Newsflash: Steyn Eviscerates Obama Again

Mark Steyn is one of the few non-Objectivist writers I can think of who says the right thing more often than not, even when the right thing is politically incorrect. He has ample opportunity to do so, of course, given the Obama presidency, and in an article in the National Review he’s true form.

Discussing Obama’s tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, he says:

Like a lot of guys who’ve been told they’re brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn’t always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the “Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act.”

Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That’s how I’d put it.

This is what the president of the United States said: “Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world’s imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is.”

Now Obama’s off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he’s talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased’s family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it’s the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving, and true. Indeed, for Obama, it’s the work of seconds, because he has a taxpayer-funded staff sitting around all day with nothing to do but provide him with that sentence.

Instead, he delivered the one above. Which, in its clumsiness and insipidness, is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: “The loss of Daniel Pearl.” He wasn’t “lost.” He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his “loss” merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none.

I quoted more than I like to here, but I think this is important stuff. So many people, I think, like Obama as they do at least in part because he strikes them as so eloquent and statesman-like. Steyn points out here that he really isn’t, and it’s not just an inability to think on his feet that holds Obama back. It’s something deeper.

That is:

Notice how reflexively Obama lapses into sentimental one-worldism: Despite our many zip codes, we are one people, with a single imagination. In fact, the murder of Daniel Pearl teaches just the opposite — that we are many worlds, and worlds within worlds. Some of them don’t even need an “imagination.”

It’s an overly simplistic analysis, but I’ll say it nevertheless: this gives a hint to Obama’s fundamental anti-Americanism. He simply does not see anything special about America that is worth noting in a speech like this or in his foreign policies in general. This isn’t what Steyn says specifically—and do, read the entire article, but Steyn says some important things—but it’s what strikes me about Obama at every turn.

It’s not fair to have dragged you into this article under such pretenses, however, and so yes of course Steyn is talking about Obama’s generally vapid sense of things and inability to articulate the principles involved. In the end, though, Steyn is really (and appropriately) more about what Obama thinks about such things as terrorism in general and what that means for America:

I mentioned last week the attorney general’s peculiar insistence that “radical Islam” was nothing to do with the Times Square bomber, the Pantybomber, the Fort Hood killer. Just a lot of moments “capturing the world’s imagination.” For now, the jihadists seem to have ceased cutting our heads off. Listening to Obama and Eric Holder, perhaps they’ve figured out there’s nothing much up there anyway.

In short, it doesn’t mean anything good.

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