Dissecting Obama

by Bruce Bawer

Not so long ago, America had a great economy, the lowest unemployment ever for a range of demographic groups, energy independence, an increasingly secure southern border, a strong international profile, and no new wars. It had freedom. It had national pride. And all because it had a highly skilled president of unabashed patriotism who was devoted to the best interests of his people.

Now we’re being readied to eat bugs while our overlords dine on steaks. To live in “fifteen-minute cities” while they fly to conferences in Fiji. To tighten our belts to prevent rising sea levels while they luxuriate in sea-level mansions in Malibu and Martha’s Vineyard. In a direct challenge to parental authority, common-sense values, and sensible pedagogical priorities, government schools indoctrinate children in Critical Race Theory and transgender ideology. To shatter our sense of security and restrict our freedom of movement, Soros prosecutors turn major cities over to violent felons. Patriots rot in jail for meandering around the Congress for a couple of hours two years ago while young people are encouraged by their teachers to celebrate Antifa and BLM thugs who have burned houses down. Blacks who love liberty are smeared as “white supremacists” while Muslims who love jihad are depicted as virtuous victims.

Then there’s what happened during the pandemic. Churchgoing was banned, violent street protests permitted. Small businesses were forced to close and went bankrupt; giant chain stores stayed open and reaped record profits. Americans, but not illegal immigrants, were ordered to mask and vaccinate. Gavin Newsom and Nancy Pelosi, with imperial condescension, violated their own lockdowns.

In this new world order, “our democracy” means the tyranny of the unelected (including the FBI, CIA, DHS, and DoJ), propped up by a Pravda-like corporate media. Their message? If we want to be known as supporters of equality, models of compassion, and friends of the planet, we’ll knuckle under, obey them, and parrot their progressive creed — as spelled out in that chilling Independence Hall speech in which Joe Biden, against a Bismarckian blood-red backdrop, demonized MAGA voters as enemies of freedom.

Of course, this dystopia in the making didn’t begin with Biden. It’s a carry-over from the Obama years, interrupted by that Belle Époque, the Trump interregnum. “To understand the crisis of the Biden administration,” observes Daniel Greenfield, “we have to go back to its origins in the Obama administration.” This statement appears in Greenfield’s introduction to an engaging and definitive new collection of essays, Barack Obama’s True Legacy. How He Transformed America, which, under the editorship of Jamie Glazov, does precisely that: it ponders Obama and his appalling presidential tenure from a number of angles, and in doing so gives us what seems to me the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet of who Obama really is, what he did to America, and why.


Political scientist John Drew recalls the Obama whom he met in 1980 when they were both students dreaming of Communist revolution. At first glance, Obama struck Drew as a child of “wealth and privilege”: he “carried himself with the dignity and poise of a model,” he “talked like a white guy,” he came off “like a foreign prince visiting the United States.” Drew also thought Obama was gay — an impression later confirmed, sort of, by a letter in which Obama wrote: “I make love to men daily, but in the imagination.” Politically, soon enough, both Drew and Obama shifted to “a more practical view,” deciding that politics, not revolution, was “the preferred route to socialism”; Drew eventually left the Left entirely, but, as we know, alas, Obama did not.


New Zealand author and filmmaker Trevor Loudon also reaches some distance into the past, tracing Obamacare to the 1930s, when Quentin Young, a young Communist doctor in Chicago, first began thinking about socialized medicine. In the 1990s he advised Hillary Clinton on health care; later still (he lived until 1992), he collaborated with Bernie Sanders and Ted Kennedy. As it happens, Young shared his medical practice for two decades with Obama’s personal physician, David Scheiner, and was present at the meeting, hosted by former terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, at which it was announced that Obama, also present, would be running for Congress. Along the way, he played a huge role in shaping Obama’s views on health-care coverage.

Glazov’s book includes several contributions on Islam and the Middle East. Highlighting Obama’s hideous 2012 statement at the UN criticizing “those who slander the prophet of Islam,” counterintelligence expert Stephen C. Coughlin recounts the Obama Administration’s purging of counterterrorism pros (largely in response to pressure from terrorist-linked CAIR) and reports that Muslims at DHS, founded to combat Islamic terrorism, shifted its focus 180º to target “Islamophobes” — that is, American patriots who dare to worry about terrorism. In other essays, former Knesset member Dov Lipman corrects “historical inaccuracies” about Israel in Obama’s memoir A Promised Land, and Greenfield and Clare M. Lopez supply cogent takes on Obama’s treachery toward Israel and championing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Then there’s Raymond Ibrahim on Obama’s abominable treatment of Middle East Christians: his refusal to use U.S. leverage on their behalf, his resistance to Capitol Hill pressure to address religious freedom, his prioritizing of Muslim over Christian refugees, and his denial that Muslim-on-Christian violence in Nigeria had a religious basis. (Ibrahim quotes Newt Gingrich: “This is an administration that never seems to find a good enough excuse to help Christians, but always finds an excuse to apologize for terrorists.”) And in three trenchant pieces, Robert Spencer studies Obama’s refusal to label the Fort Hood massacre as a terrorist act (thus denying certain benefits to victims and their families), his insistence that the Islamic State had nothing to do with Islam, and his attitude, at the time of the Iran deal, that “the side that needed to show a good faith commitment to peace was not Iran, but the United States.”

There are two strong items on immigration: Loudon considers Obama’s desire to bestow citizenship on millions of illegals, and Matthew Vadum ponders Obama’s view “that immigration…was a right.” And J.R. Nyquist tackles Obama and Russia, pointing out in his opening sentences that Obama’s parents met in a Russian-language class. Why, he wonders, were they there? We know they hated capitalism; did they love the USSR? Certainly, Obama’s Russia policy, posits Nyquist, was “exactly what one might expect from a president who was born of pro-Soviet parents and mentored by a likely KGB agent (i.e., Frank Marshall Davis).” Nyquist also serves up a couple of fascinating anecdotes that, if true, would fill in a big piece of the Obama puzzle: in 1983, a Communist speaker at UC Irvine reportedly said that his fellow Reds were “infiltrating the left wing of the Democratic Party”; in the 1990s, American physicist Tom Fife claims to have encountered Obama at a social event in Moscow where the later was described as being groomed by the Soviets to be America’s first black president.

The closing pages of Barack Obama’s True Legacy take us to the end of Obama’s presidency and beyond. Greenfield reflects on the truly tragic way in which Obama’s “naked racial rhetoric… transformed America” from an essentially post-racial country into the present “war-torn nation deeply divided by race.” In three incisive essays, Joseph Klein indicts Obama for his persecution of General Michael Flynn (who, by the way, contributes a solid foreword to this book); argues that Obama should have been impeached for what Andrew McCarthy has rightly called his singular pattern of “presidential lawlessness” (which Klein catalogs at illuminating length); and details Obama’s nefarious and unprecedented attempt, after his own presidency was over, “to sabotage the legitimacy of his duly elected successor.”

When Donald Trump took the oath of office, most of us thought the Obama era was over. We were wrong. Our 44th president was still operating behind the scenes — scheming with his old cronies to blunt Trump’s effectiveness, to pack the media with lies about him, to keep the violent far-left wing of the Democratic Party in a constant state of anti-Trump outrage, to engineer his impeachment, and much more; and since Trump’s departure from the White House, Obama has, at the very least, been one of those who have been pulling the strings of the current puppet-in-chief. But of course, all this malicious mischief was nothing new for the man who once said that “the sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer”: as Spencer puts it in his savvy afterword, Obama was, from the beginning of his term until, well, this present moment, “actively working against the interests of the United States.” That he managed to do so much damage to this country and its people is breathtaking to behold — as is the fact that there remains a large cohort of low-information Americans who actually revere this traitor as a paragon of virtue and wisdom.

First published in the American Thinker.