In the wake of the debacle of Chicago’s rejection as the Olympic venue for the 2016 summer games, the question probably occurred to most Americans: What was President Obama thinking when he dramatically personalized the U.S. bid by joining his wife in Copenhagen to appeal for the selection of his adopted city?
Apparently, the answer lies with the hubris that has characterized Mr. Obama’s ascendancy. To be sure, most politicians have outsized egos. It is not just an occupational hazard; it seems to be a necessary character defect for many of those willing to submit themselves to the often nasty bump and grind of elective politics.
Still, Mr. Obama has long seemed to be in a class of his own when it comes to his self-confidence, seemingly born of a charmed life of extraordinary opportunities and, by and large, a lack of accountability for his actions. In this case, his arrogance appears to have caused him and his handlers to believe that when he took the unprecedented step of having an American president show up in person to lobby the International Olympic Committee, his rock-star status would assure Chicago’s selection.
It is clear that in the aftermath of the IOC’s decision to eliminate America’s Windy City in the first round of voting and instead select Rio de Janeiro, this rejection was not only a stunning personal failure for “the One” (a title Mr. Obama’s admirers seem to have embraced as much as his critics). It amounts to a repudiation of the United States, contributing - whether intentionally in this instance or not - to the sort of diminishing of our country that I have described previously as one of three elements of the Obama Doctrine. (The other two are the undermining of our allies and emboldening of our enemies.)
A far more important exercise in “What was Obama thinking?” arises from another of his recent, dubious diplomatic initiatives: Last week, the United States joined Egypt in sponsoring a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council - the odious anti-Western, anti-U.S. and anti-Israel organization that the Obama administration recently had this country rejoin. For the first time, America has taken a leading role in promoting an international threat to its citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of speech.
As the incalculably important JihadWatch.org’s Robert Spencer reported over the weekend: The resolution “calls on states to condemn and criminalize ‘any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.’ ”
Mr. Spencer adds: “It also condemns ‘negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups,’ which is of course an oblique reference to accurate reporting about the jihad doctrine and Islamic supremacism - which is always the focus of whining by the Organization of the Islamic Conference and other groups about negative ‘stereotyping’ of Islam.”
Writing on the left-wing HuffingtonPost.com, blogger Eugene Volokh expresses deep concern about the extent to which such a resolution could translate into a mortal threat to the U.S. Constitution’s foundational guarantee of freedom of expression:
“I’m worried that the Executive Branch’s endorsement of speech-restrictive ‘international human rights’ norms will affect how the courts interpret the First Amendment, so that over time, ‘an international norm against hate speech… [would] supply a basis for prohibiting [hate speech], the First Amendment notwithstanding.’ And that worry stems not just from my fevered imagination, but from the views of [professor] Peter Spiro, a noted legal academic who is a supporter of this tendency. That’s not fear-mongering on his part, but hope (hope-mongering?) and prediction. So anything that an administration does to endorse international speech-restrictive norms might well have an effect on our own constitutional rights as well.”
Again, the question occurs: “What is Obama thinking?” The fact that his policies are tracking with those of the Muslim Brotherhood and others seeking to promote the supremacist and seditious program authoritative Islam calls Shariah is not news (at least to readers of this column).
What is news, and deeply troubling at that, is that Mr. Obama and his administration are formalizing this ominous alignment in international forums like the Human Rights Council. According to the past writings of Harold Koh, the former Yale Law School dean who is the U.S. government’s top authority on international law and its application domestically, “norms” like the new Human Rights Council resolution should supercede U.S. laws and even the Constitution.
The Ethics and Public Policy Center’s extraordinary Ed Whalen cites a 2004 essay by Mr. Koh, titled “International Law as Part of Our Law” as approvingly setting forth the transnationalist view that “domestic courts must play a key role in coordinating U.S. domestic constitutional rules with rules of foreign and international law, not simply to promote American aims, but to advance the broader development of a well-functioning international judicial system.” Toward this end, Mr. Koh thinks that in several circumstances, it is “appropriate for the Supreme Court to construe our Constitution in light of foreign and international law.”
The conclusion seems inescapable: In yet another expression of the president’s arrogance, he and his administration are in the process of willfully promoting an agenda at odds not just with the Constitution but with the larger national interest. Unlike the Chicago Olympics fiasco, however, in the case of “hate speech,” it is the American people and Congress that must repudiate him.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated talk show “Secure Freedom Radio.”