I have been staying away from cable news of late because I am tired of the over-the-top, wall-to-wall coverage of the death and funeral of Nelson Mandela. Granted, he was a magnanimous man who helped heal deep wounds in South African society after suffering decades of imprisonment for his opposition to apartheid. But therein lies the rub: His opposition to South Africa's segregationist regime allegedly included many acts of terrorism and murder by the organization he chaired, the African National Congress. And make no mistake, the ANC was rife with communists.
Although some would disagree with this assessment, I would have to rank the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a more singular figure. After all, she turned around Great Britain's miserable economy by implementing free market reforms and lowering taxes, as well as by cutting through the thicket of bureaucray that had strangled the U.K. for decades. At the same time, she served as a staunch ally to President Ronald Reagan in facing down the menacing threat of the Soviet Union.
What Mandela did was vitally important and inspirational for South Africa -- particularly its black residents. But it did not have the worldwide ramifications of the West's victory over Soviet totalitarianism -- the breakup of the Soviet Union, free elections in eastern Europe and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
But of course, President Barack Obama's disdain for England is well-known. Remember how quickly he sent the Winston Churchill bust back across the pond shortly after he moved into the Oval Office? So it's no wonder he skipped Thatcher's funeral. But for Mandela? Why, he gathered up a group of his closest sycophant advisors, including permanent appendage Valerie Jarrett, to jet off to South Africa.
And this is exactly the type of event the O-man LOVES. He gets to play the rock star and revel in the adulation. While much has been made of his handshake with Cuban surrogate dictator Raul Castro, methinks Fidel's brother was just another face in the rope line to the O-man.
When it came time for Obama to speak, he reverted to typical form, using "I" and "me" a sickening number of times in his speech. Why does every single event in which this man participates end up being about him? And what about the childish antics of Obama, British Primes Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Hell Thorning-Schmidt as they giggled and took a self-portrait with a phone camera while a grumpy Michelle sat nearby? You would expect such behavior from a 13-year-old at a funeral, but not from the leader of the free world.
Friends, it's an entirely new ballgame when it comes to presidential decorum and disposition. (Well, not really new -- we've been observing this for five years.) But new compared to the previous 200-plus years. Like the outsized Mandela coverage, the crassness of Barack Obama's celebrity presidency gets old in a hurry.