Recently, President Barack Obama told a press conference: “I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as President … he’s woefully unprepared to do this job.” He added: “Mitt Romney and John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues, but I never thought that they couldn’t do the job.”
Of course, when he was running against them, Obama said that McCain lacked the “temperament” to be president, and accused literally Romney of killing a woman by laying off her husband from his job.
It is worth recalling how few qualifications Obama himself had — and how many factors ought to have disqualified him. Both Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) drew attention to his deficiencies — Clinton with her infamous “3 a.m.” ad, and McCain with his “Not Ready to Lead” slogan.
They were both right: Obama was unfit for the presidency — and remains so. He leaves office as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. Here are five ways Obama was unprepared* — and the results:
1. Jeremiah Wright – Obama’s decades-long membership in a racist church, whose pastor celebrated the terror attacks of 9/11, ought to have disqualified him from office. Certainly any candidate who was not the first viable black candidate for president would have been pressured to quit the race. Wright was only the first of many dubious associations with Chicago radicals, including former terrorist Bill Ayers — with whom Obama carried on a relationship that his campaign lied about. The result? Eight years of racially divisive rhetoric, and eight years of refusing even to acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism.
2. Slumlord for cronies. Obama built relationships with Chicago property developers who advised him and raised money for him. He directed public funds to private companies that build and “maintained” (or failed to maintain) public housing. These included Valerie Jarrett, who owned slums in Obama’s state senate district, and fundraiser Tony Rezko, with whom the Obamas also did a shady land deal. The Boston Globe found many of the buildings uninhabitable. The patten was mirrored by the cronyism of the 2009 stimulus, as well as the failure of Obamacare, a publicly-subsidized private insurance calamity.
3. No legislative achievements. Before seeking federal office in 2004, Obama had no legislative achievements whatsoever. When it looked like he might run for Senate, political bosses in Illinois put his name on legislation he had nothing to do with. (“I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator,” one said.) Once in Washington, Obama did little but scuttle bipartisan efforts to pass important bills like immigration reform — the better to exploit that issue in his own elections. That foreshadowed his behavior in the White House, where he refused to work with Congress and instead imposed his will by unconstitutional executive fiat.
4. Anti-war hysteria. Obama prided himself on a speech he gave in 2002 against the Iraq War — a speech so memorable that no one actually recorded it. He promised in 2007 to negotiate with America’s enemies “without preconditions” — a pledge so naïve that his campaign actually denied it. The result: the premature withdrawal from Iraq; the capitulation to the Taliban in Afghanistan; the disastrous Iran deal — which grows worse every day; the Russian “reset,” which led to the abandonment of the Ukraine; and the Libya War, which Obama regarded as a way to prove his military mettle, but led to terror and chaos.
5. Little private sector experience. Aside from an early job out of college — which he hated — Obama had no experience of the private sector, beyond hitting up Wall Street friends for campaign cash. In fact, he had little executive experience of any kind. But his lack of experience in the private sector was crucial, because he made it the target of many of his policies, from Obamacare to climate change. As a result, Obama doubled the national debt and presided over the slowest recovery since the Second World War. The economy grew — barely — in spite of Obama, thanks to fracking and the Fed’s easy money policies.
* Unprepared, not “disqualified.” The Birther theory, which began in the Clinton campaign, had no basis in fact or law. But its likely origins lay in claims by Obama himself, through his literary agent, that he had been “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.” The fact that so little was known about Obama despite his having written two memoirs — the first, highly fictionalized — was a mark of the opacity that would later make his administration the least transparent since Nixon.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.