis, who cowered away amazed. ‘Don’t you dare ask me that!’ TR yelled at Riis. ‘Don’t you dare put such ideas into my head!’”
Of course Roosevelt wanted to be president. He often admitted as much, even very early on in his political career. But he knew that to entertain such ideas seriously impeded him and grew his pride to unwieldy proportions.
Barack Obama’s pride has no such limits.
Early on in his administration, when he thought he could afford to be more honest, he suggested that his presidency might be a one-term proposition. By any measure he hasn’t met his own requirements for justifying a second term. He would no doubt like to erase that solitary instance of humility from the record.
Here the president could learn a lesson from his would-be model, TR.
Roosevelt announced early on in his first full, elected term that he would not seek another. Perhaps he was being deferential to George Washington’s precedent. Maybe he just didn’t want that much power for so long. It was almost certainly a political mistake.
He was popular, effective, and would have easily won reelection in 1908.
Pride is a dangerous attribute. President Obama has it in spades.
Learn more about the author at Rich-Stowell.com
Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic Training; Tunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative.
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