A few weeks ago I opined the gulf between the left and right in America is so deep, vast and irreconcilable, that we really should divide into two countries. That unlikely event, messy though it would be with a long and bumpy shakeout, would at least enable us to carry on our affections from behind the comfort of new boundaries while devoting efforts to developing and strengthening our country instead of wasting so much energy in the ongoing political civil war.
In the aftermath of an election the left still cannot accept – after all, power is their birthright — Obama plows headlong into petulant fits of sabotaging his successor, bent on as much damage as time remaining allows. I always did see him as the little boy president who never grew up as I watched chest-thumping in rapture over his own greatness and strutting like Mussolini for the mirror or camera, raising narcissism to new heights.
My betters on the left would knee-jerk to label me racist for that observation, unable or unwilling to see that my pejorative judgments are based on Obama’s actions and policies but racially quite neutral because I care about what he does, not the color of his skin.
I doubt Obama’s stunted maturity is entirely his fault; having lived a life receiving fawning praise, he never so much as managed a hot dog stand before his leftist admirers elected him President and anointed him Messiah. A local Fayetteville eatery summed up my view of undeserved adoration with a sign reading, “Free Nobel Prize with each big burger meal!”
My disparaging point here is the immense distance between me and liberals who see Obama as vote-worthy is but one illustration among many that our political war has no chance of settlement, ever.
Thinking back to Obama’s election in 2008, I remember George W. Bush taking careful pains to respect the decision of voters, involving and consulting with President-elect Obama in an effort to avoid unnecessary obstacles in his transition. After he left office, Bush was very restrained, keeping silent even as little-boy-Obama publicly blamed Bush a thousand times to make excuses for himself. There is a model of honor in Bush’s conduct, but I don’t think Obama even knows what honor means.
Do you remember the last time Democrats vacated the White House? Rumors were the Clintons “stole” about $200,000 of goodies like silverware, china, etc. The truth is a bit more complicated and wrapped up in the rules on how certain gifts are treated. The Clintons did return about $48,000 in furniture, and they paid the government about $86,000 for other items, but $200,000 is too high and theft is too strong a word. The Reagans had to figure out some of these issues, too, but I don’t know the specifics.
The real problem in the Clinton Administration departure was sabotage by the staff. You’ll pardon my noting that staff usually take overt or subtle cues from the top, so the Clintons are not at all blameless. Here’s what the incoming Bush staff found waiting for them.
• About 100 computer keyboards were dysfunctional until replaced, the “W” key having been pried out, some keyboards had keys whited out.
• 10 phone lines had been sliced.
• Phone and fax lines were scrambled, plugged into incorrect outlets.
• 75 phone cover plates were missing.
• Pornographic messages were left on voicemail.
• Copier paper had nude photos mixed in with blank paper.
• Vaseline and glue had been smeared on desks and drawers.
• Phones and drawers were glued.
• Desk drawer handles had been removed.
• Old holiday decorations were left in place for successors to clean up.
• Presidential seals had been removed.
• 2 historic door knobs were missing.
• Overturned desks or furniture were found in 20% of offices.
• Anti-Bush graffiti was found in bathrooms and on file cabinets
• Refrigerators had been unplugged, leaving an unpleasant mess.
• TV remotes were missing.
• Locks were smashed.
• 8 loads of useable office supplies were recovered from trash.
I don’t know that anyone could possibly have been more disappointed than I was when Obama was elected eight years ago. But there were no riots, no conservative thugs beating up liberals, no strong-arm tactics against Obama voters, no organized effort to persuade electors to violate their commitment, no mainstream media spreading disparaging propaganda about the new president and thereby encouraging loutish behavior.
I seem to recall the Bush administration as a model of losing gracefully and conducting itself with an appropriate touch of welcoming class in the transition. It would be nice to see that same decorum as the Obama team departs, but with the boss who never earned his big-boy pants scrambling to push his leftist agenda over the top to block or frustrate his successor and poke one last finger in America’s eye, I am not optimistic Obama and his horde will suddenly sprout nobility from what I can only call their anti-American soul.
In what seems a disconnect with reality, Obama still struts and boasts of accomplishments while apparently unaware he has a dismal record of fomenting multi-faceted division at home.
Internationally he has a record of coddling leftist dictators, betraying America’s traditional friends, and encouraging America’s worst enemies by spreading an image of pathetic American weakness worldwide. I wonder if liberals will ever understand that the best assurance of peace is to be well prepared for war.
As I write this on Sunday, Jan. 8, there are 12 days to go and I wonder whether the Obama staff will vandalize the people’s White House to leave juvenile gift-bombs for their successors? Will Obama drop on us an 11th hour nastygram chock full of pardons for incarcerated leftist soulmates? Will he use his pardon powers to cut off due process for the Clintons or deserter Bowe Bergdahl? What attack on American tradition might Obama unveil in the coming days?
I’ve learned over eight years to keep my expectations low.
However repugnant the Obama departure may become, good riddance!
Meanwhile, the counter-maneuvers continue in our ongoing battle against each other, and you would be right to observe I am taking my own last chance to poke my finger in Obama’s eye. Sometimes in my more Pollyanna-ish moments, I wonder if we will ever find an agreeable way to co-exist. Pigs will fly first.
[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen.]