by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Bret Stephens isn’t actually saying we would benefit from the second coming of William Howard Taft, but Stephens argues in the Wall Street Journal that Americans would be better off with a president who spends more time focusing on his important duties than monitoring his physique and hanging out with celebrities.
A Malaysian jetliner has vanished into thin air, while Russia has completed its seizure of Crimea and may yet invade other parts of Ukraine. Serious stuff, you might say. But the big story of last week as far as the president is concerned is his appearance alongside the star of “The Hangover” movies, the guy who last year smoked a joint live on the Bill Maher show.
“Zach actually was pretty nervous,” Mr. Obama later told Ryan Seacrest, the”American Idol” impresario, in a radio interview. “His whole character is to go after the guest and I think he was looking around and seeing all these Secret Service guys and thinking, ‘I wonder what happens here if I cross a line?’
“But we had a great time.”
Incidentally, I quote these lines from the Us Weekly report of the Seacrest interview. Us magazine is where I go for my political news these days. The online article also had a link to a photo gallery of Mr. Obama hanging out with various celebrities, like Justin Bieber. “What’s up, my dude!” the Canadian teen star says to the president of the United States. “What’s up, Biebs!” the president of the United States answers back.
In fairness, this was before Biebs’s Miami DUI. In fairness, also, the president does important work. Just the other day, he was photographed standing by his Oval Office desk, casually dressed in jeans, speaking to Vladimir Putin on the phone. The president had been savaged by Sarah Palin “as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.”
Retorted Mr. Obama: “The truth is, generally I look very sharp in jeans.” The sole exception, he added, “was one episode like four years ago in which I was wearing some loose jeans, mainly because I was out on the pitcher’s mound and I didn’t want to feel confined while I was pitching.”
Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. President. …
… Even now the unanswered question about Mr. Obama’s personality is whether his insouciance is a mask for ideology, ignorance, or simple indifference. When the president goes before the cameras to announce tough sanctions, and the sanctions are not only not tough but laughably weak, what’s going through his head?
Should he be wearing loose jeans more often so he can feel less confined geopolitically? …
… What do I take away from all this?
The obvious: A cavalier foreign policy by an inattentive president that elicits the contempt of the people it intends to punish ultimately encourages their aggression as well.
The less obvious: We need a fat president. Or at least one who rarely thinks and never speaks about how he looks in jeans. And one who doesn’t spend his day testing his wits against a Hollywood stoner or bantering with Ryan Seacrest while a European ally is being pummeled by Russia. And one who would rather spend his time working than working out, even if it means putting on a few pounds. And one who can pitch from the mound and reach home plate. However confined.