No President is perfect. I accept it as a fact of human nature that every President will make mistakes. And I further accept that all Presidents will pursue policies that a substantial part of the country disagrees with, and I operate under the assumption that when Democrat Presidents are in office, more often than not I’m going to disagree with their policy (and probably personnel) choices. As I get older, I also have come to expect, especially for two term Presidents, that a certain amount of scandal is an inevitable result of sitting atop the giant Federal graft/regulatory behemoth.
In spite of these facts, I’d like to be able to tell my son as he grows up that sometimes we disagree with the President and what he does, but we show respect for the office. I try to never refer to the current resident of the Oval Office as anything other than “President Obama” in front of him, and even here in friendly confines I avoid using pejorative terms like “Obummer” or “zero,” not only because I think they’re ineffective (and, let’s face it, kind of lame), but because I think the dignity of the office of the President of the United States of America is an important thing to maintain for the sake of world stability. I even had qualms about referring to him by first name in the title above, but as you’ll see below, I’m giving him the respect he asks for.
It’s an important thing, really and truly, that both our population and the leaders of foreign nations at large have the sense that the guy with his hand on the throttle of the largest war machine in the world, not to mention a sizable nuclear arsenal, is a serious and respectable person, regardless of what you think of his policy judgments. That is not to say that the President can never tell jokes or have a sense of humor, or that he should try to present the illusion that he’s something other than a human being, but rather that it’s important that overall he maintain a sense of dignity and gravity while in office. Both style and substance matter – there’s a reason Jim Gaffigan enjoys widespread appeal and fame and Daniel Tosh enjoys the adulation of mostly prepubescent boys.
Unfortunately for us, the last Democrat to have the office will be best remembered throughout history for, if anything, leaving a stain on the blue dress of an unpaid 24-year-old intern, not to mention some truly embarrassing pick up lines surrounding the use of a cigar. Unfortunately, the current Democrat President seems determined to outdo Clinton, albeit thankfully in less Fifty Shades of Blue ways. His Presidency in ruins, Obama seems determined to wile away his remaining months cracking jokes about his opponents. The specific topic at issue, as reported by Politico, is climate change – and President Obama is showing yet again that on this issue, as with so many others, he has no way to persuade other than to demean his opponents with juvenile jokes and insults.
The problem with this approach is that Obama by his disposition is not a jovial, sunny, or humorous person, like Reagan and to a lesser degree Clinton before him. As a consequence, when he jokes, especially at the expense of his political opponents, he descends rapidly and immediately into the juvenile and self-demeaning. Who can forget his cringe-worthy “the 80s called” crack at Mitt Romney during the foreign policy debate, a joke that was not only based upon an understanding of the world that was mind-numbingly naive and incorrect, but also that recalled to mind a not-very-funny but loud and obnoxious junior high school student trying to score schoolyard points in front of the girls in pigtails.
Now Obama has turned his laser-like focus to the number one issue in the minds of the country – not the again cratering economy, but global warming, which somehow caused one of the coldest springs in recent memory. And yet again, Obama has chosen to mask his basic ignorance of the issues at hand and his complete lack of ability to lead public opinion like a statement in favor of infantile insult comicry. Obama’s doing a new thing now, people. He’s a roast comic. He roasts people.
I don’t expect more from Obama, policy-wise, when it comes to environmental issues. He’s a Democrat, he campaigned on this nonsense, I fully expect him to attempt to govern accordingly. I do expect, however, that he not make himself and his office into a laughingstock along the way. Sooner or later he’s going to leave office and the next occupant – Republican or Democrat – will have to deal with the tarnished image he’s left behind and the stains on America’s reputation he’s left. If he cares at all about the country instead of himself and his own childish amusement, he’ll bear this in mind at least a little as he goes about his business for the remainder of his term.