The Corner

Bully Pulpit

Over on the home page, Mona has put her finger on the essence of Barack Hussein Obama II: he’s a bully:

Last month the Obamas hosted a White House conference on bullying. It was intended as a show of support for victims, but watching this president in action, it might just as easily have been a tutorial.

We’ve gotten glimpses of Obama’s intimidating instincts from the beginning. Now, as his administration flounders, his aggressiveness is becoming less and less veiled.

As I’ve noted before, this is a man to whom no one has ever said the word “no.” Despite his “compelling personal story,” he’s probably the most coddled and cosseted fellow ever to become president in that he’s never had to work a day in his life at a real job, i.e. one that was not provided to him by a series of expert handlers as a way station to the next level. Just take a look at this employment history and tell me that this is the resume of a future president of the United States:

Student, Occidental College/Columbia University, 1979–1983

Business International Corporation, 1983

New York Public Interest Research Group, 1984

Community Organizer, Developing Communities Project (Chicago), 1985–1988

Student, Harvard Law School, 1988–1991

Editor, Harvard Law Review, 1988–1989

President, Harvard Law Review, 1990–1991

Summer Intern, Sidley & Austin law firm, 1989

Summer Intern, Hopkins & Sutter law firm, 1990

Illinois Project Vote, 1992

Lecturer – Consitutional Law, Chicago Law School, 1992–2004

Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland law firm, 1993–2004

Illinois Senator, 13th District, 1996–2004

U.S. Senator, Illinois, 2005–2009 

An eternal student — he was nearly 30 before he finally completed his magical journey from Punahou to Harvard — a summer intern, a lecturer (a low rung on the academic totem pole) or “senior lecturer” at the University of Chicago law school for twelve years, finding time for a long-gestating book, some “community organizing,” board-sitting, and leftist law-firm litigation, and then it was time for him to fulfill his mission here on earth and enter politics. 

By contrast, to pick a random example, the much-vilified Herbert Hoover was orphaned at the age of nine, never attended high school but instead worked his way through night school and got himself into Stanford, became a mining engineer in western Australia, went to China as a metallurgist and engineer (where he learned Mandarin and survived the Boxer Rebellion), founded the Zinc Corporation and made a fortune via his mining investments. When World War I broke out, he organized the relief of Belgium, ran the U.S. Food Administration under Wilson, and continued his continent-wide relief work as head of the American Relief Administration. Before winning the 1928 presidential election at the age of 54, he also served as secretary of commerce in the Harding administration. 

Hoover’s presidency ended unhappily, when his big-government instincts, honed under Wilson, led him to make all the wrong moves as the Depression hit — mistakes exacerbated by FDR until WWII finally pulled the country out of its Progressive hole. Still, that’s a resume.

#more#Having never suffered any serious reversal of fortune on his glide path, except for his loss to former Black Panther Bobby Rush in his first try for office, Obama can perhaps be forgiven for his belittling, contemptuous attitude toward his political opponents; after all, everything he’s done so far has worked out well for him. As Mona notes:

Last week, the president returned to bullying the Supreme Court (he had done so once before, during a State of the Union address). The president warned the Court that its legitimacy was suspect because its members are “unelected.” This is brutish talk from any political figure, all the more from one who preens that he taught constitutional law. What’s next? Warning that Obamacare is all that stands between the justices and the pitchforks?

Hugo Chavez is ailing. But his spirit is thriving in the White House.

This is why Mitt Romney — if he does turn out to be the GOP candidate — needs to go squarely after BHO II; playing patty-cake by calling him “out of touch” and basing his entire campaign on the symptomatic issues of  ”jobs” and the economy — when the real problem with Obamaism is far more fundamental than that — just isn’t going to get the job done. Romney ought to listen to Chris Christie to learn how to punch. 

For Romney had better be ready for what’s coming, which is everything plus the kitchen sink. Right now, Axelrod & Co. are busy throwing up feints and smokescreens (Romney’s wealth, the “war on women,” the Trayvon Martin case) in order to distract from their real, fundamentally transformative agenda. And, not to worry, they’ll be ramping up their campaign against his Mormonism any day now, turning whispers of “weirdness” into — as inevitably happens with these unlovely folks — sneering mockery. 

Because that’s what bullies do. They push and they shove and they lean on you and they call you out and they mock you and sneer at you, hoping to intimidate you into self-defeat. When all else fails, they’ll even take a swing at you. That’s the sum and substance of the modern Left’s approach to politics, including descents into outright violence when their motto, “by any means necessary,” demands it. And at a time when the nation’s appetite for sob stories is consumed with the eternal issue of schoolyard bullying, the man behind the bully pulpit gets a pass from the slavishly protective lickspittles in the media.

There’s only one way to deal with a bully, and that’s to confront him directly. The sooner the GOP figures that out — if it ever does — the better for the nation. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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