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PJB Columns

June 9, 2009

The Anti-Reagan

By Patrick J. Buchanan

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Despite his boldness, Barack Obama seems as fated to fail as were Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. And for the same reason: a belief in his own righteousness and moral superiority, and a belief that his ideals and his persona count mightily in the modern world.

Wilson declaimed about America's fight to "make the world safe for democracy" when in harness with the British, French, Russian, Japanese and Italian empires, all slavering to feast on the carcasses of the Hohenzollern, Habsburg and Ottoman empires.

By 1920, Wilson was a tragic failure, mocked by ex-allies and reviled by former enemies for having dishonored his own 14 Points.

Jimmy Carter declared in 1977 that "we have gotten over our inordinate fear of communism that caused us to embrace any dictator who shared in that fear." So, we undermined Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza and the Shah, and got the Sandinistas and the Ayatollah Khomeini.

As for Barack, he behaves on the world stage like some Ivy League kid ashamed of the people he came from, letting one and all on campus know that he is nothing like his benighted family with its sordid history.

In Cairo, he confessed that America had a hand in dumping over the regime in Iran in 1953. He did not mention that the United States forced the retreat of Joseph Stalin's army from Iran in 1946.

For the 100th time, he declared, "I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year."

Is Obama unaware that Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia run prisons that make Guantanamo look like The Breakers at Palm Beach?

How many Guantanamo inmates plead to be sent home to Muslim countries?

In Trinidad, Obama sat for 55 minutes enduring Daniel Ortega's diatribe against the United States for mistreatment of Castro's Cuba and for the Bay of Pigs. Obama protested that he could not be held responsible for something that happened the year he was born.

Why could not he say to Ortega: "We also intervened in the Dominican Republic in 1965 to block a communist takeover, and in Grenada in 1983. The only problem with the Bay of Pigs is that we should have done it right and removed the odious Cuban dictatorship, and put Fidel, Raul and Che up against that same wall where so many patriots perished and spared the Cuban people 50 years of tyranny and the prostitution of their island into a base camp for the greatest despotism of the 20th century."

What is the matter with Obama that he cannot defend our Cold War conduct and Cold War presidents like Ike and JFK?

Answer: Obama cannot, because at heart he buys into the anti-American narrative that ours is a deplorable history -- of genocide against the Indians, of slavery and segregation, of robbing Mexicans of their land and of disrespecting our Latin neighbors.

Obama is determined to make the requisite apologies to show the world he does not condone the sins our fathers committed.

Thus, as Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation has cataloged, Obama has apologized to Europe for our having "shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." He apologized to Latin America for our having been "disengaged and at times ... sought to dictate."

He told the Turks that we are "working through our own darker periods in our history. ... Our nation still struggles with the legacy of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans."

Obama, however, did not ask the Turks to confess to their own "darker periods," which might have taken some time.

Obama is the anti-Reagan. Where Reagan ever spoke of the greatness and glory of America, her history and heroes, her capacity to make the world all over again, Obama is like a dismal parson, forever reminding us -- and everyone within earshot -- of our own and our fathers' sins.

Obama is not only demoralizing Middle America, he is driving away the God-and-country patriots who are sick of hearing this rot from professors and journalists, and prefer not to hear it from their president. He is ceding moral high ground to regimes and nations that do not deserve it.

If Obama believes he can build himself up by tearing America down, he is mistaken. Cynical foreigners will view it with snickering contempt, patriotic Americans with disgust. What kind of leader is it who talks down his own country on foreign soil?

America's performance in the Cold War was hardly flawless. But does anyone deny that we were on the right side, that the Soviet Empire and Mao's China and communist Vietnam and Castro's Cuba were on the side of tyranny -- and that the neutrals were by and large irrelevant or worse in that great cause?

A nation is an extended family. While families fight and quarrel, often bitterly, you do not take the family quarrel outside the family.

You don't hang the family's dirty linen on the communal clothesline.

Obama, however -- like some Hollywood actress seeking sympathy and public approbation with her tell-all biography detailing how she was abused by her father -- trolls for popularity with America's adversaries by reciting for the benefit of the world all the sins his country has allegedly committed.

When did this become the duty of the president of the United States?