- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 26, 2009


What do the nascent economic turnaround, Chicago White Sox ace Mark Buehrle’s perfect game and conservative Republican Robert F. McDonnell’s landslide victory in the Virginia governor’s race have in common?

Barack Obama, if we are to believe the president and his surrogates, is responsible for them all.

Much has been written about Mr. Obama’s penchant for self-aggrandizement. As a candidate in October 2008, he said: “Like any politician at this level, I’ve got a healthy ego.” But Mr. Obama goes beyond what even most politicians would do in taking credit for things that have absolutely nothing to do with him. It is made worse by his habit of blaming others - namely his predecessor and his country - for all that ails the world.

It is one thing for a president to try to control an issue. In late October, Mr. Obama said, “We can see clearly now that the steps my administration is taking are making a difference, blunting the worst of this recession and helping to bring about its conclusion.”

It’s another thing entirely for him to take credit for things he had nothing to do with. In a phone call to the White Sox’s Buehrle after the pitcher threw a perfect game in July, Mr. Obama, according to administration Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, said “maybe [the perfect game] was because I wore the White Sox jacket at the All-Star Game.”

Mr. Obama’s proxies go even further. Last fall, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine credited Mr. Obama for the cease-fire between Russia and Georgia, saying, “I’m very, very happy that the senator’s request for a cease-fire has been complied with by President Medvedev.”

After protests following Iran’s sham elections in June, senior Obama advisers privately credited Mr. Obama’s Cairo speech for inspiring protesters. One senior administration official told The Washington Post, “There clearly is in the region a sense of new possibilities. I was struck in the aftermath of the president’s speech that there was a connection. It was very sweeping in terms of its reach.” Mr. Obama himself said that “obviously after the speech that I made in Cairo we tried to send a clear message that we think there is the possibility of change” - for a “robust debate” in Iran.

Of course, as the economists would say, correlation does not imply causation. Just because Mr. Obama called for a cease-fire in Georgia and it happened does not mean Mr. Obama caused it to happen. But Mr. Obama’s admirers never allow logic to interrupt their praise for the president from whom all blessings flow.

Republican victories on Election Day 2009 were seen partly as a repudiation of Mr. Obama’s policies. Yet Obama senior adviser David Axelrod flipped the prevailing wisdom on its head by insisting that Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, won in Virginia because he ran “not as a Sarah Palin Republican, but more as a Barack Obama centrist.”

Obamaphiles even credit him with making interracial marriage fashionable and with the surge in the use of BlackBerrys because of Mr. Obama’s devotion to the gadget.

Mr. Obama rarely deflects praise. At last year’s Al Smith dinner, he joked, “If I had to name my greatest strength, I guess it would be my humility. Greatest weakness, it’s possible that I’m a little too awesome.”

That must have been what the Norwegian Nobel Committee was thinking when it nominated Mr. Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize after he had been in office just two weeks. When the committee awarded him the prize in October, it highlighted Mr. Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

The Norwegians also credited Mr. Obama with creating a “new climate in international politics.” That probably had nothing to do with Mr. Obama’s efforts to address man-made climate change but could have been related to his claim upon receiving the Democratic nomination that he was “absolutely certain that generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Mr. Obama’s self-aggrandizement would be more easily forgivable if it weren’t combined with his habit of deflecting blame to others. In his aforementioned October remarks about the economy, he was careful to add, “As I’ve said many times, it took years to dig our way into the crisis we’ve faced. It will take more than a few months to dig our way out.”

The most revealing words above are “as I’ve said many times.” Indeed, Mr. Obama has continuously blamed former President George W. Bush for global warming, the recession, the deficit, anti-America sentiment abroad and much more.

Mr. Obama is constantly either “cleaning up the mess” left by Mr. Bush, rescuing us from a “financial disaster” that he “inherited” from Mr. Bush or saving us from a war strategy that was “adrift” under Mr. Bush. Most shameful is Mr. Obama’s criticism of Mr. Bush’s war on terror, which Mr. Obama claims “likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”

Aside from the president’s curious habit of bowing to foreign sovereigns, it has been Obama the vain, Obama the arrogant and Obama the smug.

The only apologies Mr. Obama issues are on behalf of America for its supposed sins. During Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez’s anti-America rant at the United Nations, Mr. Obama sat quietly and commented later that he couldn’t feel bad about things done before he was born.

What Mr. Obama couldn’t sit through was a plane ride to Germany for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He did, however, find the time to send a video address reminding Germans of all the world-changing events that have taken place over the past two decades, including … wait for it … his own ascension to the U.S. presidency.

None of this bodes well for the Thanksgiving holiday, traditionally a time when presidents offer remarks about reasons our country can be thankful. Given that our current president embraces the liberal view of an American history defined by enslavement and antagonism toward American Indians, he may wish to avoid any mention of the Thanksgiving story.

Instead, Americans awakening from tryptophan-induced comas may see a president earnestly quoting our first president’s Thanksgiving proclamation, which implored “the great Lord and Ruler of nations … to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

During Mr. Obama’s recent trip to Asia, he told students in Shanghai, “I think it’s very important for the United States not to assume that what is good for us is automatically good for somebody else. And we have to have some modesty about our attitudes towards other countries.”

Would that Mr. Obama exhibited half as much modesty as he demands from the nation that elected him president.

Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

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