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August 20, 2014

The Sheldon Cooper Presidency

David Rutz picks up on a theme, and Bret Stephens recently wrote of Obama's foreign policy, calling it "The Meltdown."

Stephens' article is quite long. Here's a few excepts:

In July, after Germany trounced Brazil 7–1 in the semifinal match of the World Cup--including a first-half stretch in which the Brazilian soccer squad gave up an astonishing five goals in 19 minutes--a sports commentator wrote: "This was not a team losing. It was a dream dying." These words could equally describe what has become of Barack Obama’s foreign policy since his second inauguration. The president, according to the infatuated view of his political aides and media flatterers, was supposed to be playing o jogo bonito, the beautiful game--ending wars, pressing resets, pursuing pivots, and restoring America’s good name abroad.

Instead, he crumbled.

As I write, the foreign policy of the United States is in a state of unprecedented disarray. In some cases, failed policy has given way to an absence of policy. So it is in Libya, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and, at least until recently, Ukraine. In other cases the president has doubled down on failed policy--extending nuclear negotiations with Iran; announcing the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

[P]eople have begun to notice. Foreign policy, considered a political strength of the president in his first term, has become a liability....

Stephens considers the argument offered by Obama's defenders -- that the world has just become so ungovernable, man (the same excuse is offered for his failure to produce positive results domestically -- that America has become "ungovernable").

He responds:

Then again, every president confronts his share of apparently intractable dilemmas. The test of a successful presidency is whether it can avoid being trapped and defined by them. Did Obama inherit anything worse than what Franklin Roosevelt got from Herbert Hoover (the Great Depression) or Richard Nixon from Lyndon Johnson (the war in Vietnam and the social meltdown of the late ’60s) or Ronald Reagan from Jimmy Carter (stagflation, the ayatollahs, the Soviet Union on the march)?

If anything, the international situation Obama faced when he assumed the presidency was, in many respects, relatively auspicious.

I would note this: Obama seems like Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory.

Obama has his plans. His plans include pushing his various fake campaign positionings to gin up the left-wing base, and playing golf and attending jazz festivals.

No matter what happens in the world, or even in America, Obama is sticking to that plan.

He dismisses -- either explicitly or implicitly, by his near-total lack of intellectual or emotional engagement with serious political events -- all occurrences which are not in his List of Things to Do as "distractions."

Sheldon Cooper does this on Big Bang Theory. In that show, Sheldon has some sort of crazy single-mindedness manifesting an absolute insistence on sticking to his Routine.

Sheldon Cooper doesn't care if someone's loved one has died. This is Thursday. We have pizza on Thursday. That's what we do on Thursday. Because it's Thursday.

No matter what happens in the world, Obama is sticking to Pizza On Thursdays.

Because that's what we do on Thursdays. Thursdays are for Pizza.

They're slaughtering Christians in Iraq? Thursdays are for Pizza.

They're slaughtering Yazidis in Iraq? Pizza is what we have on Thursdays.

Ferguson is burning? It's Thursday. Thursday night is pizza night.

James Foley was beheaded by the New Caliphate in Iraq? Well, unless James Foley is our Pizza delivery guy, I don't really see how this alters our Thursday plans...

I really do not know what it could possibly take to get Obama to acknowledge that while Thursdays are often for Pizza, sometimes momentous events occur which require delaying Pizza until later.

Romney, of course, recently said that Obama is even worse than he expected him to be.

But one thing you can say in Obama's defense:

The man knows what you eat on Thursdays, doesn't he?

The job of the President is partly proactive -- but largely reactive. Things happen, fires start, and it's the job of the president to react to unforeseen events in a useful way.

Obama just doesn't seem to agree with this proposition. He has his agenda, he has the stuff he wants to do, and everything else is a "distraction" from that.

Everything else is a distraction from what really matters:

Pizza, and Game Night, and Farscape.

By which I mean Golf and giving partisan speeches and fundraisers.


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posted by Ace at 03:22 PM

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