President Obama is the backward man. Teddy Roosevelt's advice to "speak softly and carry a big stick" was meant as a guide to successful foreign relations.
Obama has completely muddled the message. He speaks softly to foreign adversaries and uses the big stick on American dissenters.
Iran and Syria are wooed endlessly with carrots, apologies and promises of grand bargains. They respond with taunts and threats and pay no penalty.
North Korea sinks a South Korean ship, and our secretary of state says it means no more business as usual. That's an admission it has been business as usual even after the loony kingdom tested nukes.
The Mexican president comes to Washington and berates American citizens for expressing their views through the democratic process, and Obama shamefully nods in agreement. A State Department aide apologizes to China -- to China! -- about our treatment of illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, American "fat-cat bankers" and "greedy" doctors and sundry opponents are demonized as enemies of the state. They respond by sullenly surrendering the health-care and financial industries to Big Government.
Welcome to a double disaster. America now has a foreign policy that is a dangerous flop and a homeland as bitterly divided as ever.
And don't forget 10 percent unemployment and skyrocketing deficits and debt.
Heckuva job, Mr. President.
That's the Obama record. Just because he won't face it -- or even answer questions about it -- doesn't mean the rest of us must ignore it.
America is in trouble, and Obama can't be counted on to save her.
For the dead-enders who held out hope he would moderate his drive to neuter America in the image of European welfare states, it's give-up time. The error of his ways are so abundant and obvious that Obama's determination to plunge ahead must be seen as a fully informed choice.
He's not going to change. He is who he is, and what you see is what you are going to get for as long as he is president.
Obama has made two fundamental decisions, and both are making us weaker. He is putting America on bended knee around the world, and he is centralizing in the political class more and more power over the domestic economy.
His goal of trading America's old friends and allies for new ones threatens to leave us more isolated than before. The old ones are mad and suspicious, and the new ones don't want to be our friends.
How exactly have Russia and China reciprocated our self-abasement? They haven't, but we have managed to cause angst and anger in Britain, Israel and Eastern Europe.
If George W. Bush's "cowboy diplomacy" was to blame for the predicament Obama inherited, who is to blame for this new world order? It's not Bush's fault that Turkey and Brazil are taking Iran's side and giving it cover to get nukes. It happened on Obama's watch because of his policies.
That was a defining moment, as was the visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He blasted Arizona's anti-illegal immigrant bill as "discriminatory" and demanded Obama do something about it.
Did our president defend his fellow Americans? Nah. He simply offered that he'd like to do what Calderon demanded, but "I don't have 60 votes in the Senate."
The outrage was compounded when Democrats in Congress gave Calderon a standing ovation after he repeated his denunciation at the Capitol. It was a shocking display of anti-Americanism of the kind routine in Mexico City, but wholly inappropriate in the halls of Washington.
I'm surprised nobody thought to burn an American flag.
POLS LEARN THEIR LESSON
Step back from the hand-to-hand combat over charter schools, overtime scams and pension padding, and the big picture is clear: Officials in New York and New Jersey are finally standing up to rapacious public unions.
It's a heartening scenario that marks a departure from the supine days of the last decade. As the economic boom filled government coffers, the pols spent it all and then some by adding to bloated payrolls.
The money wasn't entirely wasted. Bribing, er, paying organized labor is a reason why re-election rates resemble those in the Politburo.
The recession and elections are changing the rules. Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leading the charge for reform and, for his courage, is the target of TV ads and demonstrations aimed at making parents believe he wants to fire their kids' teachers. It's a ritual that is usually effective because the pols usually buckle.
Christie so far is hanging tough, and MTA chief Jay Walder is also breaking the mold. He is going after excessive absentees, with 25 percent of bus and subway workers missing more than two weeks of work a year.
But there are worrisome signs in the city's fight with teachers. Mayor Bloomberg got the union's attention with threats to lop off 6,400 teachers, including some unfilled slots.
At the same time, he wants more charter schools, which would help the state's bid for federal money. And the union wants a 4 percent raise and figures the federal cash could be part of it.
That deal, if it gets done, won't be true reform. It would expand charters -- a good thing, albeit with restrictions.
But it would put off for another day the unsustainable burden of labor costs already breaking the bank. One report says 3,700 New York city and state workers have annual pensions above $100,000 that are exempt from local income taxes.
Remember the advice about holes: The best way out of them is to stop digging.
Vultures circle after span leap
This one's a lesson on how good cops become scapegoats and fat targets for tort lawyers.
Four of the Finest tried to control and handcuff a mentally ill man who wanted to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. A lieutenant tried to stun him with a Taser, but the gun misfired and 29-year-old Chukwudi Onyenwe ran to the side of the bridge, stripped naked and jumped.
For their heroic efforts, the cops are being blamed. Onyenwe's father, a public-health adviser, said, "They let him fall into the river." But he admitted his son suffered from depression and was on medication.
That smells like a lawsuit in the making, and the Manhattan DA is also poking around. The whole thing is shaping up as an awful ending to a tragic story -- a suicide, a big payday for ambulance chasers and more incentive for cops to look the other way. All courtesy of the taxpayers who will pay the tab.
Sounding off on cells
A study says other people's cellphone conversations are annoying because we only hear one side of the conversation.
It calls these "halfalogues" distracting.
Maybe. Then again, the annoyance factor could be that most people on cellphones SHOUT LIKE THIS!
Now I feel better.
'Semper lie' detector
The Post had the best head line on Connecticut con man Richard Blumenthal's claim that he was a Marine in Viet nam -- "Semper lie." Says it all.
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