Obama's Shop of Horrors | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Obama’s Shop of Horrors
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Oh lucky, lucky you! You thought when you subscribed to The American Spectator or picked it up defiantly on the newsstand that you were getting merely the omnium gatherum of all the intellectual vibrancy of Western civilization with a few amusing insights thrown in. You never thought you were getting something more, a compendium of High Art. Yet here on the cover of perhaps the last word in quality magazines you find that you have purchased the official White House portrait of our 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama, BA, LLD, and, of course, Nobel Prize laureate. Well congratulations! We send the failed president’s portrait on to you as an added manifestation of how much we admire you for your intellectual independence and for paying what are increasingly becoming inordinately high taxes. 

Back in February 1981 we gave our first official White House portrait of a failed president to Jimmy Carter. Do you remember him? As the nation’s chief executive officer he had fought off an amphibious rabbit while he was sulking ona pond somewhere in jerkwater. He had abused the sleep of his fellow passengers in the early hours of the morn as they all rode down the Mississippi in the riverboat Delta Queen as he sedulously jogged 22 laps around its upper deck just prior to passing out in some marathon somewhere. He had ruled out government-commissioned official portraits as an effort toward economy pursuant to balancing the federal budget that was then a mere $458,000,000,000 (billion). So we at our own expense commissioned Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jeff MacNelly to produce his official portrait and help Jimmy save money while ensuring that his buffoonish administration would not be forgotten. I am afraid in that we failed. If anyone can still recall the Carter presidency he or she probably works at the Carter Presidential Library, if it is still open and has not been returned to its former condition as a cut-rate gas station in Plaines, Georgia. 

At any rate, as a historical curiosity we reproduce Jimmy’s portrait here. You may run off a few copies if you wish. No one will care. President Carter was the worst president in American history. With his presidency, the late presidents James Buchanan and Warren Gamaliel Harding were redeemed. Jimmy failed in domestic policy and in foreign policy, and when he left the White House on his last day in office the White House door slammed on his rump. Luckily for the average Americano, his replacement was a historic success in both areas of presidential endeavor. He bequeathed us a roaring economy and a moribund Evil Empire. Finally, just to address one of the liberals’ sempiternal ripostes about him, Jimmy’s successor, President Ronald Reagan, did leave a deficit, but it was puny by contemporary standards and, withal, it was receding as a percentage of the then-robust GDP. 

Our deficit today is running in the trillions of dollars each year. President Obama has, in five years, run up the debt more than all the presidents from Washington to Clinton combined, and Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt had to fight world wars. What is more, President Obama has failed utterly in domestic policy and in foreign policy. Our growth rate over his five years in office is exiguous.Our unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, with millions of unemployed having given up looking for work. The national debt is over $17,000,000,000,000 (trillion), and the nincompoop has just launched the most expensive domestic initiative ever, Obamacare. It is an utter botch. Obama’s health care rollout—of the largest, indeed most mammoth, government program in history—has disrupted some 300 million Americans who heretofore had perfectly adequate health care on behalf of a tiny percentage of uninsured persons who can still go to any hospital in the land and be treated. He has outdone Jimmy Carter in spades. Barack Obama, whose qualifications for the presidency consisted ofseven years in the Illinois legislature, three years in the Senate, and aside from that, rousing the rabble on Chicago’s South Side, is the most ill-prepared president in our history and the worst. Jimmy, you are redeemed! 

In recognition of President Obama’s historic achievement we have prepared for him—three years before the White House door slams for the last time on his rump—his Official White House Portrait. If it looks somewhat like Jimmy’s portrait, well, so does his presidency. 

Yet he has added a few flourishes of his own. As this issue of The American Spectator reports, he has added a Trifecta of Scandals. First, of course, there is Obamacare. Ira Stoll essays its full catastrophe. Second, there is the historically unparalleled politicization of the IRS. Robert Stacy McCain presents it to you with the victims, the victimizers, and the major acts of malversation. Third, there is the tragedy and cover-up of Benghazi, a scandal that I believe Jed Babbin and I have liberated from the shadows of government obfuscation and opened to renewed congressional and journalistic scrutiny. Hillary: When standing by State Department official Sean Smith’s casket, you lied to his mother about the cause of his death. 

When Jimmy Carter was pursuing the presidency, he said, “If I ever lie to you, don’t vote for me.” As politicians go he was relatively truthful. Obama, on the other hand, has been a stupendous liar, and it did not start with “If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.” What is more, he has been stupendously lawless, choosing which laws passed by Congress to enforce and which to ignore. But in one final category of statecraft he has been curiously at one with Jimmy. Both practiced denial. As we wrote of Jimmy in 1981 so too we can write of Obama and the Democrats in 2014, “Our economy is not their fault. Iran is not their fault. Our diminished place in a dangerous world is not their fault.” 

Jimmy was a failure as president and even as ex-president, with his visits to foreign despotisms and numerous historic slurs on America. Obama is a worse failure…and we still have three years of his presidency unless he does the decent thing. Take this picture Barack, and step down. Let someone of a suave and ingratiating competence run the country. Give Joe Biden his chance. 

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
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R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief ofThe American Spectator. He is the author of The Death of Liberalism, published by Thomas Nelson Inc. His previous books include the New York Times bestseller Boy Clinton: The Political Biography; The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; The Liberal Crack-Up; The Conservative Crack-Up; Public Nuisances; The Future that Doesn’t Work: Social Democracy’s Failure in Britain; Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House; The Clinton Crack-Up; and After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery. He makes frequent appearances on national television and is a nationally syndicated columnist, whose articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, National Review, Harper’s, Commentary, The (London) Spectator, Le Figaro (Paris), and elsewhere. He is also a contributing editor to the New York Sun.
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