The POTUS-in-Chief is the gift that keeps on giving this week.
In any other week, it would have been bigger news that he described himself, bizarrely, as “the closest thing to a Jew that has ever sat in” the Oval Office.
But this is also the week in which he took credit for having made the United States “once again…the most respected country on earth.”
Now the Blaze has picked up on another gem from his address on Monday to fellows of YSEALI, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative.
“As I always point out, democracy is hard,” Obama told the town hall gathering of 75 people with the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative at the White House Monday. “I think many of the things said about me are terribly unfair.”
“But the reason American democracy has survived so long is because people, even if they are wrong, have the right to say what they think,” Obama continued. “George Washington, our first president, complained terribly about some of the foolishness that was said about him.”
It would take the entire domestic staff of a 19th-century English country estate to unpack all the drive-by premises in this passage. For example, are we to understand that democracy is hard because unfair things may be said about Barack Obama? If so, what is the logical connection of one with the other?
But let’s restrict ourselves to a few brief points. One, Obama inverts the proposition about having the right to say what we think. It’s not a regrettable right that too often results in speech from people who are “wrong.” It’s an essential tool of figuring out what is “right.” The whole point of protecting this right for the people is that no one, not even Obama, is competent to end debate over who is “wrong” or “right,” on topics like the merits of his policies.
Two, George Washington actually – quite famously – refrained from complaining in public about the foolishness that was said about him. Biographers have found that he groused occasionally to his intimates on that head. But he is justly known for precisely the opposite of what Obama implies. He set America’s longstanding tone of tolerance for extremely vigorous political debate – some of it undoubtedly scurrilous and irresponsible – by refusing to complain in public, even though some of his advisors wanted him to.
And three: Obama is whining. There really isn’t much need to say more about that.
I note that he did manage to get in a signature dig at his “most respected country on earth”:
Still, he said “it’s important for America to realize we are not perfect either.”
Wouldn’t want Americans getting on our high horse.