Getting to know Obama's weird side

Emmett Tyrrell:


Along with the bad luck of eating a waffle while waffling and of having his elitist prejudices exposed to public scrutiny, there is an accumulating junk pile of gaffes that seem to be beyond Obama's control. On Memorial Day, he declaimed in one of those august orations of his that suggest an aide is burning incense offstage: "I had an uncle who was one of the, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps." Truth be told, the Russian army, not the U.S. Army, liberated Auschwitz; and Obama has had no such uncle. It was a gaffe. The glib and affable candidate is becoming gaffable.

There have been many signs of his gaffability. For instance, he has been caught at least twice claiming -- as he did in Selma, Ala., a year ago -- that his "very existence" was the result of a Kennedy-funded program that airlifted his father from Kenya to America. His father arrived in a 1959 airlift. The Kennedy family grant actually was made for a second airlift in 1960. Also in Selma, he claimed to be born "because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across a bridge." The march took place in 1965. Obama was born in 1961. A year ago, he smugly observed: "In case you missed it, this week there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died." He was off by 9,988 casualties. More recently, he has claimed he's campaigned in 57 states. During a know-it-all assessment of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, he blundered into saying that the Iraqis and Afghans speak the same language.

Now, people who know Obama have been telling me for months that he is a very likable fellow and very clever. The problem he has, they say, is that things come easily to him. So easily that oftentimes, he simply wings it, expecting his facile mind to get him through. That makes sense. The tendency to wing it is encouraged all the more by Obama's insufferable arrogance.

Yet I fear his problems are more complicated. He is in the mess Carter has been in ever since the 39th president's ill-starred administration. Obama's campaign is haunted by supernatural mischief-makers. The fates are against him. Ghosts and goblins want to have fun at his expense. His gaffability will continue, and soon the Democratic leaders will be wincing. Yet they have no alternative to Obama. Hillary's recent gaffes have been as abominable, and she is not as likable as the young man from Illinois or Hawaii or Indonesia or wherever else he claims to hail from.

There is a momentum building in the gaffe department that is looking unstoppable at this point. So far the only upside for Obama is that he has had so many lately that it is hard for the earlier ones to gain traction before the next one arrives. He also benefits from a media that is predisposed to look for Hillary gaffes so they can toss her aside like an ex wife they don't like anymore.


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