Barack Obama is commander-in-chief of the American military, but have you ever noticed that when it comes to military matters the president’s heart doesn’t seem to be in it? His speeches on topics such as Iraq, Afghanistan, ISIS, or Iran are delivered in the bored, detached voice of a man describing paint drying. A Marine NCO snaps him a respectful, perfectly executed salute and the president responds by casually waving a coffee cup at him. Several months ago the president bestowed the Medal of Honor on an American hero in the Oval Office. He might as well have been handing out a door prize at a chamber of commerce meeting. What should have been a solemn, respectful ceremony conducted by the President of the United States on behalf of a grateful nation had the feel of an unwelcome obligation to be gotten over with as soon as possible; a box to be checked and nothing more.
President Obama’s disdain for the military is a national disgrace, as his is record on military matters. But even more than being a disgrace, his disdain for all things military is dangerous—just ask the families of those Americans who died in Benghazi. Like Lyndon Johnson, President Obama is interested only in domestic matters. Lyndon Johnson wanted to conduct a war on poverty, but events intervened and he ended up conducting a war in Viet Nam—a war he mishandled in every possible way, much to the detriment of America and 58,000 plus military personnel killed there. President Obama, focused on healthcare reform and other domestic issues, is handling the war on terrorism even worse than Johnson handled the war in Viet Nam. Unfortunately for America, the stakes in the Middle East are even higher than they were in Southeast Asia.
President Obama’s only interest in the military seems to be how much he can cut from the defense budget. To this president, the military is little more than a convenient source of ready cash that can be diverted to entitlement programs. Since taking office, Barack Obama has targeted the defense budget for cuts so large they border on the irresponsible while at the same time expanding costly entitlement programs and adding expensive government regulations. It’s as if Barack Obama came into the presidency determined to focus on domestic programs while ignoring foreign affairs and military matters, a fact that at least partially explains the foreign relations and military disasters that have accumulated on his watch.
On the other hand, if he is talking about entitlement programs, reforming healthcare, government bailouts, new federal regulations, the redistribution of wealth, how Islam is a peace-loving religion, the supposed failings of George W. Bush, heartless Republicans, gun control, or the socialization of America’s economy he can be animated to the point of exuberance. President Obama reminds me of a college football coach who is so focused on one aspect of the game that he ignores all of the others. Teams with this type of coach lose, and that is what’s happening to America on the global stage: we are losing. Frankly, if Barack Obama were a college football coach he would have been fired by now.
All presidents come into office with an agenda, a plan for their presidency. However, most soon find that their plan has been overtaken by events. Few people come to appreciate the wisdom behind the adage, man plans and God laughs, more quickly than American presidents. Invariably events that were not expected intervene in ways that change more than the new president’s plan; they change the very character of his presidency. How presidents respond to these unplanned, unexpected events determines the success or failure of their presidencies. Just ask President George W. Bush. The plan for his presidency up to September 11, 2001 and the reality of his presidency post 9-11 are worlds apart. Suffice it to say that George W. Bush did not come into the presidency expecting to spend his time in office fighting a war on terrorism.
It is obvious that Barack Obama came into the presidency with a plan—albeit a flawed plan—for transforming not just America’s economy but our entire economic system. Putting aside the utter failure of his domestic policies, suffice it to say that he pretty much ignored foreign relations in favor of domestic politics, and America is now paying the price for his neglect. It’s as if President Obama thinks he can simply choose to deal with the issues he is interested in and ignore the rest. Unfortunately, it is the issues he chooses to ignore that are putting America at risk and Americans in harm’s way. Not only is Barack Obama a failed president, he is dangerous. As long as he occupies the White House, America is at risk.