Politics & Policy

Ego and Mouth

Obama's trademark.

After the big gamble on subprime mortgages that led to the current financial crisis, is there going to be an even bigger gamble, by putting the fate of a nation in the hands of a man whose only qualifications are ego and mouth?

Barack Obama has the kind of cocksure confidence that can only be achieved by not achieving anything else.

Anyone who has actually had to take responsibility for consequences by running any kind of enterprise– whether economic or academic, or even just managing a sports team– is likely at some point to be chastened by either the setbacks brought on by his own mistakes or by seeing his successes followed by negative consequences that he never anticipated.

The kind of self-righteous self-confidence that has become Obama’s trademark is usually found in sophomores in Ivy League colleges– very bright and articulate students, utterly untempered by experience in the real world.

The signs of Barack Obama’s self-centered immaturity are painfully obvious, though ignored by true believers who have poured their hopes into him, and by the media who just want the symbolism and the ideology that Obama represents.

The triumphal tour of world capitals and photo-op meetings with world leaders by someone who, after all, was still merely a candidate, is just one sign of this self-centered immaturity.

“This is our time!” he proclaimed. And “I will change the world.” But ultimately this election is not about him, but about the fate of this nation, at a time of both domestic and international peril, with a major financial crisis still unresolved and a nuclear Iran looming on the horizon.

For someone who has actually accomplished nothing to blithely talk about taking away what has been earned by those who have accomplished something, and give it to whomever he chooses in the name of “spreading the wealth,” is the kind of casual arrogance that has led to many economic catastrophes in many countries.

The equally casual ease with which Barack Obama has talked about appointing judges on the basis of their empathies with various segments of the population makes a mockery of the very concept of law.

After this man has wrecked the economy and destroyed constitutional law with his judicial appointments, what can he do for an encore? He can cripple the military and gamble America’s future on his ability to sit down with enemy nations and talk them out of causing trouble.

Senator Obama’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden, has for years shown the same easy-way-out mindset. Senator Biden has for decades opposed strengthening our military forces. In 1991, Biden urged relying on sanctions to get Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait, instead of military force, despite the demonstrated futility of sanctions as a means of undoing an invasion.

People who think Governor Sarah Palin didn’t handle some “gotcha” questions well in a couple of interviews show no interest in how she compares to the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate, Senator Biden.

Joe Biden is much more of the kind of politician the mainstream media like. Not only is he a liberal’s liberal, he answers questions far more glibly than Governor Palin — grossly inaccurately in many cases, but glibly.

Moreover, this is a long-standing pattern with Biden. When he was running for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination back in 1987, someone in the audience asked him what law school he attended and how well he did.

Flashing his special phony smile, Biden said, “I think I have a much higher IQ than you do.” He added, “I went to law school on a full academic scholarship” and “ended up in the top half” of the class.

But Biden did not have a full academic scholarship. Newsweek reported: “He went on a half scholarship based on need. He didn’t finish in the ‘top half’ of his class. He was 76th out of 85.”

Add to Obama and Biden House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and you have all the ingredients for a historic meltdown. Let us not forget that the Roman Empire did decline and fall, blighting the lives of millions for centuries.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

© 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

Thomas SowellThomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author, whose books include Basic Economics. He is currently senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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