There is nothing quite so pathetic as a performer who doesn’t know when the curtain is falling. He might be a singer who was once a rising star but is now reduced to taking the stage in smaller clubs, trying to recapture the audience spark by crooning a few old favorites.
That is a reasonable assessment of where Barack Obama is today as opposed to the halcyon days of 2009.
Back then he could bring down the house with a medley of his greatest hits, which included “I’m Going to Close that Terrorist Magnet Guantanamo Bay” followed by “The Term ‘Terrorist’ Is So Passé.”
Yesterday, he tried singing those oldies but baddies, and he got heckled — literally. You can hear the boorish lout in the background of this video capture of the speech.
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The heckler, as it turns out, was a minor celebrity herself. It was Medea Benjamin, of Code Pink, a radical-left protest group once so enamored of Obama that its co-founder, Jodie Evans, pledged in 2008 to raise at least $50,000 for the Democratic nominee.
Obama was himself aware of Benjamin’s taunts, which he initially tried to ignore, then gratefully acknowledged, and finally pretended to agree with. True, most of those in attendance at the National Defense University in Washington were on Obama’s side, offering up polite applause when he again urged Benjamin at around the 2:42 mark to let him finish his remarks. But anyone who follows show biz can tell you that an act is only as strong as the weakest drunk in the audience.
Especially when the drunk’s put-downs are on the money. Benjamin complained that Obama has been down this path before. He has. He promised to close the terrorist prison compound at Guantanamo Bay on Day 1 of his presidency. He subsequently threatened to bring prisoners from the facility on to the U.S. mainland for Article 3 trials before a “jury of their peers.” Neither, for better or worse, ever happened.
Nor is the war on terror at an end, thanks partly to his own clandestine and indiscriminate drone attacks on civilians and terrorists alike, including — nota bene — American citizens. His comment during the speech that the war against al-Qaeda has largely been won is largely mythical, as is evidenced by the events in Benghazi last Sept. 11, the truth of which his administration tried so hard to conceal.
The entire raison d’être for this speech was an attempt in the face of once again-sagging approval ratings to give the crowd what they want to hear. Or at least what he thinks they want to hear. What many of his fans and all of his detractors want to hear is what he knew — about the IRS targeting of conservatives, the changes in the Benghazi talking points, and the Justice Department assault on a free press — and when he knew it.
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