The government in exile — the real one, according to the media — has had a busy week at home and abroad. “President Obama” has given up leading from behind and presumes now to lead from overseas. His secretary of state has a new mission, as missionary to the safe places where snowflakes fall.
Mr. Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to lecture America and the West to quit being so beastly to the strivers of the Third World, and open wider the borders of the West. “We can’t isolate ourselves,” the former president said from a platform at the Brandenburg Gate. “We can’t hide behind a wall.”
This is the message that resonates with Mrs. Merkel and many of the Europeans, even it strikes a sour note at home and even in Britain, coming just days after the spawn of a Libyan immigrant murdered nearly two dozen Britons, including several children, and then blew himself up at a concert arena in Manchester.
Timing is everything, as the man said, and the president in exile used his appearance in Berlin as a coming-out party after nearly six months of playing celebrity in borrowed houses across the South Seas and the Caribbean, playing at golf instead of government. But boredom set it and when Frau Merkel agreed to receive him as a fellow head of state, well, why not? She knew she could count on him to deliver platitudes and goo-goo worthy of an American president in exile.
“One way we can do a better job is to create more opportunities for people in their home countries,” Mr. Obama said. “If there are disruptions in these countries, if there is bad governance, if there is war, or if there is poverty in this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves — we can’t hide behind a wall.”
Then the treacle turned to mush. “A child on the other side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than my own child. We can’t distinguish between in terms of their worth and inherent dignity, and that they’re deserving of shelter and love and education and opportunity.”
Well, who could argue with that. Everybody likes children. But like so many liberals and “progressives,” the former president does not mean that what he says should be taken literally, or even seriously. Walls, after all, are relative. America can’t have one, but he can. The president lives in an enormous rented mansion behind a brick and stone wall built just for him, and which he has fitted out as the White House in exile, with a staff and lots of electronic communications gear, requiring the seizure of a quarter of a mile of a quiet residential street to be guarded by a Secret Service detail not much smaller than the platoon of heavily armed agents who kept him safe, sound and ready for action at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Mr. Obama might think (though the Secret Service probably doesn’t) that he is safe from illegal immigrants up to no good simply because of who he is. But more bad timing: Only one day after the former president’s tryst with Frau Merkel, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, revealed that Customs and Border Protection had released, at Mr. Obama’s direction, 16 members of the remarkably brutal MS-13 gang, freed to look at will for opportunities to kill and plunder.
“[The federal authorities] apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed them into our communities,” the senator told his committee.
Mr. Obama seems not to understand that an American child on this side of the border is no less worthy of love and compassion than a child on the other side of that border, or, since the former president mentioned it, his own child.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the secretary of state in exile, auditioning to be a stand-up comic, told graduates of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard that in the good old days presided over by Barack Obama the way to get ahead in government was to run for office. “But with this White House,” he said, “I’d say buy Rosetta Stone and learn Russian.” He told the graduates that when he listens to the news now he thinks he’s in a country “the State Department warns Americans not to travel to.”
A presidency in exile is not as good as the real thing, but Mr. Obama and the Democrats clearly think they are the real thing. Donald Trump is merely the interloper, and once he and his administration are destroyed, the Restoration will be at hand.
• Wesley Pruden is the editor in chief emeritus of The Times.
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