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
December 27, 2014 -- Updated 0127 GMT (0927 HKT)
The ability to manipulate media and technology has increasingly become a critical strategic resource, says Jeff Yang.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT