Last week’s Tweet of President Barack Obama with rolled up sleeves, enjoying a waffle cone and wishing Americans “Happy Memorial Day,” may have been nothing more than an effort by the President’s political hacks to convince the American people that he is, after all, a “regular guy.” Perhaps it was drafted and sent by some obscure, 20s-something political operative with no idea what the true meaning of Memorial Day is. Whatever. Sadly, over the past six-and-a-half years, we have seen many such examples of Obama’s insensitivity to our country’s history, heritage and culture.
Far more serious, however, were the President’s own words last week to the graduating class at the United States Coast Guard Academy.
In his remarks – designed by protocol to address America’s newest military leaders at all of our service academies — Obama warned of an issue that “constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security”; one that requires our immediate attention. Considering the fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to Islamic State forces only days prior, one might have expected the President’s comments to focus on the growing threat presented by that terror organization. Or, perhaps he was about to alert the young officers to the threat posed by China’s bellicosity in the Far East; or Russia’s resurgent imperialist designs.
But no. The man designated in our Constitution as America’s Commander-in-Chief was instead directing our armed forces to focus its attention elsewhere; on what to him is an over-arching, global national security threat: climate change.
The fall of Ramadi, a crushing symbolic blow to the sacrifice of blood and resources expended by the United States a decade earlier in the Iraqi War, barely registered a blip on the Administration’s radar. It fell to Josh Earnest, Obama’s media mouthpiece, to deflect criticism of the President’s anemic response to ISIL’s latest victory. With a very straight face, the young Mr. Earnest stated that the President’s strategy actually has been a success overall; he went so far as to lecture reporters that this Administration was not going to “light our hair on fire” every time there might be a “setback” on the ground.
But change the subject to the real national security threat these young officers will face in the years ahead, according to this President – climate change – and the tone becomes deadly serious.
We are witnessing the transition of the President of the United States from the Commander-in-Chief to the “Weatherman-in-Chief.” If it were not so deadly serious, it would make for a delightful Will Ferrell movie. Unfortunately for us, it’s a real world out there, not a Hollywood production; real people die when mistakes are made, and a country’s vital national security interests are diminished when leaders fail to grasp reality or heed history. This President is in so far over his head he could swim upwards for the remaining two years of his presidency and never break the surface.
The list of serious issues facing the United States is long: unresolved crises at our borders, civil liberties and the NSA, the national debt, the sluggish economy, mounting ObamaCare bills, Vladimir Putin, a nuclear Iran, and the list goes on and on. Yet it is the largely discredited specter of climate change that registers front and center on this Administration’s list of threats to our national security.
Whether Obama actually believes his own rhetoric, or is simply playing to the liberal base of the Democratic Party is unclear; and it’s likely a combination of motivations.
Obama’s view of the world, and of America’s position in it has been shown by his rhetoric and actions alike to have no anchor in history or understanding. But he is a sufficiently savvy politician to grasp the fact that periodically waving the red flags that excite the liberal base – including, of course, “global warming” and climate change – garners media support and poll points. He also knows that, if such themes are trumpeted in conjunction with the term “national security,” it can be made to appear (to some, at least) that he actually knows something about national security. Smoke and mirrors played professionally and well.
The non sequitur of linking climate change – regardless of whether real, not real, or imagined – with the daunting, real world challenges our armed forces face and will be facing in the world, tends to “degrade” our country’s ability to focus on those real problems. At the same time, it erodes the important calling for America’s best and brightest young people to strive to become officers by attending one of our service academies. After all, if you are simply going to spend a career fighting the weather, there are easier paths to follow than surviving the rigors of four years at West Point or Annapolis.
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Bob Barr, represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.
Bob Barr is the author of The Meaning of Is: The Squandered Impeachment and Wasted Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton (2004), and LESSONS IN LIBERTY (2008), as well as co-author with Gary Aldrich of Thunder on the Left: An Insider’s Report on the Hijacking of the Democratic Party (2003)