‘Hope & Change,’ ‘The JV Team’: The Trouble with Governance by Vacuous Analogy

The beginning of wisdom is to call a thing by its right name.

~ Chinese Proverb

Today in a State Department briefing, on the brutal beheading of American journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, Spokesperson Jen Psaki refused, when pressed whether this beheading was considered an act of war by the Administration to acknowledge it, saying only “I’m not, again, going to put any new labels on this.”

Six years after this President was first elected on the hollow, unicornian promise of “Hope and Change,” he is still attempting to govern by the strategy on which he rode into office – vacuous slogans. Somewhere along the line (see the President’s tanking approval ratings), Hope and Change met truth and reality. And now, the President has no words. Or at least none with the power to persuade the oceans to heal, or, as our foreign policy so woefully reflects, none convincing enough to cause the hand clenching a knife, at the throat of two of our own, to outstretch.

It is time for the President to end the campaign speeches. It is time to stop governing by vacuous analogy.

The President’s characterization of ISIS as the “jayvee team” only served to embolden their will to do us harm.

Today, as Jen Psaki spoke so carefully, with an unwillingness to call the brutal slaughter of the second of our citizens in as many weeks “acts of war,” it became apparent that this Administration fails miserably at facing reality. They are stuck in Hope and Change mode. And it’s time to call the growing international crisis that we face by its real name.

There are things in life that go away if you ignore them. Terrorists are not among those things. That this Administration was taken by surprise at the growing threat of ISIS, and that they can’t be clear whether we do or do not have a strategy to deal with them, is at best embarrassing. At worst, it places our national security in grave peril. ISIS cannot simply be put off, as the President now plans to do with his “Pen and Sword Immigration Plan” until after the mid-term elections. They don’t operate on a timeline of political expediency.

When the “javyee team” proved that they were, in fact, very serious players, the President very casually re-analogized them “a cancer,” yet proceeded to deal with them in a way that would prove wildly ineffective in a battle with actual cancer. His propensity for failed analogies is unparalleled in modern political history.

I would encourage President Obama, and those who would advise him, to lay down their chosen arms of slogans and analogies. You were successful in using them to persuade American voters, but our allies and enemies know better. Even the American public, who believed your grandiose promises, are even seeing the light. Your slogans may be able to affect voting day behavior, but they do not affect terrorists. They do not persuade dictators, and world leaders, who would seek to fill the void left by an American President who fails to recognize evil when he sees it. The world needs a leader who is not afraid to call evil by its real name. And, while it doesn’t make you comfortable, you are still that leader.

It’s past time to end the use of trying to liken these terrorists to other things with hollow metaphor. It’s time to call them evil, and deal with them accordingly.