Each morning I wake up in the grip of fear, convinced that I’ll open the morning paper and find some new piece of information that will ratchet up my growing alarm that the fate of our nation is in the hands of a dangerous man. Every morning, it seems, the fear and alarm are justified.
On June 21, for example, a day late and a dollar short, President Obama said the following in his Father’s Day remarks to an audience at The Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus (THEARC) in Washington:
Over the course of my life, I have been an attorney, I’ve been a professor, I’ve been a state senator, I’ve been a U.S. senator — and I currently am serving as President of the United States. But I can say without hesitation that the most challenging, most fulfilling, most important job I will have during my time on this Earth is to be Sasha and Malia’s dad.
I looked and listened in vain for commentary about this shocking and revealing statement, and could find none. Contrast, if you will, the president’s admission with the self-sacrificing patriotism of General David Petraeus and of his family. The General answered the call of his commander-in-chief to assume command in Afghanistan and did so without hesitation or public tears for his wife and children. There is no doubt in my mind that the General cares as much about his son and daughter as the president cares about his offspring. But in a time of war, he went where is country needed him, an action that speaks louder than any of the president’s alleged “eloquence.”
For a sitting President of the United States to state that “without hesitation that the most challenging, most fulfilling, most important job I will have during my time on this Earth” is something other than the presidency is appalling. The audience at THEARC, of course, applauded the president’s confession. One imagines the president’s handlers gleefully thinking a bit of emoting would play well in the approval polls, giving voters a chance to see that the president is a regular guy—a family man brimming with fatherly love and affection.
But that opportunistic interpretation is not my take on what the president said. What he said, quite simply, is that the presidency to which he was elected is of secondary importance to him. I don’t care how devoted a father President Obama is, if the United States of America is not his first priority he should not be its president. Period.
I do not deny that Sasha and Malia are fortunate to live in a two-parent family and to have a father who obviously loves them and cares about their welfare. I think it’s great. For them. There is a certain poignancy, too, in the fact that that their father provides them the stability and the knowledge that they are wanted his father could not be bothered to give him.
Much ink has been spilled about the president’s inscrutability. This is a foolish concern. Best to focus on what we do know; best to take the president at his word. Which in this instance is that rare case of the known being scarier than the unknown.