Saw this last night on Fox and had such a good laugh, I feel obliged to pass it along today. There’s no way to prove he said it, but as Megyn Kelly’s quick to show with archived audio, that quote is well in line with the kind of crap Obama was telling himself and the rest of the electorate circa 2007. The most famous summation of his I-am-the-change approach to problem-solving is this one from Andrew Sullivan, written right around the time that audio was recorded:
What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy. The war on Islamist terror, after all, is two-pronged: a function of both hard power and soft power. We have seen the potential of hard power in removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. We have also seen its inherent weaknesses in Iraq, and its profound limitations in winning a long war against radical Islam. The next president has to create a sophisticated and supple blend of soft and hard power to isolate the enemy, to fight where necessary, but also to create an ideological template that works to the West’s advantage over the long haul. There is simply no other candidate with the potential of Obama to do this. Which is where his face comes in.
Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.
That’s a solid statement of Obama’s own view of the significance of his presidency going in, I think. Only he knows what he thought his election and the big Cairo speech in 2009 would accomplish, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he honestly believed it’d be a death knell for jihadism going forward. The death wouldn’t be quick or painless, but having now been deprived of the anti-Americanism that supposedly — supposedly — sustains it, it could only wither and die. That would also explain his fascination with dopey “wrong side of history”/”no place in the 21st century” rhetoric whenever ISIS decapitates someone or Putin invades a neighbor. It could be that O really did believe his election marked a historical turning point in which the diminution of retrograde forces abroad was inevitable. And maybe that’s why a year’s worth of briefings on ISIS didn’t penetrate. Don’t they know they’re going to lose? Haven’t they seen his face?