Obamateurism of the Day

Usually on a trip abroad, our President gives us a full panoply of OOTDs, and today we take one from the New York Post — while rebutting a couple of others.  First, let’s get to the OOTD, where Barack Obama asserts while in Indonesia that there seems to be a global groundswell against democracy on economic grounds:

In the same speech, Obama gave voice to a harsh criticism he has heard about freely elected governments.

“Today, we sometimes hear that democracy stands in the way of economic progress,” he said.

The shocking statement raises the question: Where has Obama heard this fatuous claim and with whom has he been talking politics?

That one’s new to me, too.  Some people claim that capitalism stands in the way of economic progress, but that’s an economic system, while democracy is a political system.  If Obama hears that a lot, perhaps that speaks to the company he keeps more than to the issues of democracy itself.  Even the Cold War communists usually made a pretense at democracy through single-party elections, because democratic processes demonstrate political legitimacy.

But this article, which was forwarded to me by a number of readers, goes a little overboard, twice.  First is this criticism:

So that is why your president is halfway around the world instead of being here in the United States to celebrate the sacrifices American soldiers, sailors and airmen have made around the world to keep the real, still-burning flame of freedom alive.

I’m unaware of any particular obligation that a President has to schedule his trips abroad around commemoration dates.  The President has a job to do, and while there is ample room for criticizing him for leaving right after the election instead of providing leadership to his party, his presence abroad on Veterans Day shouldn’t offend anyone.  Regardless of what one thinks of Obama, paying attention to India and encouraging Indonesia to stick with democracy and tolerance are pretty good ideas any day of the year.

That leads to this overstep as well:

He was in Jakarta for their Heroes Day this week to honor their veterans “who have sacrificed on behalf of this great country.”

“This great country,” of course, being Indonesia.

“When my stepfather was a boy, he watched his own father and older brother leave home to fight and die in the struggle for Indonesian independence,” Obama told the audience.

And the White House wonders why so many people think there is something foreign about this guy.

What’s he supposed to say on Heroes Day to Indonesians?  “I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but America has the greatest country of all time”? That certainly would put a new spin on “diplomacy,” wouldn’t it?  Everyone knows that Obama spent a few years in Indonesia as a child; Obama wrote about it in his books and talked about it during the campaign  It’s one of the reasons why he wanted to make a state visit to the country, in order to leverage his connections to bring them closer to the US and hopefully marginalize the radical Islamists.  And that’s a pretty good idea, too.  I hope it works.  It’s certainly worth trying.

Got an  Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the  Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!