Monday, October 05, 2009

The Mae West Presidency

Great post. H/T Brutally Honest.

Here's a snippet:

We have here a Mae West presidency, which I illustrate with two quotes of the platinum blondeshell:

1. It's better to be looked over than overlooked.

2. There's no such thing as bad publicity.

When even the Washington Post's Michael Gerson observes of Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly, "I can recall no other major American speech in which the narcissism of a leader has been quite so pronounced," then the volume of similar observations, which began well before the election, cannot be discounted.

So why did Obama go to Copenhagen? It was not really to see Chicago through. Like everything else in his life, Chicago was simply a tool to serve a purpose and selection of the city as 2016's venue was not actually important to that purpose.

The purpose of the trip was simply to splash Obama's photo on the front pages of the world's newspapers, to provide video of him basking in the personal adulation of the European crowd, an adulation that remains very real there even while Obama's popularity slides at home.

This is a man who simply craves attention, who thrives on it, who consumes it as nourishment. That's the first Mae West-ism at work...


After John F. Kennedy was elected, President Dwight D. Eisenhower spent many hours with him. One of the key lessons was this: "All the decisions you will make," said Eisenhower, "will be hard decisions." Dwight went on to explain that the easy things will be tended to by cabinet secretaries and others of the administration with executive authority. But the tough ones will always be kicked to higher levels to be decided. At every level, the decisions become more and more difficult until, at last, the presidential inbox is filled with nothing but the most difficult items.

Fortunately for Kennedy and the country, he already had some experience facing very difficult decisions and for the most part was prepared for the inbox. Yet he was not so proud that he never asked his predecessor for advice. The photo at left won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize. It shows JFK and DDE walking at Camp David during the Cuban Missile Crisis after the Bay of Pigs fiasco (see endnote). Kennedy had asked Eisenhower to come there to give advice. It's worth noting that Eisenhower was a Republican but it didn't matter to Kennedy.

It is impossible to imagine President Obama inviting any former president to Camp David to help him steer a better course. Don't waste a second imagining either Bush could ever be invited. As Bill Clinton has said, he hardly ever gets even a phone call from Obama. Carter? You can imagine it, but ain't. gonna. happen.

As others have exhaustively pointed out, there is nothing at all in Obama's resume that shows he ever made highly difficult decisions that depended, at the end, on his own personal reservoir of wisdom and experience. So he does not tackle the inbox because its contents are above his competence. (One is reminded of Obama telling Rick Warren that when an unborn child gets human rights is "above my pay grade.") He tends instead to lesser matters that match his lower level of competence and gratifyingly feed the ego. And so he flies to Copenhagen to deliver a speech of no significance on a matter of no consequence. Why? Because he can do that - simply standing in front of a crowd reading eloquently from a teleprompter he can handle quite well.

And it gets him front and center in the international media. It's a twofer.

1 comment:

IlĂ­on said...

This is all good and true ... and the event itself but a wider instance/application of the same mind-set that prompted alleged-President Obama to insert himself into the Gates affair.