Understanding Barack Obama

In a nearby post, Paul Mirengoff examines Colin Kaepernick’s recent statements to deduce where he is coming from. Kaepernick is an idiot. It is therefore difficult to attribute a coherent line of thought to him. Paul deduces that if Kaepernick understands what he is saying (a big if), he is an old-fashioned Marxist radical. Paul pulls up a little short of the conclusion, leaving it at “a serious leftist,” but it is inherent in his analysis. And Paul knows what he is talking about.

This is obviously a useful exercise. Kaepernick is a paltry subject, yet he presents as a useful case study. We are dealing with his ilk everywhere we turn.

In the spirit of Paul’s inquiry, I would like to pause over Barack Obama’s statement on the death of Fidel Castro. I included Barack Obama’s full statement on the death of Fidel Castro in “#TrudeauEulogies: A selection.” Here it is, once more once:

At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.

For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.

Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.

Castro was an evil man. He was a Communist dictator. He was a cruel tyrant. He was a brutal murderer. He turned his island into a squalid Communist museum. He was an avowed enemy of the United States. He brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Yet Castro had many fans on the left. They understood where he was coming from. They sympathized with his professed goals. They supported his destination. They credited him with mythical accomplishments. They suspended judgment about the means he employed to achieve these mythical accomplishments.

What manner of man talks about Castro as Obama does? Virtually alone among the liberal commentariat, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen expresses disgust with Obama: “[Obama’s statement] is blank of moral judgment, empty of indignation, blind to injustice, dismissive of history and indifferent to injury.” Cohen, however, wrongly attributes to Obama a doctrine that requires the withholding of moral judgment.

This does not seem quite right to me. Obama’s non-judgmentalism extends in one direction only.

Obama is not an old-fashioned Marxist radical. Rather, he is a Progressive. According to him, History is moving Left, and his mission is to help it along. Why History needs his help, we’re not sure.

Obama’s Progressivism does make him old-fashioned. He is an old-fashioned fellow traveler. He is an apologist. For him there are no enemies to the left.