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Friday, December 31, 2010

RIGHT AND WRONG, ACCORDING TO OBAMA

President Obama, to use his own description of Hillary, is "likeable enough". He comes across (when he's not campaigning) as friendly, intelligent and possessed of a good sense of humor. But just when your feeling not so bad about him personally he wanders off the presidential reservation and gives up the chief executive persona in favor of being the nation's moral arbiter. It's perplexing, impolitic, and borderline obnoxious. No one likes a posture of moral superiority, especially in a president but Obama can't seem to help himself.

First it was the "beer summit" which was nothing more than an intrusion into a minor local law enforcement issue. Riding to the defense of his friend, Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates, and without knowing all the details of the incident, he pronounced the behavior of the Cambridge police officers who were answering a call to protect Gate's property "dumb". This in spite of the fact that Gates had gone off the edge, started hollering about race and refused to cooperate with the investigating officers. Elevating this local skirmish to a presidential peace summit was itself just plain "dumb".

Then came the issue of the "9-11 site" Islamic mosque. This again was, and is, a local issue. New Yorkers and residents of New Jersey who had lost friends and family members in the attack, were understandably offended by this particular choice of locations for this particular mosque. It was not a matter of the "right" of the developer to build a mosque, it was a matter of a lack of sensitivity and common sense. What it definitely was not, was an issue of federal public policy, yet Obama once again felt it necessary to instruct the citizens of New York, the families of the 9-11 victims and the nation in his version of religious tolerance and the "true" nature of Islam.

Now, in his latest effort to be the American Dalai Lama, Obama is publicly congratulating professional football player Michael Vick on his “self rehabilitation” after serving time for running a dog fighting operation. Vick was also guilty of torturing and killing dogs that didn't "perform" adequately in the fighting ring. Why is the President of the United States interjecting himself and the prestige of his office into an episode of such despicable nature ? Vick has made the mandatory and predictable apologies. He says he's sorry. Of course, but is he sorry for his horrendous and inhuman behavior or is he sorry he was caught and sentenced to prison?

 Obama is happy that the Philadelphia Eagles gave Vick a "second chance" and that Vick has chosen a path of moral redemption, a lesson of forgiveness that Obama apparently wants to teach to the American public. But how hard is it to rehabilitate oneself if you are being paid millions of dollars to play a professional sport. Is this really a genuine achievement on Vick's part or is he just extremely lucky that he has marketable skills and found a team that is willing to overlook serious character flaws to enhance their profit and loss statement? Only time will tell, but it's time for the moralizer in chief to give up the pulpit and get back to the serious problems that confront the nation.

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