During those wonderful decades when the great Chick Hearn called LA Lakers basketball games, whenever the Lakers had a game in the bag in the 4th quarter, Chick would let fly with favorite formula: “This game’s in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jigglin’!”
You can start saying that about Obama’s presidency. Or, if you like, you can note that he’s passed Jimmy Carter territory. I recall Henry Kissinger’s pithy summation of Carter’s foreign policy:
“The Carter administration has managed the extraordinary feat of having, at one and the same time, the worst relations with our allies, the worst relations with our adversaries, and the most serious upheavals in the developing world since the end of the Second World War.”
At least Carter looked like he cared, and even changed course in some visible ways.
By contrast Obama looks as though he really doesn’t care much about the job any more. With Germany threatening to nix a trade deal because of our spying in their country, Israel near a state of total war with Gaza, Russia picking and choosing what territory it wants to grab next, the Iranian nuclear negotiations hitting a “snag” this week (who could have seen that coming?), Iraq and Afghanistan slipping away, and our southern border in chaos, what does Obama do? Go to fundraisers, and announce an imminent 15-day vacation. Oh, and refuse to visit the border because he “doesn’t do photo-ops.” Instead, he shoots pool, and shakes hand with a horse’s head. I suspect he’ll kiss the other end next time, thinking he’s caught a reflection of himself in the mirror.
There is the distinct possibility that Obama is quite deliberate in his lackadaisical, not to say irresponsible, bearing. If one of your central designs is to shrink America’s influence in the world, slouching at the presidential desk is one way to accomplish it. It’s as though he saw an advance script of Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine a World Without Her and thought it was a how-to documentary.
Hope our European allies who swooned before Obama back in 2008 are liking how this came out. I was in Germany right after the 2008 election, and practically every shopkeeper and bartender I encountered, when recognizing I’m an American, declared how overjoyed they were about Obama’s election. Love to check in with them now.
But you can close the refrigerator door on this presidency. Hopefully the country won’t suffer a permanent chill before we can thaw out. The worst part of this is that Jimmy Carter will have a real reason to smile: he’s no longer the worst ever.