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A wise man once said, “If we do not learn from mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.”

In a political sense, such wisdom is especially prophetic as we approach this election year.

For the past three years, the American people have witnessed a president whose leadership style reflects a disturbing pattern of contradictions. The facts speak for themselves when we see a president who:

ŸMaintains a moratorium on offshore drilling in the U.S. (as gasoline prices soar), but agrees to subsidize similar oil drilling in Brazil.

ŸVerbally opposes illegal immigration but takes legal action against one of his own states (Arizona) for stricter enforcement of the law.

ŸTalks repeatedly about lowering our dependence on foreign oil, but rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, estimated to provide 700,000 barrels of oil daily.

ŸPromises greater transparency in government but presides over one of the most secretive and autocratic administrations in history — i.e., Obamacare; Solyndra; recess appointments; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Fast and Furious scandal, etc.

ŸPublicly professes allegiance to our closest ally (Israel), but privately disparages its leader (Benjamin Netanyahu).

ŸSends U.S. soldiers to deal with freedom uprisings in Libya where hundreds have died, but refuses help to Syria where thousands are dying.

ŸExpresses his concern about a growing national debt that has nearly doubled during his term, but ignores the recommendations of his own debt commission and offers no reforms to save Social Security or Medicare.

ŸProfesses Christianity but denies two of its most sacred truths, the sanctity of life (he’s pro-“choice”) and the sanctity of marriage (he refuses to support the Sanctity of Marriage Act).

It has become painfully clear that the actions of President Barack Obama seldom match the rhetoric of his speeches.

Perhaps the most puzzling contradiction about this president is how such an obvious product of American capitalism and free enterprise system became so strong an advocate of European socialism, wealth redistribution and class warfare.

Historians will one day ponder how this 2008 Democratic candidate of “‘hope and change” ever became a sitting president with such diverse and perplexing contradictions.

David H. Edmunds , Albemarle