A Truly Great Phony

by | Aug 27, 2013

Obama's job is to keep the true believers believing.

Many years ago, I was a member of a committee that was recommending to whom grant money should be awarded. Since I knew one of the applicants, I asked if this meant that I should recuse myself from voting on his application.

“No,” the chairman said. “I know him too — and he is one of the truly great phonies of our time.”

The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject.

He had once spoken to me very authoritatively about Marxian economics, apparently unaware that I was one of the few people who had read all three volumes of Marx’s “Capital,” and had published articles on Marxian economics in scholarly journals.

What our glib talker was saying might have seemed impressive to someone who had never read “Capital,” as most people have not. But it was complete nonsense to me.

Incidentally, he did not get the grant he applied for.

This episode came back to me recently, as I read an incisive column by Charles Krauthammer, citing some of the many gaffes in public statements by the President of the United States.

One presidential gaffe in particular gives the flavor, and suggests the reason, for many others. It involved the Falkland Islands.

Argentina has recently been demanding that Britain return the Falkland Islands, which have been occupied by Britons for nearly two centuries. In 1982, Argentina seized these islands by force, only to have British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher take the islands back by force.

With Argentina today beset by domestic problems, demanding the return of the Falklands is once again a way for Argentina’s government to distract the Argentine public’s attention from the country’s economic and other woes.

Because the Argentines call these islands “the Malvinas,” rather than “the Falklands,” Barack Obama decided to use the Argentine term. But he referred to them as “the Maldives.”

It so happens that the Maldives are thousands of miles away from the Malvinas. The former are in the Indian Ocean, while the latter are in the South Atlantic.

Nor is this the only gross misstatement that President Obama has gotten away with, thanks to the mainstream media, which sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Obama.

The presidential gaffe that struck me when I heard it was Barack Obama’s reference to a military corps as a military “corpse.” He is obviously a man who is used to sounding off about things he has paid little or no attention to in the past. His mispronunciation of a common military term was especially revealing to someone who was once in the Marine Corps, not Marine “corpse.”

Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people — most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about. Whether what he says bears any relationship to the facts is politically irrelevant.

A talented con man, or a slick politician, does not waste his time trying to convince knowledgeable skeptics. His job is to keep the true believers believing. He is not going to convince the others anyway.

Back during Barack Obama’s first year in office, he kept repeating, with great apparent earnestness, that there were “shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs, if only his spending plans were approved by Congress.

He seemed very convincing — if you didn’t know how long it can take for any construction project to get started, after going through a bureaucratic maze of environmental impact studies, zoning commission rulings and other procedures that can delay even the smallest and simplest project for years.

Only about a year or so after his big spending programs were approved by Congress, Barack Obama himself laughed at how slowly everything was going on his supposedly “shovel-ready” projects.

One wonders how he will laugh when all his golden promises about ObamaCare turn out to be false and a medical disaster. Or when his foreign policy fiascoes in the Middle East are climaxed by a nuclear Iran.

Thomas Sowell has published a large volume of writing. His dozen books, as well as numerous articles and essays, cover a wide range of topics, from classic economic theory to judicial activism, from civil rights to choosing the right college. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to read the THOMAS SOWELL column in your hometown paper.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.


  1. Apparently it’s OK to recognize Obama is a phony….but not OK to point out that his phoniness extends to his identity.

    Which just happens to make everything about him phony.

  2. Everyone knows he is a 100% phony thus not eligible to be President. The truth of the matter is that the Constitution has become an inconvenient truth.

  3. this is the very reason why we the people need to rise up and put these corrupt politicians in jail. they have not only violated our constitution but the are violating our rights. they blow smoke up our butts and lie through their teeth about Obama being eligible. when congress tried 8 times to change the natural born citizen clause and failed each time. so they know damn well Obama is not eligible. our founders didnt want any foreign influence in that office so this lie that Cruse is a natural born when we was born in Canada to a Cuban father and an American mother is just another lie. our founders used Vattel’s law of nations law of nature to define natural born citizen only nature makes anyone a NBC by being born to two American parents on American soil. Its disgusting the treason I see from our elected public servants. they were hoping they could lie enough to get away with this. any one who buys this lie that anyone born here can hold the office of the president. dont know our founders very well. this is what they are counting on. but a bit of checking and a read of the federalist papers proves our founders used Vattel. and we the people need to demand the arrests of every one of these corrupt lying political hacks. they are selling us out to the new world order because big bad America is a thorn in the side of these globalists who need poor slaves they can control. they want to kill most of us off and makes slaves of the ones who survive. Americans you need to get mad as hell and stop believing these lying politicians they are only out to fill their pockets and could care less what we think. this whole collapse was a planned scam just like global warming was to fill their pockets with our cash for a gas thats needed to grow plants. it fell apart when it didnt get hot as they said it would and the ice caps didnt melt. how much longer are we going to put up with these criminals and put their butts in prison. they have built camps with rail cars to ship us to where they can control us. just like Hitler did. we have got to put a stop to these clowns and put them all in jail before they finish killing our dollar and using that as an excuse to turn troops on us. they wont use our troops they are trying to start ww3 so they can feed our troops into that war. wake up America we are in the way of the globalists and their NWO communist world government. its time to throw a big American wrench into the gears of this world wide power grab. all it takes for this to work is for us Americans to sit back and believe it wont happen. its time to wake up and put our foot in the arses of these traitors and bring their game to an end.

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