In a survey released by the Pew Research Center, Americans have a couple of words to describe President Barack Obama as he heads into the final two years of his White House rule. According to a poll of 1,504 American adults, the most common words used to describe Obama are “good” and “incompetent.” This jibes with Pew’s findings from 2013, which found that the same two words were used most frequently in labeling the leader of the free world.
The takeaway is that Americans regard the president as a generally good person who just happens to be bad at his job. It’s really no wonder; Barack Obama has cultivated a perception of himself as a genial, quick-witted politician who seems like he could relax and shoot the breeze with anyone. At the same time, this perception could not be any further off the mark. A look at Obama’s background and his presidency does not point to a good man who just happens to be incompetent.
The Wrong Criticism
Americans who disagree with their political leaders (or anyone, really) are often quick to label them as idiots. But no rational, thinking human being can honestly believe that President Obama is an idiot. Far from it. You can’t reach the highest office in the land without being extraordinarily intelligent. Liberals used to struggle with this when Bush was in office. Based on his plain-spoken, “jes’ folks” manner and his occasional flubs, they wanted to paint him as a drooling moron. But they couldn’t reconcile that with their other picture of him: a shrewd, calculating conqueror who wanted to spread American evil throughout the Middle East in exchange for oil.
But Bush was no idiot, and neither is Obama. Incompetency is somewhat at right angles to idiocy – you can be smart and incompetent if you’re also lazy – but Obama’s primary problem is not his incompetence. He has perhaps not been as effective in the White House as he might have hoped, but he has not been derailed by missteps. The last six years, in large part, have played out according to plan.
Behind the slick speeches, the humor, and the handsome exterior is a man who came to office wanting to “fundamentally” transform America. And he has gotten dangerously close to doing just that. You can argue whether that transformational strategy is the work of a “good” man or not, but it is certainly contrary to the spirit of this nation. And falling for the ruse that Obama is a good guy with poor leadership skills is a big mistake. The truth has been exposed by Jeremiah Wright, Jonathan Gruber, Benghazi, the executive action on amnesty, the favoritism towards Islam, and the racial animus that has been bubbling beneath the surface for six years.
One day, the true story of Barack Obama will be written. It will not be the story of a good man who tried to succeed, only to be derailed by mistakes. It will be the story of a man who hated everything about the United States and did everything in his power (and a few things outside it) to change it into something else. His only incompetence was in underestimating the number of Americans who liked their country just the way it was.