In a speech in which former President Barack Obama intended to outline the dangers of the current administration, he actually summed up his entire eight years in office.
He delivered the speech this week in Johannesburg, South Africa to honor the late Nelson Mandela. Obama warned against "strongman politics," bemoaning the "utter loss of shame among political leaders" who lie.
Because the speech occurred one day after the joint U.S.-Russian Helsinki Summit, journalists, politicians, and observers assumed he was referencing his successor, President Donald Trump.
But this wasn’t necessarily accurate. Obama may have been actually talking about his favorite subject — himself.
"I'm simply stating the facts," Obama said. "Look around — strongman politics are ascendant, suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, where those in powers seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning."
"Strongman politics" were the norm during the Obama administration. They were displayed right out of the gate when his party controlled both chambers of Congress and only intensified afterwards.
At a televised White House healthcare conference held Feb. 25, 2010, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., objected to the "unsavory" manner in which the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was being drafted in Congress — "behind closed doors" — with no Republican input.
McCain, who was Obama’s opponent in the 2008 presidential race, observed that $100 million was offered to a Connecticut hospital, and that special deals were given to the pharmaceutical industry and residents of Louisiana, Nebraska, and Florida.
"People are angry," McCain said. "We promised them change in Washington, and what we got was a process that you and I both said we would change."
Obama’s response? "We're not campaigning anymore," he told McCain. "The election's over."
And so were the objections, which fell victim to Obama’s own "strongman politics."
A year earlier he made a similar comment to then-House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va. "Elections have consequences," he told the then number-two House Republican. "And at the end of the day, I won. So I think on that one I trump you."
"People just make stuff up," Obama complained in Johannesburg. He claimed to observe an "utter loss of shame among political leaders when they're caught in a lie and they just double down and lie some more."
The 44th president should know something about this. While peddling Obamacare to a skeptical public, he repeated often, "If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it."
That earned him Politifact’s 2013 coveted "Lie of the Year" award.
At the close of his administration, Politifact compiled his "Truth-O-Meter" scorecard during his time in office. It wasn’t good.
Only 21 percent of his statements were judged to be true, and 27 percent found mostly true. The remaining 52 percent were found to be half-true, mostly false, false or "pants on fire" lies.
And Obama’s propensity to be less than candid was confirmed by The Washington Post, a publication that admittedly harbored a pro-Obama bias.
Glenn Kessler, The Post’s official fact-checker, published "Obama’s biggest whoppers" one day before he handed over the reins of power to Trump.
The whoppers didn’t include the double-dealing, secret agreements, and unenforced "red lines" he made during his tenure, however.
For example, double-dealing like his hot mic statement to Dmitry Medvedev to tell Vladimir Putin that "after my election I have more flexibility" to deal with issues such as missile defense.
For example, secret agreements like the one made with Iran to allow it to skirt sanctions and give it access to the U.S. financial system.
For example, unenforced "red lines" like the warning he gave Syria in the event it used chemical weapons. When Syria called his bluff and crossed the line, Obama claimed he’d made no such warning.
This from what Obama referred to as "the most transparent administration in history."
The former president never let an opportunity to talk about himself slip by. Could his Johannesburg speech have been an unconscious reference to himself?
CNS News found that he referenced himself 199 times in a 2014 speech he delivered in Austin, Texas, "including the pronouns 'I' and 'me' and the adjective 'my.'"
More recently, Obama referenced himself 75 times during his farewell address delivered on Jan. 10, 2017. Ten days later Trump only referenced himself three times in his inaugural address, preferring to concentrate upon what "we" can accomplish.
Erosion of Democracy
The former president also bemoaned the erosion of America’s democracy in his Johannesburg speech, but what he more-than-likely deplores is that the U.S. isn’t a democracy at all — it’s a republic.
And because it’s a republic, Trump won, Hillary Clinton lost, and to quote Obama, "elections have consequences."
To this day, Clinton’s supporters, the former president, and Clinton herself can’t seem to accept that fact.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.