(Craig Shirley) – Is there anything so delightful as a child expressing innocent enthusiasm in what they want to be when he or she grows up? Johnny wants to be a fireman, Susie wants to be a doctor, and little Barack Obama wants to be Ronald Reagan.
We are in an era where anyone can redefine himself, man, woman, child, or whatever. A white woman calls herself black and liberals applaud. An old Olympian decides to reassign himself as a train wreck of a pseudo woman and liberals applaud again.
So why not Obama reimagining himself as something he’s not? He’s done it before. One might even derisively say, “There you go again.”
Obama, you are no Ronald Reagan.
Reagan hated class warfare and said so. Obama loves class warfare and says so. Reagan celebrated the individual and said so often. Obama celebrates the state and has said so often. Reagan believed in American Exceptionalism. Obama compares it to Greek Exceptionalism, which is like saying there is no American Exceptionalism.
Reagan created millions of new jobs and yet even so said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Obama creates a far fewer handful of jobs and nearly breaks his arm patting himself on the back.
Reagan tore down walls. Obama builds walls.
Reagan said “we” and “us” and “ours.” Obama says “I” and “me” and “my.”
Let’s face it, Barack Obama is as psychosocially fascinating as was Richard Nixon, who was a treasure trove of mental flaws and whose psyche is still being torn apart by the ultra left — to wit, Evan Thomas’ new book about the “dark side” of Nixon. (There have been so many formulaic books on Nixon, it’s a wonder he even had a light side.)
But I digress. Obama once again has compared himself to Reagan, which should be supremely disconcerting for all of us. For the president of the United States and leader of the free world to be as insecure and self-doubting as to compare himself repeatedly to another president is the ultimate expression of a lack of self-confidence.
This troubling insecurity is worrisome, and it is nothing new. No wonder our allies doubt our resolve and our enemies doubt our capacity. There are serious implications to having a president filled with self-doubt.
Just a few months after his inaugural, he met with a group of network executives — and there, when one liberal was overly fulsome in his praise of Obama’s lengthy stewardship of but a few weeks in the White House, Obama replied, “Yeah, I’m pretty good at it, aren’t I?”
How childish. How insecure.
Ronald Reagan never said such a juvenile and foolish thing. In fact, he was just the opposite. The more successful he became as president, the more humble he became, and the more awed he was of the presidency as an extension of the American people.
Self-confident people know how to handle such things. John Kennedy was once asked how he became a hero in World War II and he charmingly replied, “They sunk my boat.” When Sen. John McCain was asked how he became a hero of the Vietnam War, he dug in his toe Tom Sawyer-style and replied, “They shot down my plane.”
Reagan displayed similar courage and fortitude when he was shot in Washington, D.C., in 1981 and nearly died. “Honey, I forgot to duck” was just one pithy and world-reassuring line he said to Nancy. Reagan knew the world was an especially dangerous place in 1981 and he had to overcome the extreme pain he was in, near death, and show the world a cool and confident president who was still very much in control.
It was all so manly, Kennedy, McCain, and Reagan. There is nothing of the presidential manliness or charm about Obama.
Reagan — along with most other presidents, excepting notably Bill Clinton, another man-child like Obama — never compared himself, at least publicly, to other presidents. Clinton also compared himself to Reagan. Harry Truman, above all other presidents, would have compared himself to FDR and yet the old Missouri politician was too self-confident to ever do such a ludicrous thing.
Tellingly, Reagan quoted the Founders and Framers, FDR, and cited Calvin Coolidge.
Obama, as another expression of his lacking self-confidence, almost never quotes any other individual, save Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln. And himself.
Reagan quoted Winston Churchill. Barack Obama had his bust sent back to the British Embassy. Reagan rode rangy horses. Obama collects Marvel comic books.
Mr. Obama, tear down this myth. Take some advice. For once.
Ronald Reagan’s place in history is secure as one of our greatest chief executives. He saw America as did author Thomas Woolf, a great orchestra performing mighty music.
Obama? He’ll go down in history, but as a president who divided us rather than united us. He’ll go down in history as someone who took more than he left.
To paraphrase another aspirant for the vice presidency, a real hero of WWII, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen: “I knew Ronald Reagan. He was a friend of mine. And Obama, you’re no Ronald Reagan.”
Craig Shirley is the founder of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, which was chosen in 2005 by Springfield College as their Outstanding Alumnus, and has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater, where he taught a course titled “Reagan 101.”