With 2010 drawing to a close, President Obama appears to be ending the year on a positive note.
After passing the tax cut compromise with Republicans, Charles Krauthammer hailed Obama as "the new comeback kid." When you throw in the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the ratification of the new START Treaty with Russia into the equation one could make the case that Obama has made a remarkable comeback after the "shellacking" he and the Democratic Party took in the November mid-term elections which now seem like a lifetime ago. Could it be that President Obama's "mojo" has returned?
Well, perhaps it has returned. But as the old adage goes, "A week in politics is a lifetime." In seven days time, talk of President Obama having his "mojo" back or being bestowed as "the new comeback kid" could be as fleeting as a snowstorm in Boston.
To be fair, we don't know what the future holds for President Obama. However, if 2010 is any indication, he will invariably say and do things in 2011 that won't inspire the confidence of his fellow Americans. With this in mind, let us take a look back at a few of the most egregious things Obama said and did in 2010.
Publicly Dressing Down the Supreme Court at the State of the Union
Last January, while delivering the SOTU address, President Obama publicly rebuked the Supreme Court for its decision earlier the previous week in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which struck down limits on donations made to political campaigns by corporations. Obama said the decision "reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections."
As Obama was dressing down the Supremes, Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the phrase "not true." While Obama is not the first President to take the Supreme Court to task and it can be argued it was within his right to do so, it is nonetheless his obligation to ensure his criticisms are steeped in fact and in law. Even Jeffrey Toobin, a noted critic of Alito, takes Obama to task for his command of the facts. Toobin, a legal analyst for CNN, said the decision did not apply to foreign corporations. But why would Obama let the facts get in the way of a good argument? Yet his posturing might do damage for years to come. Last October, Alito indicated he would not likely be in attendance during President Obama's 2011 SOTU address. Chief Justice John Roberts has also indicated he might also be absent. Of course, Obama could remedy the situation with an apology. But don't count on it.
We Say Corpsman, Obama Says Corpseman
For that matter, don't count on President Obama apologizing to the U.S. military either. Last February, during his speech before the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama pronounced corpsman as "corpseman" -- twice. Now one could argue that such a transgression was unintentional and thus insignificant. Yet the last I checked President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces. Pronouncing the rank of our men and women in uniform correctly is the very least he can do.
How Obama Treats His Guests
Being invited to the White House to have an audience with the President is considered an honor. However, in the case of this President, even invited guests sometimes find themselves unwelcome.
In late February, President Obama had a White House meeting with the Dalai Lama. At first, it was seen as a good move after Obama had snubbed the Tibetan spiritual leader during his previous visit to Washington in October 2009. Obama's snub was correctly viewed as a means to placate China before his visit to Beijing the following month. The problem was that Obama treated the Dalai Lama like garbage -- figuratively and literally. Their meeting was neither open to the press nor were official White House photographs taken to document the event. Then, to make matters worse, Obama showed the Dalai Lama the door. It was a door which led to a large pile of refuse.
Let's just say the Dalai Lama was afforded considerably more respect by Obama's predecessor. When the Dalai Lama visited Washington in October 2007, President Bush presented him with the Congressional Gold Medal.
It should then come as no surprise to anyone that President Bush treated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with considerably more courtesy than has President Obama. Unlike Obama, Bush never walked out of a White House meeting with Netanyahu telling him to let himself out. But this is precisely what Obama did when the entire force of his Administration came down on Netanyahu for building housing in East Jerusalem back in late March. If only Obama had shown this kind of passion against Iran's nuclear program.
The 2010 Sgt. James Crowley Award For Casting Aspersions Against Law Enforcement
This year's award goes to every state, county and local law enforcement official in Arizona. Last April, after Arizona had introduced tough new measures to combat illegal immigration in the state, President Obama wasted little time in telling police officers in Arizona what he thought of them. During a speech at a townhall meeting in Ottumwa, Iowa, the President said, "But now, suddenly, if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed." The President said that as if Arizona state troopers were planning to stake out every Baskin-Robbins along I-17. What would they call such a mission? Operation Rocky Road?
President Obama might have regained some good will, but it will come as no surprise to me if he squanders it all by this time next year.
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