*The following is the third in a series of three excerpts from David Limbaugh’s new book Crimes Against Liberty, which was released on Aug. 23. You can read the first excerpt here and the second excerpt here.
President Obama is the quintessential partisan, for sure, but he doesn’t reserve his vitriol for Republican politicians. He’ll turn on anyone who stands in his way, and he’ll make it personal through bullying, ridicule, and demonizing. Obama believes he can use his presidential bully pulpit to say whatever he wants about anyone or any group, whether foreign leaders, bankers, or tea party protestors.
Consistent with his narcissistic proclivities, Obama is angrily intolerant of his critics. He dismissed President Bush’s rare criticism by snapping, “We won.” Likewise, he lashed out at Senator John McCain for objecting to his stance on Iran, declaring, “Only I’m the president of the United States . . . and I’ll carry out my responsibilities the way I think is appropriate”—completely ignoring the substance of McCain’s criticism.
This is a hallmark of Obama’s governing style: he takes things personally and keeps score. He exudes a sense of entitlement about his agenda, expecting legislators to vote as he commands, as opposed to, say, their consciences or the wishes of their constituents.
For Obama, it’s more than just a matter of political power. There’s also his egotistical sense that he is absolutely right about everything, that everyone else is wrong, and that if given enough time, he can persuade the rest of the rubes of the superiority of his positions. We’ve seen how he attributed the public’s repudiation of his agenda via the Massachusetts Senate election to his failure to sufficiently explain his healthcare position—though he had talked ad nauseam on the issue. But it was true of other issues as well—even strong moral issues for which there would never be a consensus, as with his attempt to confront pro-life forces at Notre Dame.
He took the same tack with the issue of homosexuality. At a White House celebration of Gay Pride Month—a controversial act in itself—Obama said he aspired to persuade all Americans to accept homosexuality—as if the issue were simply about “accepting homosexuals,” and that anyone opposing special legal classifications for homosexuality was prejudiced, discriminatory, and as Obama claimed, possessed of “worn arguments and old attitudes.” He added, “There are good and decent people in this country who don’t yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters—not yet.”
As a candidate, Obama usually told voters what he thought they wanted to hear. He told an audience in Las Vegas he wanted to help “not just the folks who own casinos but the folks who are serving in casinos.” But after becoming president he wasn’t quite as solicitous. In one of his many anti-capitalist riffs he took a cheap shot at CEOs at a townhall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana, in February 2009. “You can’t take a trip to Las Vegas or down to the Super Bowl on the taxpayers’ dime.” Obama’s careless statement elicited a strong reaction from Las Vegas businessmen, many pointing out that if their business suffers, the first and hardest hit are the front line workers—the people at the front desk, the bell staff, and the taxi drivers, precisely the people Obama courted during the campaign.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reported that more than 400 conventions and business meetings scheduled in the city had been canceled, translating into 111,800 guests and more than 250,000 “room nights,” costing the city’s economy more than $100 million, apart from lost gaming revenue.
And despite British Petroleum’s assurances that it was “absolutely” responsible for the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Obama unleashed on BP a non-stop barrage of verbal abuse. Using language not usually heard from a U.S. president, he told NBC’s Today Show that he consults experts about the spill to find out “whose ass to kick.”
Even Obama’s supporters recognized he was resorting to sheer intimidation. As Democratic strategist James Carville noted, “It looks as if President Obama applied a little old-school Chicago persuasion to the oil executives.” But American presidents, of course, are not supposed to resort to this kind of outright thuggery to get their way. As Conn Carroll remarked on the Heritage Foundation’s blog, “Making ‘offers you can’t refuse’ may be a great way to run the mob, but it is no way to run a country.”
Based on his behavior as president, it is clear he truly believes his own hype. He behaves and governs as though he has been sheltered all his life, or at least since he was a young adult, living in a bizarre bubble, hearing only positive reinforcement and made to believe in his own supernatural powers. This is a major reason he cannot bear opposition; this is a major reason he is not, in the end, a man of the people and deferential to their will, but a top-down autocrat determined to permanently change America and its place in the world despite intense resistance from the American people themselves.
David Limbaugh is the author of Crimes Against Liberty.