“[W]e are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe,” Cheney said in a statement to POLITICO. “Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society.” – Politico
Democrats know by now Republicans will always jump on any national security opening to Jimmy Carter a new president. Trying to camouflage a near catastrophe is a fool’s errand, which sets your adversaries up for a freebie.
There is a scene in the Tom Clancy action movie “Clear and Present Danger” when a senior aide to the president tells him that he should deny a disastrous personal connection with someone who has been revealed as a money launderer for drug dealers, once the press asks him about it. Ryan starts to agree, but then catches himself, saying that the president should not only admit the tie to his disgraced friend, but go further to say he’s known him all of his life and in fact they’ve been lifelong friends. “Give them no place to go, nothing to report, no story.”
Lesson number one in political damage control.
You’ve really got to wonder who concocted the talking point for Janet Napolitano and decided the Administration’s opening line after the failed terrorist attack on Christmas. Whoever it is should be fired, but it may come down to Napolitano falling on her sword because Pres. Obama is lost inside his presidency.
It doesn’t have to be this way, because Barack Obama is one of the most gifted politicians we’ve seen in modern times. Whether he feels the impact of policies or not, which there is no evidence he does, few are able to craft the type of soaring rhetoric that Pres. Obama can. He’s also got instincts on the right policies to follow and implement. Unfortunately, he’s so far lacking the one crucial characteristic that separates great presidencies from the ordinary.
Pres. Obama doesn’t seem to be able to stand on a line and lead, letting his instincts be the primary guide of his presidency. Once again we find a president unable to be honest and blunt with the people.
Though we’ve come a long way since 9/11, we are still well beyond what we need to do to secure airplanes properly, which is the primary issue after this latest event. The Administration’s inability to come forward to say just that shows a timidity to face facts and deal with them openly, instead trying to first cover a mistake, then fix it by having the President do clean up. By that time it’s too late.
You can send an underling out with talking points, but they better not defy credulity or the heat is going to turn into an inferno, which is just what happened. Finally smoking Pres. Obama out of his Hawaii vacation, even though he was right to not jump on the story when it was reported. Unfortunately, the decision to walk down the “the system worked” road scuttled his This Does Not Rise To Presidential Response Level, forcing him to make not one but two statements after the event had blown up in the Adminstration’s face. Ms. Napolitano had the stature to handle this, but unfortunately she didn’t have the Jack Ryan stuff to tell the President that the only way to deal with this event was by heading right into it: The system didn’t work; there is no way this man should have been on the flight; if his father thinks he’s an extremist we should too and handle him accordingly. We didn’t and that’s a problem we’re going to fix.
I still believe Barack Obama has the potential to be an extraordinary president. But it’s going to take a lot more than getting two people with differing opinions in the room and cutting the difference between them to find your own. Or reacting to a serious national security incident forgetting that the American people are still a Jack Bauer loving, gun toting, hero worshiping, kick your ass culture. I know liberals don’t like that reality, but it’s the one we live in so there’s no excuse for not being prepared.