Skip to main content

The tranquillity of Obama's mind

By Newt Gingrich
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1933 GMT (0333 HKT)
President Barack Obama calls Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the Malaysian airliner downed in eastern Ukraine.
President Barack Obama calls Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the Malaysian airliner downed in eastern Ukraine.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Newt Gingrich: The more dangerous world becomes more Obama hides in fantasy world
  • He says Obama's self-image as a "bear" is delusional and out of touch with reality
  • Gingrich: Putin's muscular approach makes Obama look weak and disconnected

Editor's note: Newt Gingrich is a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," which airs at 6:30 p.m. ET weekdays, and author of a new book, "Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America's Fate." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- When White House press secretary Josh Earnest said this week that President Barack Obama had "substantially improved the tranquillity of the global community," many observers reacted with disbelief.

When the President refused to go to the U.S.-Mexico border last week to see the crisis of young people flooding into the United States because "he's not interested in photo ops," lesser mortals noted he had played pool with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, dropped by a brewery to have a beer and shook hands with a man wearing a horse-head mask.

When he went to Delaware on Thursday and opened with a few sentences about the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine before joking about Joe Biden and going back to his prepared text on infrastructure, many thought he had failed to take seriously an international disaster. They were even less impressed when he had lunch at the Charcoal Pit and ordered burgers and fries (not a photo op, of course). It was not until 24 hours later that he took to the podium to promise an aggressive investigation.

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria causing the collapse of Iraq and continued violence in Syria, the Syrian dictatorship consolidating its power, the Iranians failing to take steps to end their nuclear weapons program and Hamas firing more than 1,000 rockets at Israel, the President and his team have moved decisively to brief The New York Times on his passion for late-night intellectual dinners exploring physics, architecture and questions far more profound than the fate of the Middle East.

It is as though the more dangerous the world becomes the more Obama hides in a fantasy world of avoiding the responsibilities of the presidency. He uses the office to surround himself with court jesters who distract him in an enlightened and noble way from the growing failures of his policies and the rapidly expanding threats to the civilized world.

Finally, as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to flex his muscles and expand his policies, there is a psychologically bizarre pattern of the President's staff referring to Obama as "the Bear."

Obama: Rebels supplied by Russia
Obama: Deaths an unspeakable outrage
Christie: Obama doing awful job on border

The President refers to himself when he asserts "the Bear is loose." Of course with a President who last week used "I", "my" or "mine" 207 times in one speech, the concept is beyond bizarre. The White House staff, thinking somehow that this was clever, promptly turned the phrase into a Twitter hashtag, #TheBearIsLoose.

Obama's idea of a loose bear is an unplanned walk to a Starbucks near the White House. Putin's idea of a loose bear is stealing Crimea. Obama's idea of risk-taking is shooting pool with a Democratic governor. Putin's idea of risk-taking is handing out anti-aircraft missiles to rebels in Ukraine. Putin's actions remind us of a time when America was threatened by a real metaphorical bear, as a 1984 Reagan campaign ad referred to the Soviet Union.

The self-image of Obama as a bear is so delusional that it brings into question the degree to which he is simply out of touch with reality.

Which brings us back to Earnest's quote about tranquillity in the international community.

What he's channeling is Obama's personal tranquillity.

From his perch in the amazingly Obama-centric world in which our President lives, look again at what the rest of us think of as serious problems.

Have any of the 1,000-plus Hamas rockets been aimed at Obama? No. That is why Obama is tranquil.

Have any of the thousands who are crossing the border tried to move into the White House? No. That is why Obama is tranquil.

Is ISIS an immediate threat to the United States that is likely to blow up the next golf course the President is playing at? No. That is why Obama is tranquil.

If you can reduce your presidency to a Starbucks visit, a man with a horse-head mask, shooting pool and visiting Joe Biden's burger joint for lunch, you can have a successful presidency as you have defined it, even if the world is disintegrating.

The President's detachment from reality is fast infecting the rest of his party. How else can we explain fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stating this week that "the border is secure"?

This "tranquillity" line was a Freudian slip by the President's spokesman that reveals the deep gap between reality and the Obama White House.

Obama is rapidly becoming the weakest president since James Buchanan failed to stop the drift toward Civil War.

Self-delusion and a rich fantasy life are dangerous in a president. They often lead to disasters that are unimaginable until they happen.

That is what we have to worry about for the next two years until he leaves public office for a private fantasyland.

Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
David Wheeler wonders: If Scotland votes to secede, can America take its place and rejoin England?
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 2036 GMT (0436 HKT)
World-famous physicist Stephen Hawking recently said the world as we know it could be obliterated instantaneously. Meg Urry says fear not.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Sally Kohn says bombing ISIS will worsen instability in Iraq and strengthen radical ideology in terrorist groups.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
Artist Prune Nourry's project reinterprets the terracotta warriors in an exhibition about gender preference in China.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
The Apple Watch is on its way. Jeff Yang asks: Are we ready to embrace wearables technology at last?
ADVERTISEMENT