Getting inside the mind of Barack Obama has been a challenge for journalists since the 2008 presidential campaign. But during the last two and a half years, as the public has gotten more familiar with the president, the picture is becoming a bit clearer.
On Thursday’s syndicated “Hugh Hewitt” radio show, columnist and National Review Online contributor Mark Steyn offered some thoughts. After host Hugh Hewitt referenced a Wednesday interview with Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, in which he wondered aloud about what motivated Obama to make grand policy gestures, Steyn suggested that perhaps this was the first time Obama stayed in a job long enough to see his actions effect change.
“I think that is interesting,” Steyn said. “I mean, I think that if you look at Obama, he was wafted upwards basically through Columbia, Harvard Law, the Harvard Law Journal, community organizing, the Illinois legislature, the United States Senate – without ever lingering in those jobs long enough to have to do anything. He basically was someone who was kind of just wafted upwards through the system until he became the beneficiary of the ultimate waft into the Oval Office. And for the first time – for the first time in his life the words he said, and the actions he takes have consequences – for the first time ever. This is a guy who, you know as far as I know, has never had a paper route. This is the first time what he does has consequences and so the senator’s words are interesting.”
Steyn wondered if Obama realized what he was saying last week when he suggested a return to 1967 borders for Israel.
“And the fascinating thing about this 1967 borders stuff is whether he intended it as a conscious shift in U.S. policy that would allow the Israeli government or whether it – with the casual arrogance of his half-wit 12-year-old speechwriter, it just somehow got in there and he finds himself up there saying it,” Steyn said. “That’s what I don’t understand.”
However with that in mind, Steyn suggested there were historical and psychological reasons behind the president’s attitude toward long-time U.S. allies, specifically the United Kingdom, India and Israel.
“As we were talking last week, you know I think he has a — I think it’s hard to avoid the growing feeling that he is a contempt for long-time American allies,” he said. “I think he has in that sense a contempt for the United Kingdom and India. I hear from Indian politicians all the time and Indian diplomats who are amazed at his off-handedness toward India. And I think Israel falls into that category too. There are deep-seated historical reasons for this. I think there are perhaps some peculiar psychological ones in the back of his mind too. But I think he thought he was getting in a cheap shot at Israel and as usual, as with all this great, you know – the greatest speaker of all time, after he has given his great speech, the great orator then has to go out and give these mopping-up speeches every 48 hours to try to correct the damage he’s done.”