I naturally could not resist emulating the maudlin, slobbering grief expressed by the MSM, and especially by the New York Times, over the death of Hugo Chavez, communist dictator of Venezuela, and pen a Times-style "tribute" to President Barack Obama, set a year or so from now.
Barack Obama Dies, Leaving Sharp Divisions in the Country
Washington. D.C. — President Barack Obama, injured during a golfing mishap, died Tuesday afternoon after a struggle with an aneurism complicated by a stroke, the government announced, leaving behind a bitterly divided nation in the grip of a political and economic crisis that grew more acute as he languished for three days, silent and out of sight, as American and Cuban doctors worked day and night to bring the president back to consciousness.
Close to tears and his voice cracking, Vice President Joe Biden said he and other officials had gone to Walter Reed Hospital where Mr. Obama was being treated, sequestered from the public, when “we received the hardest and most tragic information that we could transmit to our people.”
Michelle Obama, the First Lady, told reporters on Martha's Vineyard that it wasn't her fault that her much-beloved husband died so quickly after what sources said was a severe tongue-lashing of her husband after the golfing incident, and denied any responsibility for aggravating what was already a serious medical condition. A source on her staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the First Lady "ripped into him after he was brought to the club house, saying he should have stuck to basketball, and not took up that wussy game of golf. Who'd he think he is? Arthur Ashe?" When reminded that Ashe played tennis, the First Lady replied with a string of expletives and chased the press out with a putter.
Condolences and tributes poured into the White House on news of the President's passing from governors, city mayors, and foreign governments.
In short order, police officers and soldiers were highly visible in the Capitol as people ran through the streets, calling loved ones on cell phones, rushing to get home, some to commiserate with family and friends, others to break open bottles of champagne. Washington, which had just received news that the government was throwing out two British and Canadian military attachés it accused of sowing disorder in Texas and Washington State over the smuggling of illegal immigrants and paper and plastic bags into the country, quickly became an enormous traffic jam, greater than it usually is in the mornings and afternoons. Stores, cafés, and shopping malls abruptly closed from Pennsylvania Avenue to the elite bedroom communities in Fairfax.
Senator Rand Paul, hoarse and at a loss for words, ceased his month-long filibuster against the nomination of Chelsea Clinton as the new CIA chief, after John Brennan stepped down last month after questions were raised about his alleged money laundering for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Secretary of State John Kerry cut short a vacation in Cannes to be with the President.
As darkness fell, somber crowds congregated outside the White House and Walter Reed, with men and women crying openly in sadness and fear about what would come next, the throngs greatly swelled by members of ACORN, the United Auto Workers, teachers' unions, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Students Association, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and the Service Employees International Union. Busloads of well-wishers had arrived here since Monday after first word came about the President's accident. Now they are crushed and dispirited.
Sobs and anguished cries for consolation mixed with the wails and ululations of professional Muslim mourners.
"Damn, now we have that clown Biden sittin' in the White House," said one mourner with bitterness. "He ain't nothin' but a tuna sandwich! He got no oomph!"
In one neighborhood, Obama supporters set fire to tents and booths used by Tea Party activists protesting the new Anti-Gun Public Safety Law signed by Mr. Obama three weeks ago. “Are you happy now?” the Obama supporters shouted as they ran through the streets with sticks and torches. “Obama is dead! You got what you wanted!” UAW and ACORN mourners reportedly assaulted Tea Partiers who tried to protect their tents and booths, pummeling them and kicking them while they were down.
Capitol Police, cooperating with units from the newly formed volunteer Rapid Deployment Law Enforcement Force, composed largely of ex-gang members from Chicago and Los Angeles, acted to restrain the assailants, but several Tea Partiers were sent to special Obama out-patient clinics where they received minimal medical attention. The RAPDLEF contingents were initially brought in to control crowds and to ensure civility and order as people waited to hear about the President's condition.
Mr. Obama's departure from a country he had dominated for nearly eight years casts into doubt the future of his socialist revolution. It alters the political balance not only in the United States, the largest dependent on foreign oil, but also in Latin America, Europe, and Mideast and the Far East, where Mr. Obama led a group of nations intent on reducing American influence around the globe. Pundits called it his "Humiliation Initiative."
The President was resting from the rigors of his office in a round of golf at one of his favorite courses, the Mink Meadows course on Martha's Vineyard, accompanied by Bubba Watson and Davis Love, when a freak shot and a crooked swing sent the Wilson Ultra Distance ball flying towards a nearby oak tree, where it immediately ricocheted back and struck Mr. Obama square on the forehead. Mr. Watson said the ball would have been traveling at a speed of at least fifty miles per hour, and Mr. Obama's caddy concurred. Mr. Obama, stunned at first, laughed off the mishap, but later became dizzy and complained of nausea. Secret Service men following the trio in a cart acted swiftly and drove the President back to the club house, and then to his beach house retreat.
There the White House physician examined him and diagnosed a ruptured aneurism caused by the blow. The President was then flown by helicopter to Boston's Logan Airport, where the presidential jet awaited him, engines already revved up to fly him back to Washington.
It was while he was in transit to the Capitol that the President suffered a debilitating stroke, causing him to remain unresponsive to verbal cues. At Walter Reed, at the suggestion of the Cuban doctors, special teleprompters were rushed in to aid in an effort revive the President's communication powers, but to no avail. "All we were asking was that he move his head back and forth between them, or even just his eyes," said Dr. Anna Frampton, a heart specialist. "But he just lay there, staring into space, at the ceiling. His speech…I mean his breathing was labored."
Another doctor, Franz Reich, said, "We had hoped he would respond to something familiar, to the teleprompters, which became his trademark, sort of. We even ran some of his speeches on them. But he didn't seem to even notice them."
Aside from the staff at Walter Reed, the late Fidel Castro's personal doctors were flown in on a special flight to assist in the President's recovery. In an incident embarrassing to both the U.S. and Cuba, the doctors almost immediately demanded political asylum. The doctors were removed from the hospital and locked in a hotel room under guard by the Secret Service and Cuban security.
"We've all grown so dependent on Mr. Obama," cried one woman outside the White House. "What's the country going to do, now that our beloved leader is gone?"
Mr. Obama leaves behind a country in a state of political and economic stasis, wracked by an inflation rate of 25% and stalled by an unemployment rate of 30%. Aside from the Anti-Gun legislation, passed by Congress after vitriolic and often contentious fights and signed by Mr. Obama during a televised occasion, the President endured stiff opposition to his proposals to make the Transportation Safety Administration a cabinet position with greater powers of search and seizure, not only at airports and highway checkpoints, but on the streets and in private homes, and his endorsement of the Rapid Deployment Law Enforcement Force, which many characterized as an American kind of Nazi Storm Troopers.
Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, would agree to the TSA being a cabinet post but only if she had full control of it, as well as the FBI, CIA and NSA. "The TSA has been acting like an independent police force, and that's not a workable arrangement."
Wayne LaPierre, still reigning director of the National Rifle Association, was censured by the press and most media outlets for comparing the RAPDLEF to the notorious Hitlerian organization, saying, "We already have the DEA, and the ATF, and FEMA. What would we need another gang of goons for who can act without warrant or court order?" Pressured by the White House to apologize for his remarks, Mr. LaPierre refused, and was ordered placed under house arrest and a tracking device affixed to his ankle by Attorney General Eric Holder. "We have taken this action for Mr. LaPierre's own protection," he said at a news briefing. "He may not volunteer statements to the press, nor the press solicit comments from him."
Other right-wing pundits have called the RAPDLEF a "national police force similar to the Russian Federal Police, formerly the KGB," said a writer in the National Review, but have tempered their criticisms of it and Mr. Obama to avoid similar responses by the Attorney General.
Mr. Obama also was heavily criticized for replacing the image of Thomas Jefferson on the nickel with his own likeness. Many black groups hailed the move, saying it was about time the nickel was reminted. "I always resented that that slaveholder's face was on our coinage, and said the descendent of a slave's face should be put in its place," said director Anita Rice, the recently installed director of the NAACP. When reminded that Mr. Obama is not a descendent of a slave, Ms. Rice embarked on a tirade salted with expletives and terminated the press conference.
Mr. Obama's political career was marked with precedent and controversy. He came out of nowhere in July of 2004, when as a newly elected U.S. Senator from Illinois he delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention. Beginning his campaign for the presidency in 2007, he overcame doubts and obstacles in the form of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who also vied for the office. Another obstacle was the revelation that he had for twenty years attended a church presided over by the late Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose sermons were laced with provocative, some would say "racist" invective. The candidate tactfully distanced himself from the minister who had baptized his two daughters.
Obama twice defeated Republican candidates for the presidency, first John McCain in 2008, and in 2012, Mitt Romney, victories that revealed a mood in the country that was copasetic with his articulate "revolutionary" political and economic agenda, which some called Progressive and others socialist. In 2014, Mr. Obama conceded that his agenda was indeed "socialist," and wished publically in an interview with TV journalist Matt Lauer that the term did not carry "such doomsday, negative connotations." His remarks caused a minor furor among conservative and libertarian columnists, one which subsided after the new "czar" of public information threatened to revoke the licenses of their publications if they would not stop their writers from libeling the President and intimating that he had "dark designs" on the country.
Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, said of Mr. Obama earlier today, after receiving news of the President's death, "The loony right kept calling him a dictator, which was a disgraceful thing to say about him. Granted, Mr. Obama had authoritarian tendencies, but he was not a 'dictator.' He was democratically elected several times. Whether or not those elections were rigged, is irrelevant. It seems that a 'dictator' to the rich and privileged is anyone who wants to cut them down to size and take away their ill-gotten wealth and palaces, which is exactly what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela, and Lenin in Russia, and the Laborites in Britain, and to protect the poor and disadvantaged, and raise them up to humane levels to make life livable for them."
During his first term in office, Mr. Obama endorsed the economic stimulus package assembled by Congress in response to a devastating recession, nicknamed "TARP," which was intended to correct faulty legislation in the past that gave Wall Street wheelers and dealers the leave to make quick billions on the backs of itinerant homeowners and buyers. Although several banks and brokerage houses fell as a result of investigations into their role in the financial legerdemain, the country is still feeling the positive effects of TARP.
Mr. Obama's crowning achievement in his first term, however, was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, nicknamed "ObamaCare," which he signed into law in March 2010. Although the legislation was subjected to specious and often furious criticism by opponents – it was called "socialist," but that term no longer carries the "negative" connotations the President voiced – it is today benefitting untold millions of people who could not otherwise afford medical attention.
While the law compels all Americans to purchase medical insurance, unforeseen consequences resulted in a drop in the number of physicians and other medical specialists in the field. But Mr. Obama was prepared for the reaction, and in 2014 proposed to Congress that it draft the Medical Registration and Compensation Act, which now compels all medical personnel to obtain federal licenses to practice, to register for national service, and to pay a special tax if they do not register for their practices or for national service. States were pressured to disallow or revoke existing licenses if the MRCA was not complied with.
Mr. Obama in both terms has signed a number of laws that expand the powers of the federal government to better fine tune and manage the economy, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Taxpayer Relief Act, and, more recently, the Gender Neutral Military Recruitment and Training Act of 2014. His most ambitious goal in 2014 was to see passage of the National American Service Act, still mired in debates in Congress, which would compel all Americans to serve in a military or civilian capacity for two years upon graduation from high school. Mr. Obama went to great lengths to stress the economic advantages of the Act. "The cost to the country will be minimal in terms of room, board, and wages gauged to an individual's skills and enthusiasm," said Mr. Obama in April, "but we should all agree that freely given service in a multitude of human endeavors cannot help but be the greatest economic boom imaginable."
"We are in this together," Mr. Obama said in his State of the Union Address last January. "It's important that Americans care enough about our country to be willing to go out and spend time and sweat to repair our roads and bridges, to help the elderly and needy, to help the police and the authorities to track slackers and nay-sayers, or help to establish democracy and prosperity in needy nations around the globe as auxiliaries and supporters of the men and women who face the dangers and perils of combat."
Eugene Robertson, longtime columnist and managing editor for the Washington Post, and now professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Florida, was contacted today for his thoughts on the late President. Robertson, a tenacious defender of Mr. Obama even when he conceded the President was in the wrong, sighed plaintively. "He was a great man. A giant. There are a lot of 'bleeding hearts' like me who want to help the poor, but he did something about it, often at his own risk and cost. Take that stunt he pulled with HHS and Sebelius, asking everyone to rat on anyone who criticized him. Bad move. But he was pioneering new territory and he was bound to trip up a few times. I think, after all he's accomplished, people have forgiven him his stumbles."
Mr. Obama's foreign policy triumphs are numerous. He ended our military involvement in Iraq, hammered out an arms control treaty with Russia which has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory, negotiated a treaty with the Taliban to allow it to reacquire Afghanistan with American military aid, forced Israel to stop building houses even in places it legally occupies, helped to establish friendly regimes in Egypt, Libya, and Syria, and ordered the operation that finally terminated Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
Quite a few feathers in his cap. Make that a golf cap. It's going to wind up in a museum.
Stung once by the charge that his policies were "anti-American," Mr. Obama retorted, with not a little spice in his voice, "There's something wrong with that kind of thinking. It's sick. To be 'pro-American' is to be for everything about America that I'm trying to correct. It's time for America to stop thinking it's the center of the universe and man's last best hope and stuff like that. Our best hope, I have said many times, is for America to approach the world humbly, hat in hand, and ask for forgiveness. My foreign policy has always been based on a quest for forgiveness. To me, that's being 'pro-American.' We're just another citizen of the global village."
Hillary Rodham Clinton, with whom Mr. Obama had had not a few conflicts, especially over who was responsible for the Benghazi massacre of Americans in 2012, could not be reached for immediate comment. She is preparing to run for the White House in 2016, and her campaign headquarters in New York City promises to issue a statement soon. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is in Dubai as a guest speaker at a conference co-hosted by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation about how to combat Islamophobia and police blasphemous speech. Mr. Clinton said by phone, "I am saddened by Mr. Obama's unexpected passing, and my heart goes out to Michelle and their children. But his path was righteous and shining, and I'm sure the right person will follow it in the future."
Outside the White House, as darkness falls, Capitol Police and RAPDLEF personnel urge mourners to disperse and return to their hotels to escape from the growing cold. Flakes fall on the tear-streaked faces of many of the people here. There is an altercation in one corner of the milling crowd, when the police arrest a man who was trying to sell what he claimed was the golf ball that felled the President. "They outa lock him up for life, he got no respect for our man!" shouted one mourner as the police hustled the fraudster into a van. "That's something else, pulling that kind of s**t on people at a time like this!"
Another mourner, a bedraggled woman in a Trayvon Martin hoodie, could be heard muttering to herself as she wandered away, "It isn't fair. Struck down in his prime. What're we gonna do for a leader now? The love is gone. The power is gone. What're we gonna do now?"