- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
PRUDEN: Obama’s curse of a golden tongue
Question of the Day
Some of Barack Obama’s best friends are Jews. He says so himself. (Who knew?) The Poles, not so much.
Mr. Obama is afflicted with golden tongue disease (croesustungitus, in the medical dictionaries), common to those with an eloquent tongue, particularly if the tongue is forked and bleeds around the edges. The tongue is sometimes set off and running before the brain is fully engaged. In the president’s case, the disease is probably terminal.
The president and his croesus tungitus have had a rough week. First he offended the Polish government with a reference to “Polish death camps” instead of saying “Nazi death camps in Poland,” and then he offended facts, reality and 20 American Conservative rabbis with his assertions that he is, too, a good friend of Israel, because he knows more about Judaism than any president before him, and besides, some of his best friends are Jews.
Speakers afflicted with a golden tongue (usually of fool’s gold) squirm into trouble because they think they can say anything and the audiences will swoon no matter how foolish and absurd the message. Many times the man with the golden tongue is correct, and therein lies the trap in the rap. Sometimes the babble for the rabble doesn’t make anybody swoon.
The president expected the 20 rabbis to swoon on cue, either from the unalloyed joy of being in the presence of the long-awaited messiah, or from something he said. Because his brain was not fully engaged, he pandered with the oldest cliche in the repertoire of ecumenical panderers. This, alas, was not an audience as gullible as the president thought it was.
Ha’aretz, the Israeli newspaper, reported that Mr. Obama boasted to the assembled rabbis that he knows “more about Judaism” because he reads a lot, talks a lot and even, sometimes, listens a lot. When you’re sitting around with your pals from the old community-organizing days in Chicago, the lights dim and the second or third bottle of wine lending a mellow tone to the evening, the conversation will naturally turn to theology, and to Moses and Lot, Jeremiah, Joshua, Nehemiah, Micah, Isaiah and all those old dead Jewish guys.
Mr. Obama no doubt learned all this at his Muslim school in Indonesia, and when he got to Chicago he heard a lot of Jewish stuff from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his mentor in the faith who, after all, carried the name of a Jewish prophet. Who else in America, president or not, can boast of a religious education as careful and as thorough as that? But by the way, why do the friends of Israel, Jewish and Christian alike, always pick on him?
He told the rabbis, Ha’aretz writes, that he “wondered how come no one asks Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about their support to Israel.” Said Mr. Obama: “I [am] not going to tell you again how I even feel about Israel, but why [are] we still talking about it?”
Why, indeed. But look who brought the subject up. Mr. Obama and the Democrats just can’t resist talking about religion in this campaign, using it to divide us, and we haven’t even got to the Mormons yet. In the president’s mind, the 43 presidents before him don’t count. He’s the one.
But some of the presidents before him actually did study the Jewish religion, even without Jeremiah Wright as a mentor. John Adams and James Madison understood Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Woodrow Wilson, a Presbyterian parson’s son, grew up listening to his father sometimes preach the Gospel from the Old Testament. Jimmy Carter taught from the Old Scripture as well as from the New in his Baptist Sunday school class.
An authentic Bible scholar knows that precision is the better part of speech. Presidents must heed this in affairs of state as well. Mr. Obama is getting a bit of a bad rap for his referring to the death camps as “Polish death camps” instead of “Nazi death camps.” His sin here was clumsy use of language, which can happen when the speaker thinks he owns the language and cannot err. The president of Poland, while demanding something more than “regrets,” concedes that he is “certain” that the president’s slip of the tongue “in no way reflects the thoughts or views of our American friend.”
But a man with a golden tongue has only himself to blame when he loses himself in the magic of his own voice. He hears a giant sucking sound and thinks it’s the sound of a swoon. Presidents do that at their peril.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Editor Emeritus — American journalist legend and Vietnam War author James Wesley Pruden, Jr. is Editor Emeritus of The Washington Times. Pruden’s first job in the newspaper business dates back to 1951 as a copyboy at the now defunct Arkansas Gazette where he later became a sportswriter and an assistant state editor. In 1982, he joined The Washington Times, four ...
TWT Video Picks
By Drew Johnson
Inept government shouldn't be entrusted with the power to kill its citizens
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Obama: U.S. should 'embrace an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together'
- CANNON: With Russia, different airline crash, same results
- Joan Rivers: CNN should be 'ashamed' of its Israel, Gaza reporting
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq