Listening to President Obama’s lunchtime speech today (Wed.) really blew our top.
This perceptive, intelligent, stubborn, stiff-necked politician cannot give the country want it needs. He knows it and we know it.
Which is not to say he couldn’t.
After all, the man is President because he’s a great speech-maker, a great writer, who campaigned looking ahead not back. Forget about making promises that were too big. He does that, too, sometimes. But not often.
Apparently he is a bear with very little memory.
Here he is, being beaten about the head and ears by men and women of all stripes because he does not have a strategy to deal with the Middle East. We can no longer believe he has one but just isn’t telling us, or that he feels it wiser and cannier to keep his cards close to his vest in order to surprise “the enemy.” Nor can we persuade ourselves that he and his entire team know more than we do and we therefore should trust to his prudence and wisdom.
Internationally what began as a romance has turned into a bitter divorce.
Worst of all, he no longer can hear himself.
How else to explain his astonishing theft of President George W.’s words of wisdom after 9/11?
George told us to go shopping.
Barack is telling us to have a wonderful Thanksgiving! That, plus the amazing advice: “Stay safe.” Rugt,Barack! Have Good One!
True enough, the incidents behind both brush-offs are very, very different. The World Trade Center came down, killing approximately 3000 Americans. The explosions in Paris (which is not, as we know, part of the US) killed 130 people. No life’s value is meant to be compared.
Despite the uneven duplication of effort, some things had changed in the years between.
After the initial shock and sadness of the Trade Center’s demise, within a few months Americans seemed to have recovered to a degree. Mr. Bush was constantly reassuring. We were in love with the Secret Service, the FBI, the CIA – albeit mistakenly. We believed the Atlantic could keep us safe. Soon enough, the population was indeed following George’s advice, and shopping. There may have been an underground thread of nervousness, but no one began building fallout shelters, or safe-rooms, or stocking private arsenals (more than is usual after any violent set-to around our country.)
And there was a plan of revenge, of attack, of payback. Deeply flawed in planning, false in terms of value, reason, and provocation. Even the country targeted was wrong. But there was action.
Paris is another story. America’s love affair with the city, our familiarity with it, its lures and loves and baguettes made it seem almost another American neighborhood. Rather than being the recipient of international sympathy as we had been earlier, Paris now occupies that role. But from this event no American revenge was envisioned or needed. The French had real Cluzots who didn’t make mistakes – but for this gigantic one. But the fact that there had been six nearly simultaneous attacks in six different parts of the city demonstrated to the world that superior planning, subterfuge, and hatred could indeed produce terror in millions. Now on both sides of the Atlantic.
Something more than “Stay safe” was required.
It has become clearer as the years progress that Mr. Obama had reached the end of his rope. Congress’ message to him has been delivered once and for all. “Count on us for nothing.” Taking the Hill’s word for its intentions, or lack thereof, Obama just wants out. No matter that his ideas and proposals were good ones, sensible, financially responsible, and economically healthy. He knows now his legacy is tainted beyond repair. Not through his own ineptitude, but because his Congressional opponents decided that nothing the President wanted would ever see the light of day. Even his military staff seems to be working against him. And he’s too proud and aloof to shrug and walk into the sunset.
For a hundred different reasons we need strength and decisive actions. We’re not going to get that. A good man is down but no one rushes to his aid. And he does little to assist himself by ceding legislative power to the Congress. It sounds ideal. The President proposes, and Congress disposes. Not since 2009.
So what can we expect?
Obama will spend most of his remaining time travelling internationally and being feted by populations eager to line up for assistance. The First Family will gain in international notice and stature, leaving what happens on the ground in this country something resembling a train wreck.
In one way, we deserve this, having treated Obama so incredibly harshly. In another, we don’t.
If the strongest encouragement he can give any of us is “stay safe,” he’s paying us back.
Worse, he’s leaving us and the rest of the world with a slate of politicians who by ordinary lights wouldn’t have half the guts he himself had when he started out.
We deserve that, too.