In the worst kept secret in D.C., White House Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel officially left his post in a tearful press conference on the morning of Oct. 10.
Most of what Mr. Emanuel had to say was your normal, average, everyday puffery that a junior member of a team says when he is leaving his position. Emanuel's thanks-for-the-memories address was all perfectly innocuous… except for one thing.
Early in his remarks Emanuel issued some hortatory for his boss, President Obama. "I want to thank you for being the toughest leader any country can ask for in the toughest times any country has ever faced," Emanuel said.
Now, some may think that this is just glad-handing of the sort that one might expect of an underling leaving his beloved boss. But this is far more revealing than that.
Just think of what Emanuel said, here. He claimed that his president has led through the "toughest times any country has ever faced." Tougher than the Revolution when we weren't even sure we'd make it as a nation? Tougher than what Madison faced in the War of 1812 when the White House was nearly burnt to the ground? Tougher than the Civil War that Lincoln faced? Tougher than WWI, the Great Depression, WWII?
Worse, those historical episodes I mention were only America's tough times. Emanuel said that we are in the worst any country ever faced. ANY country? Worse than the utter collapse of the Soviet Union? Good or bad that the U.S.S.R. collapsed, having a country collapse isn't an easy time? Worse than the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire whose death began the turmoil of WWI? Worse even than the wholesale destruction and death caused by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti in which some 92,000 Haitians were killed? Come on, Rahm. You are making yourself look foolish.
But this is how these historically illiterate Democrats of our modern era really think of these times in which we live. They hyperbolically and ridiculously feel that today, this era, is worse than any era America or any other nation has ever seen. It is an arrogance of imagining they are the center of the universe. This is the arrogance of today's Democrats placing themselves above history and all of humanity.
Now there is no doubt that America is in bad shape today. Much of that is due to the Democrat's own misguided efforts, too. But partisan politics aside, it is flat out absurd to say that today's crisis is worse than previous crises under Washington, Madison, Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR or the trials and travails of some of history's other great upheavals in other lands. Only the supreme arrogance of the left -- or the foolishness of the historically ignorant -- would imagine that today is worse than ever.
My bet is on their arrogance.
Finally, wasn’t it Rahm Emanuel who was so gleeful to have a crisis that he wouldn’t "let go to waste”? As my friend Lorie Byrd said to me via email, "Emanuel should have been thrilled if these were truly the ‘toughest times.’ Hey, and just how many times is it appropriate to go on vacation (or to go golfing) in the toughest times in the history of the country?"
I guess things haven’t been so awful as to prevent Obama from golfing, eh?