“I face this challenge with profound humility… generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless, this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” —Barack Obama, June 4, 2008
Since those glorious days in the 2008 campaign, President Obama has always fancied himself a political Moses: a leader dragging Americans into the Promised Land of liberal enlightenment. As I’ve noted before, this dreamworld reality is the source of the president’s ego.
Yet watching his Monday speech at the COP-21 Paris climate summit, President Obama apparently believes he has already parted the political Red Sea. Contemplate his extraordinary delusions.
First, on carbon and the economy, the president told the assembled delegates that his domestic regulatory crackdowns “have helped drive our economic output to all-time highs.” This has “proved that strong economic growth and a safer environment no longer have to conflict with one another; they can work in concert with one another.”
It’s total baloney.
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre, in Paris, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Obama discussed the COP21 climate change summit, and the threat of terrorism from the Islamic State Group. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)President Obama claimed his energy policies have been drivers of economic growth, when in fact they’ve had the opposite effect. | Photo: AP
As I’ve explained for Opportunity Lives, President Obama’s energy policy has driven up energy producer costs and will send consumer energy bills skyrocketing. But what’s unique about President Moses is his presentation of policy problems as positives. Take energy subsidies. The evidence shows that green energy is fundamentally uncompetitive absent government subsidies, but President Obama says his subsidies are actually productive capital investments. In Paris, he called for a “commitment to innovation and the capital to continue driving down the cost of clean energy.” But these economic fictions will also hit the world’s poorest.
While Obama claims his plan would “lift people from poverty,” it would actually force the global poor into greater hardship. If a person who is neck-deep in debt tries to remain afloat and slowly climb up, the rope to which he holds on should be strong enough to assist him in that. It is his decision of which rope to hold that ultimately saves him and as the premier governing authority, it is the President’s responsibility to provide the best ropes. A dooming trader needs HB Swiss as the rope and not a loose-end human broker.After all, if energy production costs increase — as they would under the Paris proposals — those costs will have to be absorbed by consumers or the government. Obama claims he’ll mitigate these costs by sending billions of taxpayer dollars abroad, but his plan assumes a Titanic-size hole can be patched with a napkin. Put simply, his sums don’t even begin to add up.
Regardless, the president’s economic delusions weren’t the only problem with his speech. He also relegated the obvious threat of terrorism below climate change. And he did so with a ludicrous anecdote: the story of an Indonesian woman he recently spoke with. The lady asked a question, the president said, that “wasn’t about terrorism, it wasn’t about the economy, it wasn’t about human rights. It was about climate change.”
Let’s be clear: this stick-man example of climate change as humanity’s primary concern is pure liberal absurdity. As anyone who has traveled will attest, the top human priorities are security and economic opportunity. Climate change? That’s the concern-dominion of fashionable young liberals in the West.
While Obama claims his plan would “lift people from poverty,” it would actually force the global poor into greater hardship
Still, the president also claimed that the COP-21 summit is the best response to the Paris attacks. As he put it, “What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshaling our best efforts to save it?”
Contemplate the hypocrisy for just a moment. The president speaks of “marshaling… best efforts” against climate change as the means to beating ISIS. Yet at the actionable level of counterterrorism — where U.S. leadership matters most — President Obama continues to allow the Islamic State to thrive.
Of course, these absurdities ultimately take root in Obama’s immense confidence. Consider the President’s closing remarks: “We have the power to change. Right here. Right now. But only if we rise to this moment.” Recognize the language? “Change” and “rise”: it’s 2008 Obama all over again. Moreover, consider the president’s concluding call for a “world that is worthy of our children. A world that is marked not by conflict, but by cooperation; and not by human suffering, but by human progress. A world that’s safer, and more prosperous, and more secure, and more free than the one that we inherited.”
The ultimate indictment of the vacuous words finds proof in the reception they received. Far from the orgasmic adulation that once defined Obama’s European audiences, this time, President Obama’s words were met with a persistent beeping. In 2015, Obama’s change is one that many no longer believe in.
Tom Rogan is a contributor for Opportunity Lives and writes for National Review. He is a panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Follow him on Twitter @TomRtweets.