“How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad,” former President Barack Obama asked a crowd in Illinois over the weekend. Well, probably no harder than saying the words “radical Islam,” I imagine. Or maybe it’s slightly less difficult than not sending billions of dollars to Holocaust-denying terror regimes that have both the means and intent to murder Jews—in 2018, not 1942. And it’s definitely a lot easier than not meeting, posing, then smiling for a picture with Louis Farrakhan. But thanks for the lecture.
Obama may well find the presence of a few hundred pathetic white supremacists more perilous than a deadly worldwide ideological movement with millions of adherents. But just as Obama’s sins do not excuse President Trump’s inexplicable answer to the Charlottesville riot, Trump’s words don’t excuse the most divisive modern president, a man whose unilateralism and contempt for the process and the Constitution helped create the environment America now find itself in.
While Obama’s self-reverential speech was crammed with revisionism, the most jaw-dropping contention from the former president was probably a defense of his record on free speech: “I complained plenty about Fox News,” the scandal-ridden Obama explained, “but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them ‘enemies of the people.’”
That’s the thing. We often hear Trump’s hyperbolic, and sometimes destructive, attacks on the press. Thankfully, as of yet the president hasn’t applied the power of the state to inhibit anyone’s free expression. And this is no thanks to liberals’ eight-year efforts to empower the executive branch when that was useful to them.
It’s worth remembering that it was Obama who called out the Supreme Court during a State of the Union speech for defending the First Amendment in the Citizens United case, and his allies who still argue that state should be able to ban political documentaries — and, yes, books. Let’s also not forget Obama’s Internal Revenue Service admitted then apologized for cracking down on conservative political groups. It was the Obama administration that blamed the Benghazi attack on free speech, apologizing to tyrannies for the excesses of free expression, and then, for good measure, threw the amateurish videomaker behind “The Innocence of Muslims” into jail. (Read more from “Obama Reminds Us Why Donald Trump Is President” HERE)