President Obama is a man of many words, but few regrets. That’s not terribly unusual in anyone, particularly a skilled politician. But Barack Obama’s rare admissions of error are instructive.
This week the president expressed regret for trying to block Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court in 2006. Then-Senator Obama joined other Democrats in an attempted filibuster, even though Alito was ‘indisputably qualified,’ as the president himself might put it.
Of course, President Obama’s road-to-Damascus moment comes just as he is about to nominate a justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia. He now says it would be terribly unfair for those nasty Republicans to do exactly what he did a decade ago.
It is worth noting that the acknowledgement didn’t come from the president himself. Rather, he sent spokesperson Josh Earnest out to do his dirty work. The quasi-apology was better late than never, but would have been better earnest than Earnest.
Last week President Obama offered another apology of sorts during a speech in Illinois. He lamented the fact that, as president, he was unable to ‘pull the parties together’ as he had vowed to do.
This is from a president who routinely ridicules pretty much everyone who disagrees with his agenda. He has mocked Republicans as cowards who are ‘scared of widows and orphans.’ Barack Obama, who once bemoaned ‘pettiness’ in politics, has polarized Americans more than any president in modern history. That’s according to a Gallup poll, not some right-wing hate site.
But there is something far more disturbing than President Obama’s resistance to admitting error. Again, that’s not an uncommon human trait. It’s the fact that his few regrets are so miniscule, almost inconsequential. He said something astounding during last month’s State of the Union speech: ‘It is one of the few regrets of my presidency that the rancor and suspicions between the parties has gotten worse.’
Few regrets? Are you bleeping kidding, Mr. President? You have presided over the weakest recovery from a recession in recent history. While the official unemployment rate is under 5%, tens of millions of struggling Americans have simply given up looking for work. The national debt has ballooned to $19-trillion under your watch, even though you accused your predecessor of being ‘unpatriotic’ for running up the debt.
Illegal immigrants, many of them unaccompanied children, have come across our southern border with impunity. The jury is still out on ObamaCare, which has no doubt helped some Americans while harming many others who are paying far more for health insurance. Racial tensions are high, too often inflamed by the president and his minions.
And take a look around the planet. The Middle East is in turmoil, ‘red lines’ have been drawn and ignored, Christians are being beheaded, and refugees are pouring into Europe. China creates missile bases on disputed islands, Russia’s Putin thumbs his nose at the world, and Iran shows nothing but disdain for the Obama administration and the United States of America.
There can be little doubt that America has declined over the past seven years, both within our borders and in terms of our international reputation. But what does the president regret? First, a calculated political move he made ten years ago, and, second, his inability to curb the ‘rancor’ in politics. Other than those two minor items, President Obama apparently looks back at his two terms and sees nothing but sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. (Apologies to the late Lesley Gore.)
Last year President Obama took to the airwaves and identified the single ‘greatest threat to our planet.’ It isn’t nuclear Iran or terrorism or Putin or China. It’s climate change. Yes, the President of the United States is a man who has very, very few regrets. How about you?