Last week, President Obama selected his picks for the Medal of Freedom, the highest U.S. civilian honor. He exclaimed: “This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world.” Ben Bradlee and Loretta Lynn are certainly in keeping with the level of accomplishments of past winners. However, the list is sprinkled with the undeserving, topped by a few bizarre picks that reek of political cronyism.


Oprah at the Taj Mahal (Reuters)

Take, for example, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). His distinction is in a sort of martyrdom, a loss to the clownish Richard Mourdock. His affinity for useless and ill-conceived nuclear arms deals matches the president’s. But among great former senators, Lugar hardly stands out. Rather, he is a prop for the left, the embodiment of the kind of “good” Republicans used by the left to show up the “bad” (i.e. conservative and hawkish) Republicans whom the sainted Obama must put up with.

Then there is Bill Clinton. Yes, he has his foundation. But many more philanthropists have been around longer, spent more money and accomplished more (e.g. Bill and Melinda Gates). Purely on results, no one tops President George W. Bush when it comes to saving lives, but we can’t have that, of course. The Upper West Side would have a collective heart attack. Clinton’s outstanding qualities are, of course, that he helped Obama be reelected and is one-half of the team of what passes for Democratic royalty these days.

The list is heavy on Democratic interest group advocates (radical feminist Gloria Steinem and two African American civil rights activists, including one who heads the group calling the Family Research Council a “hate group”) as opposed to scientists (one), business leaders (none), historians (none), authors (none) or military figures (none). Even the astronaut (Sally Ride) and judge (Patricia Wald) are named as gender achievers (“the first woman to . . . ).

But the apex of the liberal pantheon goes to Oprah Winfrey, whose biggest achievement may have been to bolster then-underdog Barack Obama in 2008. If you want beloved talk show hosts, certainly Johnny Carson ranks higher. There are more acclaimed actresses and more successful TV moguls. But what other African American female billionaire has bestowed her stamp of approval on Obama? Well, none. Is there any question then that Obama would equate her with greatness?

The president’s Medal of Freedom list, in short, is all about him, a common feature in Obama’s rhetoric and actions. His worldview is actually quite narrow and is obsessed with race, gender, liberal politics and, well, himself. When do you suppose he’ll honor billionaire supporter Jeffrey Katzenberg and left-wing moneyman George Soros?

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.