Presidential Grandstanding

President Obama bestirred himself twice this week to hold forth in public, on 14 January in a “press conference” for which he already had decided who would ask questions, and on 16 January to make a teleprompted speech to a large crowd ginned-up from somewhere (who knows where?) in the middle of the day. At least he was in town, meaning some relief from the huge expense of making Air Force One his personal taxi for yet another “campaign” speech thousands of miles away from the snake-pit.

The theme of the press conference was “We won again.” Obama used it to castigate a do-nothing-or-something-worse House of Representatives republican caucus for daring to challenge him on anything, especially the national debt and the debt-ceiling-limit, making it plain that things would be done his way, i.e., by the printing of money for the conceivable future. His key words over-and-over were “conversation” and “debate,” implying that he would talk but not budge. He also made it, as he would say, “absolutely clear,” that he would use executive orders to straighten out gun-control. This method obviously would also apply to the financial crisis.

The last question was from a lady reporter and had to do with how much the president did or didn’t properly “socialize,” and to remark that he was (gasp) shutting out women from his “inner circle,” the latter giving him a chance to extol the virtues of womanhood and explain how he had, contrarily, placed lots of women in responsible positions but would do even more. The whole exercise – in propaganda mode, of course – was just as trivial as that question, beneath contempt.

Item: Ft. Hood, November 2009, 13 murdered, 30 wounded. No presidential commission. Item: Tucson, January 2011, 6 murdered, 13 wounded. No presidential commission. Item: Aurora, July 2012, 12 murdered, 58 wounded. No presidential commission. Item: Chicago, 2012, 500 murdered by gunfire. No presidential commission. Total: 531 murdered, 101 wounded.

Item: Newtown, December 2012, 26 murdered, 2 wounded. Finally, a presidential commission headed by none other than Obama’s source of gravitas, VP Biden. The speech on 16 January was devoted to this last mass-shooting, making one wonder if the president is class-conscious to the extent of deciding whose lives are important enough to trigger action of some kind…any kind.

In both appearances, Obama made it “absolutely clear” that he was in high dudgeon concerning the Congress, and that he would work his will, apparently through executive orders, some 23 of which he has already signed referencing gun control. The orders are relatively harmless with regard to anything of substance and most of them probably have to do with laws already on the books, though perhaps not well enforced in some places, just as federal immigration laws are not enforced in Arizona, though this administration has shipped unaccounted-for guns to Mexico by the hundreds if not thousands.

To indicate how trivial the orders are is the one having to do with establishing the fact that Obamacare does not preclude a doctor from asking his patients about “guns in their home.” This is another: “Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.” Does anyone know what a “school resource officer” is? Here’s another: “Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.” What is “mental health parity?” A “school resource officer” and “mental health parity” are what anyone says they are, making these orders too silly for words.

In other words, the whole exercise was window-dressing but another opportunity to castigate the Congress, which has the only Constitutional power to do anything of substance. The shallowness of this administration was seen in a letter to Congress from the Defense Department in December 2011 describing Major Hasan’s slaughter at Ft. Hood as “workplace violence.” WORKPLACE VIOLENCE! Egad! Since this administration has done nothing about the Benghazi massacre – not charged anyone anywhere anytime – it perhaps believes that it was just WORKPLACE VIOLENCE!

The most contemptible thing the president did concerning his speech was drag children and others from Newtown (with enough grief already) into the audience to be used as pawns in what was obviously a publicity stunt of immense proportions. He could have presented his diatribe and his list of executive orders at the press conference on the fourteenth, but he was without a teleprompter there and therefore a lost ball in the tall weeds. Perhaps, press guru Carney will explain what…uh…uh…er mental…uh…health…er…parity is. Does it mean that the appropriate czar will regulate that everyone have the same IQ? Egad!

The administration types got their noses out of joint over an NRA TV-ad that might have referenced Obama’s daughters (admittedly in poor taste), but Obama “used” those children from Newtown for what had to be a personal ego-trip. Which was worse? The president – Constitutional expert that he is, by his own admission – knows that Congress will do virtually nothing, especially any time soon, so the whole thing will just be another huge photo-op.

The nation deserves better.