Like Eddie Haskell, President Obama cries wolf, saying health care would slash cost while bulging coverage. Both blame others.
Even a casual reader of this space knows my view of George W. Bush. He backed illegal amnesty, deemed the middle class a rumor and spent money like a drunken sailor - except, as Ronald Reagan said, “That would be unfair to drunken sailors.” By any honest measure, Bush was our age’s worst president — till now.
In 20 months, Barack Obama has outbottomed W. His 75 percent approval rating is barely 40. Like “stimulus,” “health care” is such a dirty word the Left dare not proclaim its name. A Rasmussen poll asks Ohio who it wished were president: Shockingly, W. beats Obama, 52-44 percent. One cause is policy. Another: Increasingly, Obama seems cheap in a rude and snarky way.
Think of Obama as Eddie Haskell Goes to Washington: TV’s “Leave it to Beaver”’s late 1950s and early ’60s essence of narcissism gone mad. Despite his toxic waste, Bush could be gracious: honoring Ted Kennedy, preaching tolerance, treating critics civilly. By contrast, Obama has become an MSNBC caricature: a hip, glib and graceless man.
Obama ridicules Nancy Reagan’s “séances,” calls Winston Churchill a drunk and terms tanned Republican leader John Boehner’s “color not found in the natural world.” He or aides insult “lost souls … liars … narrow-minded nut jobs” for “spewing misinformation” — actually, for noting that non-“recovery summer” has begot a winter of our discontent.
Like Eddie Haskell, Obama cries wolf, saying health care would slash cost while bulging coverage. Both blame others — here, the GOP — except that, controlling nothing, how can it be to blame? Each always comes back to them, as in Obama’s Labor Day diatribe. “They talk about me like a dog.” “If I said fish live in the sea, they’d say no.” “Their slogan is ‘No we can’t.’ Nope, no, no, no.” A juvenile delinquent would sound more mature.
Obama’s attitude is especially warped toward W. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Bush was right post-9/11 anti-terrorism: also forging a 2007-08 troop “surge” in Iraq to turn defeat into victory. At the time, Obama claimed “this cannot work.” He was wrong. W. felt the surge might fuel a free, democratic U.S. ally. Unlike Obama, he stayed the course.
Ending our combat mission, Obama gave a speech ignoring Bush’s crucial role: barely able to “thank (him) for his service to our country,” as if honoring a nanny for a quarter-century on the job. In such a case, the honoree gets a gold watch. A pink slip is more apt for Obama. Perhaps he should consult the Left’s bête noire for a tutorial on grace.
In 1969, Richard Nixon inherited Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam horror house: 548,000 U.S. troops abroad; our soldiers termed “pigs” or “murderers” by anti-war now- “progressives”; no strategy to win or leave. Somehow Nixon navigated our exit while achieving “peace with honor.” Earth to Obama: He never once blamed LBJ by name.
Johnson died Jan. 22, 1973. Five days later, terming him “a great American,” Nixon announced the war’s end. That night he wrote LBJ’s widow, vowing a lasting Vietnam peace settlement, one casualty of Watergate, “so that (Johnson) and other brave men who sacrificed their lives for this cause will not have died in vain.”
What a contrast. Nixon hailed a predecessor whose war enormously complicated his presidency. Obama can’t praise a predecessor responsible for his presidency’s signal triumph. Perhaps one day we will again have a president who is also an adult.
Radical. Uberpartisan. Self-absorbed. Each describes a man whose “change we can believe in” now seems more farce than hope. Like Eddie Haskell, though, the word most applicable is “small.” If grace determined a person’s height, Obama would be a midget.
Curt Smith is a former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush and the author of 13 books. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.