"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
So said Dean Wormer, the Nixonian head of Faber College, to Flounder in Animal House.
Dean Wormer might have been speaking of all of the bloated, cognitively challenged drunkards who ever doubted President Obama, a fan of the late Harold Ramis, who was the lead screenwriter on Animal House and many other comic films of the 1970s, '80s and '90s.
I include myself among those dumbbells who at one time questioned this president. My problem was that I was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, and it struck me as being more than a little hubristic for a man who had not served even one term in the Congress or Senate to run for president.
My view may not have been so different from that of Maureen Dowd, who once wrote that President Obama had to look deep into his soul to determine who he was. In her view, he emerged with the realization that he was Barry, president of the Harvard Law Review.
Perhaps, not unlike Dowd, I felt that anyone, whose most notable achievement was an academic one, needed to get a little seasoning in the world before running for commander in chief.
Yet I must say that President Obama, who turns 53 on Monday, has impressed me as a man of great prudence, judgment and compassion.
The House and Senate just passed an emergency bill authorizing $225 mill. in funding for Israel's Iron Dome. President Obama, who has had a rocky relationship at times with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will sign that bill, one of the few significant bills that the Congress has passed recently.
In so doing, President Obama will continue to aid Israel in ways that few U.S. presidents have.
In helping to fund and develop the technology for Iron Dome, President Obama and his administration are saving countless Israeli lives. Does anyone doubt that Israel would have far more civilian casualties were it not for Iron Dome?
After all, Hamas and the other terror entities in Gaza have been firing rockets at Israeli population centers for roughly 14 years. Now that Hamas and its cohorts have longer-range rockets, they have been aiming them at cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which of course houses not only civilians but also some of the holiest sites in the three Abrahamic religions.
I applaud President Obama for standing up for Israel. And I applaud him for his wisdom in refusing at this point to be drawn into a military confrontation with Russia over Ukraine.
While it is possible that he has sent some wrong signals over the years to Putin, for instance by removing planned missile shields and interceptors from Poland and the Czech Republic, President Obama has taken of late a very hard line on economic sanctions against Russia, punishing not only Russian oligarchs but also Russian companies in the energy, financial and defense sectors.
On the domestic front, President Obama's policies have begun to turn around the economy, creating more than 200,000 jobs for the sixth straight month, the best streak since the Clinton years. Though many Americans remain out of work, President Obama did inherit a severe recession, which he has been able to transmute into a period of slow growth. On the president's watch, the unemployment rate has fallen dramatically despite negligible cooperation in recent years from the Congress, which has made perilous even the basics like passing budgets, extending credit for the debt ceiling, and approving diplomats for embassy posts.
Well before the Newtown massacre, and in the midst of Congressional recalcitrance to confront the NRA, I recommended that the president use his executive authority to ban automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.
At the time, I cited Mr. Bumble's line that the "law is an ass" if it won't allow us to pass measures upon which the vast majority of citizens and lawmakers agree.
Though the president did not take me up on those specific suggestions regarding guns, he has used and threatened to use his executive authority on other measures such as the immigration issue roiling our southwestern borders.
Which has prompted the Congress to threaten to impeach and/or sue him.
That is no way to treat our birthday boy, who deserves to be granted a few wishes as he turns 53.
Perhaps, in passing the emergency funding for Iron Dome, the Congress can get back to business and authorize the funding for an emergency immigration bill too.
I wouldn't bet on it. But then again, I may just be fat, drunk and stupid.