08.19.10 Obama the Coward, Obama the Fool
Last Saturday, I picked up the Washington Post and was greeted by the headline, “President defends plans for N.Y. mosque.” I’m a bit ashamed that the political animal in me responded before my moral being kicked in. “Oh, shit!” I thought. “The xenophobes are going to have a field day with this!” But, I recovered quickly, as I embraced something that has been surprisingly, stunningly rare from Barack Obama: a courageous and unambiguous statement of principle. I was happy to lose a few more votes from those who would most likely never vote for a Democrat anyway, if that were to be the price for doing the right thing.
Alas, I was celebrating too soon. On Sunday, my morning paper put equally prominent emphasis on a new development: “Mosque stance gets an asterisk.” It turns out that Obama was so stung by the completely expected hysteria from the right that a mere 24 hours later, he said (more or less), “Never mind.” Or even, “I didn’t say what you plainly heard me say yesterday.”
So, it’s obvious that Obama is a moral weakling, providing another example of his administration’s incredible inability to take a courageous stand and fight for it. (Yeah, I know he eventually won on healthcare, but the final bill had very little of principle left in it.) This is disappointing enough. It is sickening to see this supposedly passionate, articulate man descend into the depths of run-of-the-mill, scared-of-my-shadow Democratism. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, from whom one wouldn’t expect any better, outflanked Obama’s cowardice by declaring clearly his outright opposition to doing the right thing in Manhattan.
Yeah, the moral failing is disappointing. What is just mind-numbing is how idiotic Obama’s flip-flop was, from a political perspective. It makes me want to tear my hair out (which is particularly unfortunate, in my case, since I don’t have any).
The major difference between Reid and Obama in this case, is that Harry Reid is smarter than the president! What is worse than taking the wrong side of a moral principle in order to pander to enemies? You got it: taking the right side just long enough to whip the enemies into a frenzy and then backing away from it. You end up abandoning principle at the same time that you set your political edifice on fire. You end up looking exactly like the vacillating, morally bereft panderer you are. For gawdssake, can’t Obama at least get the political part of this right, even if he no longer has a moral compass?!
I still long for a president who is on the right side when it matters and who can teach the rest of his anemic party how to be courageous and win. Since Obama is apparently incapable of this, I wish he would just shut up.
©2010 Keith Berner