Insightful, delightful humorist James Thurber once wrote, “You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.” Are you listening, Barack Obama?
The new president purports to be in affinity with Abraham Lincoln, who made a lot of sense a lot of the time, including one time when he said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.”
Using Lincoln’s maxim as his caliper, Obama has built a career slipping through a lot of the time with as much … well, call it foolery … as he could get away with at any given time.
Obama would be a lot better off a lot more of the time if he stopped posing so much of the time as Honest Abe and paid a lot more attention to Thurber’s maxim all of the time.
When you look closely at the two watchwords, Thurber’s and Lincoln’s, there is a lot less wiggle room for a flex-politician like Obama any time in Thurber’s than there is in Lincoln’s most of the time.
A truth contortionist of the Obama ilk can go for a lot longer time skating in, out, and around Lincoln’s verities than he can for any length of time under the influence of Thurber’s common sense.
Listen once again to Thurber: “You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.”
What a sublime compliment that is to the innate horse sense of most of the American people at any time.
It is an accurate and complementary measurement of public discernment and tolerance of political horse … oops, better make that … horse sense. It is also a profound warning of the undefined penalty that the frauds who traffic in such bunkum will pay.
Lincoln was saying that, if you’re not careful, you can misjudge the public tolerance level for being gulled, and he didn’t go so far as to prescribe a penalty.
Thurber was saying you’ll surely get caught with your pants down and will have to go hopping and stumbling off the stage, trying with no avail to get them pulled back up again. And when the curtain comes mercifully down on your embarrassment, it will not rise again for you.
There’s no way in this world Obama will ever heed Thurber’s warning. His ego is too gross, too inadequately stroked. It never will allow him even to imagine he can overplay his sleight of hand. He is incapable of believing people possibly could get a nose full of him.
So he plows on, raring farther and farther back on his haunches, looking farther and farther down his nose at the lesser beings hanging on his every word and gesture.
Got away with a whopper last time out. How about a bigger one today? Did a policy somersault, and was actually hailed as statesmanlike. Why not a philosophical back flip next? Who’s to say him nay?
He is, after all, The One: “I have a gift.”
So did James Thurber. Only Thurber’s was the gift of understanding people, without belittling them: “You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.”
Thurber’s humor was delicious, none of it built around narcissistic self-aggrandizement. What he had to say, what he wrote, what he drew in his near-blindness with a lump of charcoal was of lasting enrichment and enchantment.
On the other hand, Obama’s teleprompted words, before which his leftist adulators in the media fawn and grovel so, are blowing in the wind.
Absolutely, you can fool too many of the people too much of the time.
Time is not with Barack Obama. Even for him, there’s a limit of available fools.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com. Read John Perry's columns here.
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