Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Worst Lessons

I've been traveling during the past week or so. When I'm on and off planes, I like to bring my Kindle along. An e-reader is unbeatably easy to pack, and there are no worries about a hard copy book suffering bent pages or ripped covers.

There are several unread books queued up in my Kindle, for I still prefer to hold a book in my hands, turn pages, and measure my progress with a bookmark. (I also prefer to avoid having my reading habits tracked and recorded by some unknown scribe of the cyberworld.) But when I'm on an airplane and on the move, I catch up on Kindle reading.

In light of current political events, I decided to read a book about President Obama. It's titled The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama, co-authored by Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan. I was never a fan of our 45th president, but as most conservatives did, I suffered through his two terms with fatalistic resignation. I accepted that he was president, and that his presidency would end in due time; I hoped the country would survive relatively intact until it did.

I'm not sure that the country did survive intact. In reading The Worst President, seeing all of Obama's transgressions against the rule of law and the Constitution laid out in stark sequence, I was left incredulous at the flagrant offenses he got away with so easily. The compliant left-wing media didn't challenge him, and the Republicans didn't have enough stomach to sustain any confrontation. Obama's opponents were punished, national institutions were weaponized against citizens who disagreed with him, due process was often ignored. Today, look where we are.

If President Trump had committed even one of Obama's numerous executive overreaches, he would've been impeached immediately. In fairness, take just one situation--Obama's hot mike moment with the Russian president: "After my election I have more flexibility." Can you imagine the political elite's reaction if President Trump had said that? Can you imagine their reaction if it had been Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, who had gotten a political leader fired in exchange for financial aid (and to benefit his son) and then bragged about it on videotape? Of course you can; we're living through their reaction to far less.

The Worst President in History is a depressing read, but it's an important one. Barack Obama's presidency was historic for many reasons, perhaps none so significant as the instigation and fomenting of ever-rising levels of intolerance in our national discourse. Obama found ways to divide us whenever he could. Americans used to be able to argue and debate politics in a respectful manner; that ability is largely absent now. I, for one, blame the person that I agree is the worst president in our history: Barack Hussein Obama.