Darrell Huckaby: Obama's debate comments lacked historical perspective

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby

This is my totally biased summary of Monday night's presidential debate. Willard Mitt Romney employed the "catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" strategy and Barack Hussein Obama acted like a complete jackass. OK. You may be right. It is very possible that he wasn't acting.

Didn't know Romney's first name was Willard? Neither did I until I had teased a sweet young lady in my history class for claiming it was. Trust me. It is, and I had to eat a lot of crow after determining that fact for myself.

I liked "The Glare." Throughout most of the debate, when Obama wasn't speaking he was giving Romney the old stink-eye. He had a scowl on his face and his lips were poked out and his eyes were what he probably supposed to be "steely." He reminded me of the way I used to stare at referees, back in my basketball coaching days. It didn't work for me -- they would just call a technical foul. I think Steve Eberhardt might have even called one on me one night.

It didn't work for Obama, either. He didn't get any technical fouls called, but I don't think he picked up any undecided voters, either.

His other big move was grinning like a mule eating briars every now and then. There is a term we used to refer to those kinds of grins on the mill village, but I don't think I can use that term in this newspaper. It does involve eating, however, and the dish is something a lot less savory than the crow I ingested when I learned that Romney's first name really is Willard.

Obama's most obnoxious trait of the evening, however, was the condescending manner in which he attacked Romney's comments about the United States Navy. When Romney pointed out that the navy had the fewest ships we've had since World War I, Obama lashed out at him, his voice dripping with sarcasm, and lectured Romney as if he were a small child, explaining that the military is different now and pointed out that we "don't have as many horses and bayonets, either," and that "we have these boats that go under the water: nuclear submarines."

He got a few laughs but probably lost a few hundred thousand votes. He sounded like an eighth-grader arguing at recess and not much like we would hope the president of the United States might sound. I know one vote he lost -- that of Alfred Thayer Mahan. Of course Mahan died in 1914, but that matters little to Chicago politicians. The dude can still vote.

Mahan wrote one of the most influential books of all time, "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History." His premise, believed to be true by everyone, apparently, except Barack Obama, was that throughout history, the nation with the largest navy has been the most powerful nation on Earth. You don't have to take my word for it -- or Mahan's. You can look it up. Going back to ancient times, the Phoenicians had the strongest naval forces and the largest merchant marines and became a strong and wealthy nation.

In the 16th century the Spanish Armada controlled the Atlantic Ocean, allowing that nation to take advantage of the discoveries of Christopher Columbus and become the most powerful empire on earth. For 300 years Spanish mines in America produced 10 times as much gold as the rest of the world produced, combined.

In 1588 -- you don't need to remember the date -- the Spanish decided to invade England. It came up a bad storm around that little island nation. The Spanish ships were separated by what the English called the "Protestant Wind" and the smaller, faster British ships were able to chase down and destroy and good number of the Spanish ships.

Once the armada was defeated the British had the strongest navy for the next 300 years -- and were the strongest empire. In the early 20th century President Theodore Roosevelt, influenced by Mahan's work, began to build up the naval forces of the United States, until we were the third largest in the world, behind Germany's and Great Britain's. Since World War II we have had the largest navy on Earth and have, of course, been the strongest nation on Earth. Sometimes that has caused us, according to the president, to "fail to recognize Europe's leading role in the world, there have been times that Americans have shown arrogance and been dismissive and even derisive."

He then promised to make "course corrections." Sounds like an apology to me.

Obama intends to cut a trillion dollars from the military budget. I suppose he needs that money to pay for the 61 percent increase in food stamp recipients on his watch -- a number that was made possible because he did away with the exclusions for able-bodied people after three months -- a key component of Bill Clinton's welfare reform plan.

During the debate the president kept insisting that the military doesn't want any more money. His own secretary of Defense, however, has called the cuts "devastating." Who are you going to believe?

Two weeks, y'all. Two weeks from today I hope we are going to have some really good news to celebrate. Anchors aweigh!

Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.