What an 11th century king can teach Obama.
Two years ago last week, then Senator Obama won the Minnesota Democratic primary and in so doing clinched the party’s nomination for president. In the closing moments of his victory speech in St. Paul, he said the following.
“Generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment that we began to provide care for the sick and give jobs to the jobless. This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal. This was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last best hope on earth. This was the moment. This was the time.”
Those of us who never liked Obama surely never liked that statement. But more and more, even those who supported Obama don’t like that statement, most notably the so-called “independent” voters that made the critical difference. Even allowing for the inevitable rhetorical inflation of a political campaign, it is toweringly arrogant and stands now rebuked by events.
As syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer put it, when you anoint yourself a latter-day King Canute, you mustn’t be surprised when the peasantry becomes upset at the discovery that you don’t command the tides.
Certainly the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico shatters the image of a healing planet. This disaster is making the president appear feckless and impotent. In fairness, there is little that the president could have done to prevent the spill (other than support drilling on dry land where it is manifestly safer) and there is little he can do now to cap the well. The president’s discretion on the matter is limited to choosing which locker room language to use in his public statements on the subject.
With respect to care for the sick, according to polling data from Rasmussen, nearly two thirds of Americans want ObamaCare repealed. Most Americans believe that ObamaCare will end up costing more and delivering less than the present system and most Americans are convinced that we can’t afford it.
In St. Paul candidate Obama talked about jobs for the jobless. Since that speech, nearly seven million jobs have been lost and unemployment hovers stubbornly near ten percent despite nearly a trillion dollars spent on “stimulus.”
In St. Paul he talked about ending a war, that being the war in Iraq. Iraq is now the least of his problems. Iran is moving inexorably toward nuclearization, war could break out at any minute in Korea and Israel and Afghanistan slogs on as now the longest war in U.S. history.
As far as America’s standing in the world goes, the world’s thugs have bitten President Obama’s outstretched hand at every turn.
What are we to learn?
We learn that the arrogance of big government is without limit. Despite overwhelming real world experience, liberals doggedly persist in the pursuit of a benevolent, all-knowing government possessed of universal competence that provides for its citizens and shields them from every trouble. No such institution has or ever will exist.
It was King Canute himself that said so. Tired of the sycophants and yes men who surrounded him he ordered his throne taken to the shore. When he could not stop the tide from washing in on where he was seated he said,
“Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.”
You have to wonder if President Obama, in his private moments, can now relate.