Amid a backlash to the Bergdahl-for-terrorists-and-a-jihad-to-be-named-later exchange that almost certainly was unanticipated by the White House, President Obama maintained today that the choice was right and righteous and above criticism.
“I make absolutely no apologies for making sure we get back a young man to his parents,” Mr. Obama said during a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron following the G-7 summit in Brussels, Belgium.
The president’s words and tone reminded me of an appearance he made on Jon Stewart’s show shortly before the 2010 midterm elections in which his party got hammered.
Stewart and he bantered back and forth, with Stewart challenging him for not governing more from the left—that is to say, keeping more of his campaign promises.
Then Stewart asked him about his top economic adviser, Larry Summers, who had just left his post as director of the National Economic Council. “In fairness,” Obama said testily, [he] “did a heck of a job.”
That brought a laugh and admonishment from Stewart, who was thinking of President Bush’s patently dumb defense of former FEMA head Michael Brown, the man Bush had claimed was doing a “heck of a job” in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
“You don’t want to use that phrase, dude,” Stewart told Obama as the audience roared.
But instead of laughing along at his unintentional echo of a famously stupid moment, Obama bristled defensively—then lied:
“Pun intended,” he insisted.
No, it wasn’t intended. That’s clear. If it had been intended, he would’ve been criticizing Summers, not defending him. The fact that he couldn’t himself see the contradiction was revealing.
Our president can’t stand to think that anyone considers him less than perfect. And he believes that the give and take of a democracy is somehow a slight directed personally at him.
Not even Jimmy Carter’s skin was as thin as Barack Obama’s. His prickliness and cock certainty won’t allow for a sense of irony, a quality without which any chief executive is doomed to fail. Q.E.D.