Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chapter 23. President Pussycat

"Here's how you get him.  He pulls a knife, you pull a gun.  He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send you of his to the morgue.  That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone."  Officer Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) The Untouchables  1987
In the first 16 months of his presidency, Barack Obama has carried the reputation of a Chicago hardballer, bullying slow moving liberals and recalcitrant moderates into submission as he seeks to socialize everything from health care to oil changes.  Who but a broad-shouldered enforcer could respond to a lady's question about whether her mom should have gotten a pacemaker at age 100, by saying the old gal might be better off "taking the painkiller."  That's tough.

Obama's minions are equally granite.  Take White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.  It takes a man confident in his abilities to push others around, to accost a "member" of Congress in the House gym shower, both of them naked, reportedly poking then-Representative Eric Massa in the chest and berating him for not supporting the President's budget plans.  And earlier this month Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar indicated on CNN that it is the administration's job "to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum" regarding the Gulf oil rig disaster.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs repeated the phrase at a briefing the next day.  The messages are clear:  don't mess with this President or his posse.

Unless you're a tin pot dictator or radical Muslim terrorist, that is.

Chief law enforcement officer and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stammered his way through Congressional questioning by refusing to say that radical Islam might have been a motivating factor in the Times Square bombing attempt.  One wonders if Holder might have had this much trouble if Congressman Smith had asked him whether gravity might be a factor in keeping us all from floating around the room.  A year ago Holder had the same trouble explaining why his Justice Department dropped all charges in the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.

To be fair to Holder, his boss doesn't fare any better.  While the President has bowed and groveled his way across the globe since taking office, North Korea took the opportunity to explode a nuclear bomb, fire off a couple of long-range missile tests, sink a South Korean warship, and imprison two American journalists and essentially hold them for political ransom.  Korean dictator Kim Jong Il threatens all out war if there is any retaliation. Not to be outdone, the equally diminutive and badly dressed Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forged ahead with his nuclear weapon ambitions, and captured his own American prisoners back in July 2009 (the three hikers still await release, perhaps in exchange for the release of Iranian terror suspects).

Apparently gone are the days when a sunk ship or the harassment of a nation's citizens spurred action.  For America, it led to two world wars (and the liberation of a continent from the Nazis).  In response to Libya's role in the 1986 West Berlin discotheque bombing, in which American servicemen were killed and wounded, President Reagan ordered air strikes of Libyan targets.  At his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush famously called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the "axis of evil."  A year later, he began the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

Today, President Obama's foreign affairs and national defense actions consists of unleashing the only arrow he has in his quiver:  rhetoric.  When today's bad guys do something against the U.S. or her allies, they don't fear grabbing a tiger by the tail; instead, they know they'll get complimentary admission to President Pussycat's Petting Zoo.

Quotient out.

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