To listen to people like Maureen Dowd you would think that President Obama has not only lost his political mojo but also a few I.Q. points as well.
When did this happen, and how so quickly?
Well, the reality is that it hasn’t happened, although it does fit into the general narrative of the political right. They believe Obama has been in over his head from day one.
What is really happening is that Obama has displeased both the neo-cons and the liberal interventionists who believe peace and democracy can be achieved through war.
Let’s be clear, war is not about winning peace; it is about crushing the enemy. If the enemy survives to make terms, so be it; but, getting the other side to the negotiation table is not the primary purpose of war. Victory is the only proper objective of any war, which is one good reason to avoid starting one if you don’t have the stomach for it or the costs outweigh the benefits.
Obama has been accused of having dithered when it came to his reaction to the August 21st chemical attack in Syria. It has only been a few weeks since all this happened and I, for some reason, remember the story differently.
The story I remember is of an administration that seemed hell bent on getting us involved in yet another Middle Eastern civil war on the thinnest pretense of self-defense–the old “This dictator may give these weapons to terrorists so they can attack us!”
As far as I know Obama and Kerry still maintain that something must be done to prevent Assad from launching another chemical attack. If it is not done through the U.N.’s confiscation of Assad’s weapons, Obama appears to be ready to go ahead and use the U.S. military to degrade Assad’s war-making ability.
Obama might even defy the will of the American people. However, we do not yet know if Assad’s potential intransigence on the issue would change the American people’s mind, especially if the UN, or other nations, get on-board.
That Obama allowed himself to be pulled back from the brink of acting unilaterally is no evidence of dithering; it is rather evidence that Obama respects the will of the American people and the international community. It is a testament to the way things should work in a democratic society.
As for the latest gaffe by the President, this was apparently his decision to give the Republicans in Congress a jab while some nut-job was shooting up a U.S. Navy facility. Had Obama canceled his speech he would have been criticized for showing weakness during a crisis.
Some people have made up their minds about him and are just looking for data to reinforce their views.
The reality is that Obama has three major things on his plate right now: Syria, the looming shutdown of the federal government–if Republican extremists are true to their word, and a potential default on the nation’s debt.
A lone, disgruntled, and disturbed gunman at one of our Navy yards–however tragic the situation–did not warrant rushing to an undisclosed location. It also did not warrant addressing the nation, as though this tragedy had been visited upon us all.
By the way, we really need to stop with all the “national grieving.” It’s getting a little self-indulgent. The President of the United States cannot afford to spend his time playing our national pastor or priest. If you are grieving, seek solace in those who love you and understand you; do not look to the man we have placed in charge of our nation’s government and its myriad functions.
Also, don’t be surprised when that man keeps his attention focused on the issues he believes are most important to our interests as a people. That is why we voted for him. That is why we should wish him well, even when we disagree with him.
Of course, I realize there are many in this country who want Obama to fail in most of what he does, but can we really separate Obama’s failures from the failures of the man we call “our President”? By trying to do so, don’t we make it that much more difficult for us to succeed as a nation?
I’m not so sure we can succeed without wishing this man our best and ceasing all this pointless carping about “style” over “substance.”
Are you listening Maureen?