In the first few decades of the country's history, presidential candidates didn't even campaign, seeing the act of shilling for votes as inherently undignified. Surrogates would campaign on their behalf. Now presidential candidates not only campaign but seek out the stupidest shows to retail their demagoguery. "It is dying but it laughs," the Romans said of their disintegrating empire. Obama's America is dying too as it laughs with Whoopi, Joy, and Dave.
Low comics have become presidential vetters and late-night talk shows have become places of refuge after a terrorist attack. Between the back-slapping and guffaws, Letterman asked Obama if "an act of war" had occurred. Obama deflected the question, launching into a sermonette on how the Islamic world needs a slight attitude adjustment. Try to be nicer in the future, was the sermonette's essential message.
This week he kept up the patter on The View and at the UN. It is a toss-up as to which forum was more fatuous. His UN speech was hailed as a robust defense of free speech. Never mind that his administration tried to suppress the "Innocence of Muslims" video and sent police to the filmmaker's home on "unrelated" charges, hauling him off so that it could blast pictures of his arrest to North Africa and the Middle East.
"The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect," said Obama, who is on record supporting "hate-crime" legislation that would ban politically incorrect speech in the public square.
The real reason Obama doesn't suppress free speech is that he can't get away with it. At least not yet. As he wistfully noted in his speech, "at a time when anyone with a cellphone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button," government regulation of free speech is simply impractical.
But such musings didn't stop him from contacting YouTube to take the video down. He remains convinced that the source of Islamic terrorism is not centuries-old jihadist theology but Western provocation, and that if he just delivers a few more kindergarten-level instructions on anger management -- "there is no excuse for violence" and so on -- the problem will disappear.
Desperate to keep his "Bin Laden is dead" boast intact, he can't even bring himself to use the word "terrorism." To the ladies of The View, he only allowed that the Libyan debacle wasn't just a "mob action" and that "threats" still exist.
He emphasized that the terrorists represent only a minor "strain" in Islam. This is a lie, and not even a particularly flattering or useful one, as it invites the question: Is the U.S. really so weak that a tiny fringe can kill its diplomats and storm its embassies? For some reason Obama thinks the humiliation is lessened by arguing that the culprit was not a giant but a pipsqueak.
And he seems to think that this little band of jihadists will lay down their arms now they have seen his "disgust" on The View and heard his respect for "the Prophet" at the UN.
Notice that both Hillary Clinton and Obama have taken to referring to themselves as "believers," of what it is not clear, apparently thinking that that somehow improves their credibility in the eyes of jihadists, as if to say to them: We are not just rotten secularists, so listen up when we tell you that violence is no answer to blasphemy.
Jihadists torching the American flag on embassies and replacing it with the black flag of radical Islam don't appear to be in the mood for such lectures. But Obama kept trying at the UN, encouraging members to model their behavior after his measured response to "awful" insults, adding as a curious aside that "Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs."
Which sacred beliefs would those be? On multiple occasions, Obama has criticized the Bible, referred to Jesus Christ as "a" son of God (not the Son of God), dismissed St. Paul as "obscure," and called Abraham a nut on whom he would have called Child Services. Moreover, most of the anti-religious blasphemy comes from Obama's Hollywood pals, such as Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks, who considers opponents of gay marriage "un-American."
It is an election year, so Obama has to fake up a certain level of piety. On his campaign website, he now calls himself a "committed Christian" and has rolled out a four-minute ad on his outreach to "people of faith." But the key religion on his mind is Islam, whose adherents don't typically watch The View or take civility lessons from the UN.