Bloomberg news reports the following statement by Barack Obama in his speech at the Summit of the Americas, after Daniel Ortega had spent an hour ripping into the U.S. (emphasis mine):
“You can’t blame the U.S. for every problem in this hemisphere,” Obama said. “I am very grateful that President Ortega didn’t blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”
The words which jumped out at me were Obama’s hope that he wouldn’t be blamed “for things that happened when I was three months old.” That phrase is similar to the analysis Obama used to excuse his friendship, and political coordination early in his career, with domestic terrorist bomber William Ayers. Obama excused the relationship because Ayers’ crimes were committed when Obama was just eight years old (emphasis mine):
“Mr. Ayers is somebody who lives in Chicago. He’s a professor at the University of Chicago, Illinois, teaches education, and he engaged in these despicable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old. I served on a board with him.”
There is something truly bizarre about this reasoning. If something happened when Obama was not of a certain age (we know it is at least eight years old, although we don’t know where the line is drawn) then he accepts no responsibility. That is fine if one is talking about personal responsibility only. Obama is no more responsible on a personal level for what others did, be it yesterday or 30 years ago, than anyone else.
But Obama no longer is “anyone else.” Obama is the President and bears the burden of dealing with accusations and attacks on this country related to events which did not take place on his watch.
If Obama agreed with the attacks by Ortega, Chavez and others, then Obama should have had the guts to say so, and dealt with the domestic consequences. That would have been brave. If Obama didn’t agree, then he should have had the guts to stand up for his country then and there, in front of the tyrants. That would have been even braver.
The one option no longer available to President Obama is to hide behind his narcissistic view of his own personal responsibility. That is cowardly. The presidency is bigger than the person, and only a big person realizes and accepts that fact.
UPDATE No. 2: Some Obama supporters either misunderstand, or deliberately minimize, the nature of Chavez. This from Washington Monthly:
To be sure, Chavez is an odious figure. But he’s also the twice-elected head of state of a large South American country with 30 million people. GOP rhetoric notwithstanding, there’s no downside to improving our relations with the country’s leadership.
This type of minimization is ignorant. Chavez routinely arrests, and has street mobs beat, opposition supporters and candidates. Just days ago, on Chavez’s express order, a leading opposition leader was arrested on trumped up “corruption” charges. Almost simultaneously, Chavez had the national legislature, which he controls, create a new governmental structure to run the capital, so as to displace the elected mayor of Caracas, who happened to be a member of the opposition. Read these articles, among many, before ignoring that Chavez systematically has destroyed the democratic nature of Venezuela, and is a brutal thug: Chavez accused of behaving like ‘dictator’ ahead of elections, Chavez foes face intimidation ahead of vote.
Obama disgraced himself and his country by carrying on with Chavez like long lost friends. If Obama wanted to open a dialogue with Chavez, he could have done so in a way that did not demonstrate an affection for the man. By creating such a visual embrace, Obama abandoned the people of Venezuela, who naively may have hoped that Obama would stand by their side, rather than with the soon-to-be President-for-Life. See my prior post, Obama Throws Venezuelans Under The Bus.