There are some people who see President Obama as an arrogant narcissistic boor. Yet, I think a case can be made that he actually is a modest man, much too modest. Well, at least for the sake of this column he is.
He was interviewed on CBS's "60 Minutes" this past December. Apparently they caught him with a few spare minutes in between 18 holes and Hawaii. Not many are aware that a portion of that interview did not make it to TV. Apparently some of his advisers thought that it would make him look arrogant and narcissistic. That segment which we never got to see has the President claiming that his accomplishments make him the fourth best President in history even though he's been in office for a mere three years.
See what I mean about being modest. Did he claim to be the greatest of all time? He's too modest for that. According to the President, the only ones he hasn't beat out yet are Lincoln, FDR, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. Even without being reelected, there are those who claim he's the greatest ever just because of his presence. And if he does get another term, he could be walking on water.
Just look at what he did in the first few months as President. In October 2009, he won the Nobel Peace Prize even without bringing peace to anywhere in the world. Did he bring an end to the Iraq War in 2009? Nope, but just to show you the strength of his greatness and future greatness, he got the Peace Prize. He just promised to bring about a more peaceful world and that was good enough for all those great minds in Sweden. How's that for being cool? All he had to do was promise to bring peace and he won a prize.
If he hadn't won that Peace Prize, can you imagine how bad things would be in the Middle East right now? Why, for crying out loud, Libya, Egypt, Syria would be in turmoil, U.S aircraft carriers would be stationed off the coasts of Iran prepared to reduce Tehran to a smoldering cinder.
So since he claimed to be the fourth best president, let's assess his case against a few of those lesser ones like even our very first president in history. You'll see that Obama is right on the mark.
George Washington - a pretty good President but he provoked a Whiskey Rebellion when he placed a tax on it. Has Barack Obama tried to tax whiskey or any other beverage? Absolutely not. Will he probably tax chocolate cake, doughnuts, and pies to combat obesity? Sure, but a tax on having a big bum will be good for us.
Thomas Jefferson was our third President. He bought 800,000 square miles of land known as the Louisiana Purchase. Do you know what we got for that? We got places like Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Arkansas. Other than a bunch of good college football teams coming from there, was it really worth $15 million? Go Obama.( As they say in show biz, just kidding. I love those states.)
John Quincy Adams was our sixth president and need we say anything more than Obama beats him easily on names alone. With a girly man middle name of Quincy versus Hussein it is no contest. I'll bet Quincy had his lunch money taken away everyday.
Millard Fillmore was a Buffalonian. His most famous quote is, " An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory." There is no doubt that the Bills and Sabres have been living up to the motto for years though many in Western New York will soon take a dishonorable victory, as foul as they come, over the meekest of honorable defeats.
One of Fillmore's major achievements while President was to establish the White House Library. That was the one singular room which George W. would quickly walk past as though the Japanese Fukishima reactor was steaming in there ready to meltdown.
Benjamin Harrison was the President in 1891 when electricity was installed in the White House. Big deal. Obama has been hanging with Stevie Wonder, Johnny Depp, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Obama beats out Ben Harrison with ease.
Chester Arthur was President from 1881 to 1885. He signed the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited Chinese from entering the US. Can you imagine what our SAT scores would look like if Obama did that? And if he did try to exclude the Chinese from entering the U.S., China would simply foreclose on America and turn out the lights. Obama beats out Chester Arthur who definitely only deserved one term.
Grover Cleveland presided during the Panic of 1893 when too much railroad building occurred. Obama can't be blamed for over building anything. He'll soon be sending Michelle to smash a champagne bottle over the grand opening of a new paper route.
Calvin Coolidge was simply a meany old President. In the 1924 he signed an immigration act that limited the number of people who could enter the U.S. Since that was not at all fair, we now allow anybody in and pay for everything from their college education to prison sentences. Score another one for our No. 4 President.
Harry Truman ended World War II but he had to drop two atomic bombs on Japan to do it. Since Barack Obama won a Peace Prize by just promising to bring peace, all that he would've had to do is promise to bomb Japan and bingo, the war would have ended.
Dwight Eisenhower was famous for his love of golf. He played an estimated 1,000 times in his two terms. Even though Obama will never exceed that distinction, he could easily beat Eisenhower who was a hacker. And he would trounce Ike and any other President in a game of one-on-one basketball.
Gerald Ford was our 38th President for about 2 1/2 years. He had the distinction of never being elected vice president or President. He took over for VP Spiro Agnew, who resigned, and the disgraced Richard Nixon. Even though Obama was born on Mars, transported here on a meteor with Superman and a Hawaiian birth certificate in his diaper, at least he was elected. Obama 1 vs. Ford 0.
George H. Bush presided over the 1989 Savings and Loan bailout which ended up costing U.S. taxpayers several hundred billion dollars. Don't make me laugh. That's chump change. Barack Obama could blow a few hundred billion between breakfast and lunch. He'll see George H. several hundred billion and raise him $ 4 trillion.
Obama claims to be better than Ronald Reagan which is easy to understand. In eight years of his Presidency, all Reagan can claim is a military invasion over the Caribbean powerhouse of Grenada. Of course, they did own a pistol and a slingshot. Obama could've taken them out with one drone while he was lining up a 4 foot putt.
Finally, Obama claims to be a better President than Bill Clinton. That's an easy victory for him. All he needs to say are two words. Blue dress.
Nin Privitera is a Fredonia resident. His column appears monthly in the OBSERVER. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org