Last Updated:November 28 @ 05:01 pm

Sowell: Obama's Puzzling Behavior

By Thomas Sowell

Much puzzling behavior by Barack Obama falls into place when we go behind the image that he projects ("Obama 1") to the factual reality of the man's whole life and thrust ("Obama 2").

Obama himself is well aware of the nature and importance of his image. In his own words, "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." An 18th century philosopher put the matter bluntly: "When I speak, I put on a mask. When I act, I am forced to take it off."

Many of Barack Obama's actions as President of the United States reflect neither political expediency nor an attempt to promote the best interests of the American people. Take, for example, his bowing low from the waist to foreign leaders.

No President of the United States had ever done that before. It gained Obama nothing with the voters, nor was there any reason to think that he expected it to. Why then did he do it?

What did it accomplish? It brought the United States down a peg, in the eyes of the world, something that he has sought to do in many other ways.

These bows were perfectly consistent with his view of a maldistribution of power and prestige internationally, just as his domestic agenda reflects a felt need for a redistribution of wealth and power within American society.

It is not just the United States, but the Western world in general, including Israel, that needs to be brought down a peg, from the standpoint of the ideology prevalent among the people with whom Barack Obama has allied himself consistently for decades.

Against that background, it is not at all puzzling that President Obama has clamped down on offshore oil drilling by Americans in the Gulf of Mexico, but has actually encouraged and subsidized offshore oil drilling by Brazil with our tax dollars.

Nor is it surprising that he imposes draconian restrictions on industrial activities in the United States, in the name of fighting "global warming," while accepting the fact that Third World nations that are beginning to industrialize will generate far more pollution than any restrictions in America can possibly offset.

That is another example of international redistribution -- and payback for perceived past oppressions or exploitation of the West against the non-West. So is replacing pro-Western governments in the Middle East with Islamic extremist governments.

Some people may have gotten focused on the issue of Barack Obama's birth certificate because so much of what he has done seems foreign to American ideals, traditions and interests. But birth tells us nothing about loyalty. One-time American Communist leader Earl Browder was descended from the Pilgrims.

Those who have questioned whether Barack Obama is really a citizen of the United States have missed the larger question: Whether he considers himself a citizen of the world. Think about this remarkable statement by Obama during the 2008 campaign: "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that every other country is going to say, 'OK.'"

Are Americans supposed to let foreigners tell them how to live their lives? The implied answer is clearly "Yes!" When President Obama went to the United Nations for authority to take military action and ignored the Congress of the United States, that was all consistent with his vision of the way the world should be.

How has Obama gotten away with so many things that are foreign to American beliefs and traditions? Partly it is because of a quiescent media, sharing many of his ideological views and/or focused on the symbolism of his being "the first black President." But part of his success must be credited -- if that is the word -- to his own rhetorical talents and his ability to project an image that many people accept and welcome.

The role of a confidence man is not to convince skeptics, but to help the gullible believe what they want to believe. Most of what Barack Obama says sounds very persuasive if you don't know the facts -- and often sounds like sheer nonsense if you do. But he is not trying to convince skeptics, nor worried about looking ridiculous to informed people who won't vote for him anyway.

This is a source of much polarization between those who see and accept Obama 1 and those who see through that facade to Obama 2.

---

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

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27 Comments

  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    September 27, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and the extreme Left wing of the Democrat party are the governing equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. The handsome articulate leader paints us a portrait of an America in the fullness of its past Capitalist success that was, standing in all its post WWII glory as the virile leader of the free world. Most portraits normally have timelessness about them that locks in a certain age, but in the Democrat version of the story it is the hidden Portrait that grows old while the image portrayed of the party of redistributed successes remains virile and young. As they live their life and ideology of immediate pleasure and gratification on borrowed money and past successes, the portrait presented always reflects the aesthetically beautiful and successful image, while in the closet of darkened politically corrupt smoke filled rooms behind the scenes, the actual portrait, week by week, year by year ages, wrinkles, and becomes senile. All the remonstrance’s of conscience, all the inspirations of the spirit that they spurn, all of the evil that they did, and all of the excesses appear each day on the hidden portrait of a government landscape that they brush over to cover with the multitude of their sins of their deceptions. Economic and moral failure became the real hidden agenda and hidden portrait of the Dorian Gray Government they created in secret. Like Dorian Gray, in the end they had nothing, when they awoke and saw what they had created.

    In our Presidential debates, and later in the November elections, Like Dorian Gray, the American electorate will take the knife of our Constitutioanl truths and plunge it into the heart of the deceptive portrait of the American landscape that these Democrats have painted for us and the illusions will appear for what they are, and what they have done to America. Once again our country will re-emerge as the great spirit it once was as originally created, while the debilitating corpse of the party of destruction is revealed for all the corruption that it in reality was, an ideology of corruption and death that called forth all the garbage of life as their food , and all their excesses of life their reality, with an electoral knife in its heart, while the true spirit of America survives and lives on as originally created by the master artist of the founding spirit from which it sprang. Sic Semper Tyrranus.

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      September 27, 2012 @ 10:52 am

      I sincerely hope that your prediction is what is going to happen. I can see the results of the latest polls showing Obama leading Mitt Romney having a detrimental pydchological effect on those of us that want so badly for a change in the Whitehouse. Whether it is due to over sampling or an actual result of Romney comments and the success of the media and the Obama campaign to demonize Romney and Ryan is irrelevant. What these polls should be is a major “wake up call” for those American voters that are on the fence or who may need a little more encouragement to make sure they vote in November for Romney in order to rid the country of this absolute failure of a President. Public apathy must be avoided as this election is extremely critical to the future of the country.

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    • kelstepheComment by kelstephe
      September 27, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

      Polls need to be thrown out the window. I am not convinced that anyone is actually being polled, and if they are they are skewing the calls to the left. There is absolutely no way that anyone with one ounce of intelligence could vote for this loser again. Just look at the “man on the street” interviews or better yet the latest from Howard Stern. The complete and utter lack of knowledge of Oloser’s base is frightening. They need to stay home in Nov.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      September 27, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

      Remember when the manipulating Liberal media showed Scott Walker behind by 8 points in the polls immediately prior to his recall election in Wisconsin. Reality proved him ahead by 6 points which is where the people, not the press spoke the final word. It will be the same this November when the Tea Party boils over in enthusiasm to reject the false image of America that these deceivers have thrust down our throats. Obama’s behavioir is puzzling only to those who cannot see Obama has glimpsed with his own eyes the hidden portrait of his sins and he now fears the discovery by the public of his fraudulent failed ideology before the election.

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    • bigestmacComment by bigestmac
      September 30, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

      illuminatuo, you nailed it, but good. However, one weakness I see is an assumption the people will wake up in time. With examples of the great ignorati, such as “I am voting for Obama because he got me a free cell phone”; “Now that Obama is president, I won’t have to make my house or car payments.”
      Also consider this Administration’s refusal to enforce immigration law (courting the primarily Latino vote), and attempts to assist fraudulent (Chicago style) voting by fighting photo I.D. requirements for voters(also aimed at primarily Latino illegal immigrant “voters”), fighting to keep historic Democrat Cemetery precincts alive and well(vis a vis, in Florida.)This Thomas Sowell column paints the bright line of Obamania for all to see!
      The bigotry, hypocrisy,and racism of radical left politics, so extant the last 15-20 years, is to the Democrat party what the KKK was to the radical right of conservative politics. Here is a nonentity, with virtually no political experience, whose only cred was as a young black man, who flashes onto the scene with a seemingly unlimited bank account, and spontaneous support from the radical left in the media and psuedo-intelligentsia of our great American Universities, salivating at the prospect of the first black president. His birth and educational records are sealed from vetting. His rhetoric stimulates the major media and rad-left establishment into spontaneous orgasmic support to ignorantly elect him. Well, may be not so ignorantly, given their Marxist/Socialist dogma. Obama the president is the natural conclusion of his childhood education,political indoctrination at the afore-mentioned colleges, and by home-grown Communist revolutionaries like David Ayers and Saul Alinsky. His anti-American beliefs and policies were there for all to see, but for being blinded by his rhetorical genius and buzz phrase, “hope and change”. He promised to “fundamentally change America.” He is doing exactly what he said would do. He is a clown in international diplomacy circles. Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Obama is golfing and gladhanding the re-election circuit while the Middle Esat burns. What a sick joke; we cannot survive as a democratic, constitutional republic should this disaster of a president gain 4more years. “FORWARD”..to what? We know, thanks to such as Thomas Sowell for painting the bright line. Obama is the Pied Piper.

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    • KBBComment by KBB
      September 30, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

      ….The role of a confidence man is not to convince skeptics, but to help the gullible believe what they want to believe. Most of what Barack Obama says sounds very persuasive if you don’t know the facts — and often sounds like sheer nonsense if you do. But he is not trying to convince skeptics, nor worried about looking ridiculous to informed people who won’t vote for him anyway.

      As Dr. Sowell brilliantly explains it, this is why and how Obama can stand up in front of his supporters and flat-out lie about any and everything and not bat an eye while doing it. As for those who know he’s lying, he doesn’t give a hoot, because he knows he doesn’t have their vote, anyway. He’s saving the votes of his supporters by lying to them.

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  2. cxComment by genesal
    September 27, 2012 @ 8:44 am

    Obama’s giving America ‘a black eye’.

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  3. CharlieComment by vietnamvet
    September 27, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    All of this is the point made in the movie “2016 Obama’s America”.

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  4. AMVoterComment by AMVoter
    September 27, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    Thank you Dr. Sowell, once again you writings so accurately describe the liar in the white house.

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  5. Pingback: » Sowell: Obama’s Puzzling Behavior » Commentary — GOPUSA « Taking Back America

  6. librabobComment by librabob
    September 27, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    That is perhaps the most astute analysis of President Obama that I have read to date. Dr. Sowell is absolutely brilliant! I will share it with all my friends, both liberal and conservative, in hopes more voters will come to understand this man must not be re-elected in November. As a nation, our very basic core values and guiding principles are at stake like never before in any single election within our lifetimes. I hope all of you will do the same.

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 27, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

      I have been a Dr. Sowell fan for years. Not once in all those years has he not hit the nail on the head! He speaks the truth and he speaks it boldly! Thank God for Dr. Sowell and others like him!

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    • centslessComment by centsless
      September 27, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

      Dr. Sowell speaks/writes the truth… the sad/disapointing truth.

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  7. rustypatComment by rustypat
    September 27, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    Among a “zillion” other things about Obama …

    He has grossly misapplied the concepts of America leading the free world vs. trying to make America like the rest of the world, rather than showing the rest of the world how to be the best (in many ways, albeit far from perfect).

    I had someone once tell me of our Justice system … it isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got.

    America isn’t perfect, but we are at our best when we aspire to be America. Obama trying to make America be more like the rest of the world is like trying to turn a great steak into hamburger … if you shred it to pieces and add a bunch of fat, it won’t be nearly as great.

    A butcher is not a chef, and Obama is not an American leader.

    Obama-Nation is an Abomination.

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 27, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

      “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s probably a DUCK.” Real simple concept, but the marxist-commie lib adorers of the malignant megalomaniac in the WH just don’t get it.

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    • inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
      September 27, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

      And all the innocent Germans who claimed they never knew about the death camps all cried, ” I was only following Orders!” How could we have ever known. They refused to see what was before their very eyes, and believed the image not the actuality which was too horrible to contemplate being possible.

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  8. oleteabagComment by oleteabag
    September 27, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    I recall when Reagan was running against Jimmy Carter, all the way up to election day, if you believed the polls, Reagan was trailing and had NO chance to win, etc. etc. Then election day came, and lo and behold, Reagan won by a landslide. Were the polls “mistaken”? No–they lied, in an attempt to keep the left in power and prevent a Conservative from being elected,and they are lying now.

    The press and the “polls” they conduct have been untrustworthy for decades. The best you can do is listen to what they are saying and try to read between the lines to figure out what is “really” going on.

    I believe these people are not only fools, but TRAITORS to the tradition of a free press and to this country. Most of them do not deserve to call themselves “journalists”. They are public relations SHILLS for the leftwing radicals. I don’t recall who said it, but read a brilliant quote just the other day: Journalism is publishing a truth somebody does not want published. Everything else is public relations.

    These so-called “journalists” stopped reporting the news a long time ago, and started “shaping” the news to fit a left-wing agenda, which is not “journalism”. The kindest thing you can call it is state-sponsored propaganda,and if we cease to be a free nation, these idiot “journalists” will share a large part of the blame for lulling the populace into believing what their masters wanted them to believe so they could be stripped of their liberties.

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    • bigestmacComment by bigestmac
      September 30, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

      You, oleteabag, are a kindred spirit. The media has sunk to its current slavish bias over the last 30 years. I hope Thomas Sowell publishes his editorials in book form before he goes to heaven.

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  9. oleteabagComment by oleteabag
    September 27, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    Dr. Sowell is a great American. It is a tragedy that our first African-American president was a sociopathic, lying Communist con man, rushed into office by a radical left and a complicit media before people really understood what a danger he was. How much better would it have been if our first African-American president could have been a man like Sowell, one who reveres this country and its founding principles, instead of one who only wants to tear down and destroy.

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  10. staffsgt7Comment by staffsgt7
    September 27, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    Obama has tried to speak like a Christian but he acts like a moslem. And if we really listened to the majority of his speeches – he is a moslem. He was never baptized a Christian and he is a moslem due to his father being one. And those who say that is not a bad thing have not read the true meaning of jihad – 97% of it to do violence against the non-moslems, and Sharia states it outright – to ‘war against the non-moslems…’. But if one is not a violent jihadist, all moslems must wage jihad, but they can fund it (zakat – part of it is required to fund the violence), or wage it in other ways such as the pen/word (different forms of deception), acting the victim, demands, etc etc – any strategy of war to advance islam. Propaganda is another strategy of war..

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  11. zionistamericanpatriotComment by zionistamericanpatriot
    September 27, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    Mr. Sowell I find your commentary insulting as an American, offensive as a Jew, superficial, naive, intellectually dishonest and antisemitic. You put much credence in Obama’s bowing to some most notably his full act of submission to the Saudi Monarch. This act performed by no other American President you find as bringing down the US a peg. You then state all of the Western Nations should be brought down a peg and then you single out Israel which this Pres .has insulted, publicly demeaned, slandered and libeled and left ignored as the Islamist regime Obama has brought to power he embraces. Why take a cheap shot at Israel? Obama has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood which lie as much as he does. Thousands of Syrian’s are being slaughtered while Obama talks to Iran which is Assad’s principal ally. He draws red lines for Assad but not Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad gave a chilling interview to the Washington Post’s //ignatius on 9/23. Perceptions have far greater effect on human behavior then reality. In answering a question about Israel’s call for more substantive actions to get Iran to talk his response was and I quote,”Of course they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves. But I do not believe they will succeed.” This is not a threat. This is a statement by a head of state that the decision to destroy Israel has been made. It is from this fact that he sees the Israeli’s as using every means to bring about their salvation from Iran’s plan. Based on Obama’s seeming to distance itself from Israel’s fate he sees a US green light to destroy her. Obama has set the stage for war and you Mr Sowell don’t even have it on your radar.

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    • crunchemComment by crunchem
      September 27, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

      The quote in question: “It is not just the United States, but the Western world in general, including Israel, that needs to be brought down a peg, from the standpoint of the ideology prevalent among the people with whom Barack Obama has allied himself consistently for decades.”

      Perhaps when you read something that you think is outrageous and feel a need to react so vehemently to it, consider the possibility that you might have missed something; like the rest of the sentence. Read it again and apologize to the good Doctor. He did not insult Israel in the least.

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    • bigestmacComment by bigestmac
      September 30, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

      ALWAYS make sure your brain is engaged before letting the clutch out to power your mouth. Sowell was stating that OBAMA was trying to take all western civilizations down a peg. The elimenation and destruction of Israel is the First Commandment of any Islam theocracy, be it Egypt, Syria, Irani, or Palestinian. In fact, “Islam theocracy” is a redundent phrase, a “white gardenia”, if you will. Islam IS a theocracy, and therefore unsustainable based on our Constitution. It violates our First Amendment on its face.

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    • freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
      September 30, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

      What did it accomplish? It brought the United States down a peg, in the eyes of the world, something that he has sought to do in many other ways. It is not just the United States, but the Western world in general, including Israel, that needs to be brought down a peg, from the standpoint of the ideology prevalent among the people with whom Barack Obama has allied himself consistently for decades.

      What did he accomplish?.
      The United States, the western world in general, and even Israel, our ally, were made to look weak, FROM THE STANDPOINT OF BARACK, AND THOSE WITH WHOM HE ALLIED HIMSELF.
      Sowell merely stated that by bowing low, he made America, the western world, and even Israel, our ally look weak, and apologetic, to those who watch these things closely looking for any advantage they can obtain.
      You, my friend, owe a serious apology to Sowell, as you completely misread his statement, and or interpreted it badly.

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  12. Eagle OneComment by Eagle One
    September 27, 2012 @ 7:58 pm

    I do not believe in polls and barely believe election results especially when liberals have a hand in it.
    The polls are always skewed and there are too many dead people voting.

    Just sayin’

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  13. freedomfighterComment by freedomfighter
    September 27, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    I worry if Nobama does loose the election in November, what he will do, or activate, which was pre set, between that time and the transition in January.
    This man has been such a disaster to our Country, that I am sure he has much more fight left in him. I so hope he does loose in November, but what will be his parting gifts, should he loose his re-election bid?.
    I do have a dread in my mind about this issue, and hope that it is no more than a trick the right side of my brain is playing on the left side of my brain.
    So much has been concealed in the Obamacare fiasco, that I wonder what surprises are still unforeseen within it’s dreaded pages.
    Anyway,
    ROMNEY RYAN,
    NOVEMBER.
    Every vote counts, we must make the Anti Obama votes count less than the Pro.
    TAKE OUT THE TRASH IN NOVEMBER,
    REMOVE THE DESTROYER-N-CHIEF.

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    • crunchemComment by crunchem
      September 27, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

      Perhaps the military will pretend to “go along” with OBummer’s martial law plans, but then use themselves to evict him, and follow up as an interim government guardian force until Inauguration Day.

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  14. Pingback: » Sowell: Obama’s Puzzling Behavior » Commentary — GOPUSA | America at War

  15. uscitizenComment by uscitizen
    September 28, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Polls and the media are meant to sway the people. Don’t be fooled!

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