When all the hectoring is finished, the professorial lecturing is done, all the political posturing is over, all that is left are tears. And crocodile tears at that.
Even for those of us long tired of the false hopes and outright lies from this White House, President Obama's crude gunplay Tuesday was pretty shocking.
It was shocking for its hollowness. Shocking for its low-mindedness. Shocking for the complete disdain the man has for all the families of victims of gun violence that he trots out to carry his political water. And what for? To save a future life? Prevent a past death?
No. He even admitted on live national television that his raft of meaningless proposals will do nothing to prevent a single gun crime and nor would they have ever prevented one in the past.
"Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms, like background checks, might not have stopped the last massacre. Or the one before that. Or the one before that. So why bother? I reject that thinking."
In other words, Mr. Obama is saying: "Let's make up some meaningless new gun laws just 'cuz."
Or, as his former chief of staff might say, "Never let a tragedy go to waste. Not when you can hector, lecture and grandstand over it. Score some political points."
No, all of this executive action is designed entirely to create one giant charade that Mr. Obama understands, cares and is offering capable solutions to a problem he wants to fix.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
"Every single year, more than 30,000 Americans have their lives cut short by guns. Thirty thousand. Suicides, domestic violence, gang shootouts, accidents. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost brothers and sisters or buried their own children," he waxed on, as if he really intended to do something about it.
"Many have had to learn to live with a disability or learn to live without the love of their life. A number of those people are here today. They can tell you some stories," he continued. "In this room right here, there are a lot of stories. There's a lot of heartache. There's a lot of resilience, there's a lot of strength, but there's also a lot of pain. And this is just a small sample."
In the end, he offered nothing. Nothing that isn't already the law. More paperwork. More busy work.
And tears. Empty tears. Meaningless tears. Fake tears.
Now it is possible that these "executive actions" by the president have a deeper, more sinister intent. They are the camel's nose under the tent, designed to wend through the courts and prop up rulings that support the notion that a future president could, indeed, pass tougher gun restrictions by fiat.
Since voters refuse to elect lawmakers who want to strip citizens of their guns, maybe Mr. Obama can get unelected judges to do it.
To be sure, Tuesday's announcement was an open admission that, indeed, the president does intend to use medical records from Obamacare to create a national "crazy list" of people, especially the elderly, who cannot have guns to defend themselves.
And certainly, these cynical antics reveal the president's deep and disturbing disconnect from America. In the past, he has specifically praised the gun bans in Britain and Australia. Yesterday, he held up Communist China as his latest role model.
Suppose we should just be grateful, then, that Mr. Obama doesn't really care to actually do something to stop the gun violence.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter via @charleshurt.