Alex Massie

Does Obama Like Tyrants More Than He Hates America?

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Let us accept that Barack Obama is going to disappoint many of us in many different ways. Let us further accept that this is only to be expected and that, yup, one of the awkward things about democracy is that sometimes the other mob wins. There is, however, no need to lose your mind when that happens. This must be what has happened to Michael Ledeen. There's no other charitable explanation for his latest outburst:

I think that he rather likes tyrants and dislikes America. I think he'd like to be more powerful, I think he is trying to get control over as much of our lives as he can, so that he can put an end to the annoying tumult of our public life. As when he said (about health care) to the Congress, "Okay, you've talked enough, now it's time to do the right thing (my thing)." And he's trying to end American power in the outside world. He's saying "I'm going to stop us, before we kill again."

[...] American politics are very fractious, and always have been. Leaders are constantly frustrated, and some of them come to yearn for an end to our freedom. They think they know best, they just want to tell us what to do and have us shut up and do it. I think Obama is one of them. He's not naïve. It's different. He doesn't like the way things work here, he thinks he can do much better, and he's possessed of the belief that America has done a lot of terrible things in the world, and should be prevented from doing such things ever again. The two convictions mesh perfectly. It's The Best and the Brightest run amok. Never mind that the Best and the Brightest are chiefly remembered for their contribution to Vietnam (damn liberal pacifists!), this sort of stuff is just hatstand bananas. In other words, it makes no sense at all nd only crack-pots can think it does. Granted, there are plenty of crack-pots out there but to the extent that this sort of stuff extends into Congress sensible people in other countries, no matter how conservative they may be, have to hope that the Republican party isn't trusted with running things until it purges this tripe from its system.

Conor Friedersdorf deals with Ledeen in fine style:

And of course the neo-fascist Obama also wants to end his country’s influence on the rest of the world, um, just like Mussolini, Stalin, Castro, and Hitler, because that’s what Democrats who envy powerful tyrants do? That explains President Obama’s choice of a radical dove as Secretary of State, his refusal to use force to free American hostages or kill terrorists, and the pacifist attitude he’s taken toward Pakistan.

Yes, if only we could have a president like the one Mr. Ledeen, Mr. Hanson, and Mr. McCarthy last supported, one who doesn’t bully Congress and try to radically increase the power of the executive. Perhaps some of you might object that President Bush asserted the ability to declare American citizens enemy combatants without offering any evidence for his designation, that he secretly wiretapped the conversations of American citizens, that his administration developed an assassination program that it kept secret from Congress — but leaders are not to be judged by their actions! Only a sophisticated analysis of their inner psychology can truly enlighten us as to their character and motivations.

Quite so. What's interesting, however, is the extent to which Ledeen's colleagues suggest that he might want to rethink his theories just a teeny bit. That is, they don't. Rich Lowry, to be fair, does think that arguing that Obama likes tyrants is "over-board" but...

There's no doubt that Obama has an allergy to American power and a hostility to American exceptionalism, but, alas, these tendencies themselves are firmly within the American tradition. Is he left-wing and very wrong? Of course. But he's not rooting for the Basij militia.

No, he probably isn't. And Obama, of course, is so allergic to American power that he increased the number of troops serving in Afghanistan and, in terms of strategy, is actually conventionally hawkish. Just like every other major candidate for the Presidency last year.

But no, according to National Review and the loons at Powerline, Obama is already well on course to becoming the worst President in the history of the United States. And so soon!

Madness and, like all madness, impervious to reason. All we can do is hope it passes. And soon.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.