Obama's Pencil-thin Presidency
Peeking over the top of Obama’s shirt pocket is not the end of the pen that he threatened to use, along with his phone, if he didn’t get his way.
It’s the tip of a pencil. An ordinary, wooden, No. 2 pencil, complete with eraser, both ends worn to the nub, in desperate need of sharpening.
Pens suggest importance and permanence. Great documents are composed with pens. Pivotal moments in history are recorded in ink, as are inspiring presidential legacies. The references to the current president inserted into those biographies, however, are sketched in the erasable strokes of a pencil -- as is everything else Obama has ever produced or that his presidency has inspired.
Pencils' output is flexible. Pencils design and transform and spin. Pencils redefine, divide, draw distractions and smudge and distort and erase: facts, events, and narratives.
Penciled opinions can conveniently evolve. Penciled statistics, measurements and books are easily cooked. Red lines marked by pencils can be erased and redrawn. Laws become mere “suggestions” and imply a “vast amount of discretion” in enforcement.
Because Obama is a “master of words” -- one with the ability to control their meaning -- his pencil, aided by a vast media complex, is a tool that holds the potential for absolute power as executive, legislator and judge.
A prominent law professor once aided Obama in that mastery with this explanation: “[Obama] didn't say what he meant...and having said that, in order to avoid misleading anyone, he had to clarify it.” Thomas Sowell put it a little clearer than Mr. Tribe when he observed about Obama: “One of the many ways of lying smoothly is to simply redefine words.”
Another is to redefine the presidency. Law professor Jonathan Turley described the “troubling mosaic of unilateral and unchecked executive power” drawn by such an “uber presidency.”
A pencil is the requisite tool for an uber-president focused on the fundamental transformation of America.
Pencils have been used by Obama and his like-minded supporters since the beginning of his political career. His image was sketched by fans on the “blank screen” he offered. His remarkably thin résumé was touted as “storybook;” his morphing history contained “composite” and conflicting events, characters and interesting birthplaces that the Democrat-media complex defended and extolled in perfect unison.
The media never acknowledged, much less looked for, the missing link in the evolution of Obama’s beliefs from college radical and community organizer to the supposed pragmatic moderate on the ballot. (Imagine how the media, much less the Republican party, would react if Sen. Rand Paul had written a book about himself titled “Dreams from my Father.”)
Important personal and background information -- details that for most of us are written on our personal and professional résumés in indelible ink -- for Obama remain sketchy, inconsistent, undisclosed or sealed.
And now the man with a largely mysterious past and a present that some describe as aloof, disengaged, or cold-shouldered -- reclines with his feet resting on the most powerful desk in the world, toying with both ends of a pencil.
It should come as no surprise to find that Obama feels free to erase the document that he once described as deeply and fundamentally flawed. Or that a man who writes a partly-fictional book about himself (and supposedly all by himself) and accepts a Nobel Peace prize -- before having achieved anything ink-worthy -- would be reluctant to revise any of it when convenient.
Neither would he hesitate to erase or redraw, rather than execute, the laws over which he presides.
Instead, the greatest mystery is why the very media complex pencils that prop up Obama would be surprised to discover that this administration is the “greatest enemy of press freedom” and a “benchmark for a new level of secrecy and control.”
His “concentration of power” is also becoming the “very danger our Constitution was designed to avoid,” according to Turley in his testimony before Congress.
The most obvious examples of Obama’s dangerous pencil in action are the unlawful revisions to Obamacare. Although the “big f’ing deal” of the ACA was ceremoniously signed into law with Obama’s twenty-two pens, apparently it was written in pencil -- since hundreds of its pages are already filled with smudges and eraser-crumbs.
And that emphatic “period” at the end of Obama’s repeated insistence about keeping our plans and doctors was simply erased -- poof -- when revealed facts required that he twirl his pencil around to the other end.
Obama also uses his pencil to recast issues and events as “phony scandals.” The Democrat-media complex assists in the artistry and diverts attention with phony wars. Their pencils never “scratch beyond the surface” of Obama administration scandals, and they fail to connect the dots to the crime in their own party. They draw lipstick on the massive pig of Obamacare.
And a new circle of IRS and regulatory hell has been drawn by the administration for small businesses, tea partiers and other conservatives.
But still, neither the legislative nor judicial branch tries to wrest that pencil from Obama’s fingers -- rather they often display teamwork in word mastery with pencils of their own. Perhaps the most troubling of instances was the presiding opinion composed by Chief Justice Roberts on the constitutionality of the ACA.
Some Democratic members of Congress actually have suggested the drafting of executive orders for Obama -- orders that bypass the constitutional function of their own offices -- undoubtedly composed in pencil, ready for Obama to sign in ink.
Some Republicans still hope, with no apparent basis, that someday Obama might walk in with his pencil sharpened, ready to lead and work to cut spending. Instead, Obama uses it to add zeroes to the end of the massively growing debt.
Pencils may support liberal politics on the national scene, but suggest unseriousness to foreign powers who recognize when “red lines” are not drawn in ink. Foreign policy established by a pencil-wielding commander-in-chief is easy to “diss.”
Ultimately, Obama’s pencil may draw an unbearably light presidency, one that not only precariously resides between the two quotation marks described by Jonah Goldberg, but also produces a personal legacy too shallow to fill the halls of a presidential library.
Our national legacy, however, may be forever transformed by the consequences of that pencil, as it severely impacts our economy and national security to a degree from which we may never recover. It also threatens to forever expand our government and recast the role of the president.
Obama recently named the political opponents that “history” will not be “kind” to -- however, our real concern should be over who will compose that history and control its content, and where it will lead us.
A famous “historian” is credited with frequently saying: “There is no such thing as truth, only a collection of narratives.”
Written in pencil, of course.