After his first 100 days in office, an ominous issue haunts Barack Obama: Is he in charge of his own presidency?
In his campaign, Obama made a raft of promises of what he’d do if elected that he has not kept. Prominently included were making government more transparent, changing to more-bipartisan governance, vetoing earmark pork spending, and winning cooperation from allies through multilateral diplomacy.
Not only has he failed to keep those promises, he has also worked assiduously to violate them — all to the applause of his leftist political base.Appointed left-of-center politicians to key positions
In keeping those promises, he saddled taxpayers with more debt than the government incurred since its founding. Huzzahs from the far left.
Obama and his administration have been beset by an embarrassment of blunders, exploding cigars, and just plain bad-judgment calls.
He’s been unable to staff the top ranks of the Treasury, has withdrawn nominees to Cabinet posts due to tax-related and other scandals, and has tried to explain away gaffes he, his subordinates, and the vice president have made.
All the while, the new president has been a frenetic jumping jack. The press can’t keep up with his next moves. It’s unlikely most Americans can, either. Yet, throughout, he has remained cool as a cucumber, giving every impression of a president well and comfortably in charge of his own presidency.
That is, until his recent, spectacular, half gainer of a flip-flop on whether to prosecute his predecessor president’s minions for what the far left, including Obama, regard as criminal torture of enemy combatants.
At first, Obama ruled out such prosecutions. He wanted to “move on,” not look back. He dispatched his chief of staff to a Sunday televised talk show to underscore that, emphatically and in detail. But, on Tuesday, Obama was on TV, ostentatiously opening the door to the prosecutions he had just rejected.
Was he in charge when he ruled out prosecutions? Or when he ruled out ruling them out? Or both times?
The logical answer: He was in charge neither time.
Then, if not Obama, who is in charge of the Obama presidency? Who is it who’s pulling Obama’s strings? Whose puppet is he?
The fawning press spins it that Obama responded, in admirable democratic statesmanship, to the howls from the far-left after he ruled out prosecutions. If that’s what happened, how come Obama did his springboard acrobatics before the loudest leftist howling began?
Was he simply prescient?
But if he’s so keenly attuned to his base, why did he in the first place rule out prosecutions, which any political neophyte knows would set their hair on fire?
Or is there some individual, off stage, who instructed the president of the United States to perform that embarrassing, 180-degrees reversal? If so, who is that master puppeteer?
Could this be why Obama pitched a fit until the Secret Service let him keep his cell phone to receive calls he absolutely had to take?
In the Pinocchio allegory, an insignificant wooden figure yearns to become a real little boy. But his proclivity for stretching the truth causes his nose to lengthen each time.
The little future marionette falls among evil company in Catchfools, a city where everyone is a fool, or worse (read Washington, D.C.), and pays the consequences (well, maybe not Washington, D.C., after all).
The full story of Barack Obama, the puppet president, remains untold: Who is the Geppetto who carved this herky-jerky stick figure? Who now pulls the strings that control the movements that affect the daily lives of all Americans?
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.