The Incredible Shrinking President
Yesterday, the U.S. backed government in Yemen fell to the rebels it fought unsuccessfully for years. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, one of America’s strongest allies in the region, died. The leanings of his successor are unclear. The Israelis provided aerial photos of a new Iranian long-range missile capable of reaching our shores. And President Obama was in the White House taking selfies with a comedian whose shtick is bathing in fruit loops and milk.
In the 1957 movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, the main character shrinks in height after exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide. By the end of the movie, he can walk between the wires in a window screen, which he does to escape from his own basement. As the credits roll, he bravely faces the world with the knowledge that he will eventually disappear entirely.
The movie won the first Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation by the World Science Fiction Convention. In 2009, the Library of Congress added it to the National Film Registry assuring the film’s preservation in perpetuity.
In the life imitates art category, the United States in 2015 finds itself saddled with the incredible shrinking President. Exposure to reality has left Obama a Lilliputian-sized man with a gigantic compulsion to deny a reality that his modest abilities cannot successfully address. The more he shrinks, the more he shouts, the less he’s heard and the more dangerous the planet becomes.
Everyone in the Country finally seems to know it as the groundswell of bipartisan criticism begins to build to a crescendo. It’s one thing to release Gitmo detainees while terrorism across the globe is increasing dramatically. Or pig-headedly call radical Islam “nihilism”.
Or foolishly declare that Afghanistan will never again be the source of terrorism. Or announce a symposium on terrorism while the rest of the world marches in unity in Paris against the bloody scourge.
It’s another to persistently misrepresent the state of world affairs in order to tout imaginary accomplishments. Just last September Obama identified Yemen as an example of the success of his foreign policy.
He was almost right. Yemen is an example of his foreign policy and it is a portent of things to come on the larger international stage. But, success is not associated with it. While Obama was busy talking about his achievement last fall, rebels were growing in strength and finally overthrew the government yesterday.
Like the Incredible Shrinking Man, Obama is now small enough to walk through the wires of a window screen on his way to oblivion. Unlike the movie, he’s unlikely to win any awards for it.