It took long enough. Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post, an admitted admirer of Obama today asked “Where’s Waldo?”
“For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action — unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful.”
After listing potential excuses for voting as President “Who Gives A Crap” Marcus lists the many times Obama went missing:
“He didn’t want to get mired in legislative details during the health care debate for fear of repeating the Clinton administration’s prescriptive, take-ours-or-leave-it approach. He doesn’t want to go first on proposing entitlement reform because history teaches that this is not the best route to a deal. He didn’t want to say anything too tough about Libya for fear of endangering Americans trapped there. He didn’t want to weigh in on the labor battle in Wisconsin because, well, it’s a swing state.
Yet the dots connect to form an unsettling portrait of a “Where’s Waldo?” presidency: You frequently have to squint to find the White House amid the larger landscape.”
Marcus states she is someone “who generally shares the president’s ideological perspective”. But the excuse seeking Marcus realizes that something is very wrong:
“On health care, for instance, he took on a big fight without being able to articulate a clear message or being willing to set out any but the broadest policy prescriptions. Lawmakers, not to mention the public, were left guessing about what, exactly, the administration wanted to see in the measure and where it would draw red lines.
That was not an isolated case. Where, for example, is the president on the verge of a potential government shutdown — if not this week, then a few weeks from now?
Aside from a short statement from the Office of Management and Budget threatening a presidential veto of the House version of the funding measure, the White House — much to the frustration of some congressional Democrats — has been unclear in public and private about what cuts would and would not be acceptable. [snip]
Obama seems more the passive bystander to negotiations between the House and Senate than the chief executive leading his party.”
Last night Americans could find President “Who Gives A Crap” a.k.a. “Waldo” on a taped public television broadcast of another Obama extravaganza party to sing the praises of Motown Records. “Waldo” was partying. Marcus claims that “Obama performs best on a stage that permits the grandest sweep.” That is another way of saying he likes events before big crowds that glorify him, not the hard day to day work required. Marcus is only now realizing that those words to the sounds of “celestial choirs” are not a formulation of “change”:
“The president has faltered, though, when called on to translate that rhetoric to more granular levels of specificity: What change, exactly, does he want people to believe in? How, even more exactly, does he propose to get there? “Winning the future” doesn’t quite do it.
My biggest beef is with the president’s slipperiness on fiscal matters.”
After an interview with Obama aide Austan Goolsbee the truth begins to glimmer in the eyes of Marcus:
“I was unfair to Goolsbee because I asked him a question he didn’t have the leeway to answer. You can’t blame the aide for ducking when the boss fudges.
Where’s Obama? No matter how hard you look, sometimes he’s impossible to find.
Obama is not anywhere near “impossible to find”. Look to the golf courses, vacation spots, parties.
Today two American airmen were killed by a 21 year old Muslim called Arif Uka, from Kosovo. They were on a bus when attacked. The Islamic killer was shouting “Allahu Akbar!”
Barack Obama roused himself sufficiently away from the lure of the golf course to issue a statement:
“President Obama said he is “saddened and outraged” by the fatal shooting of two U.S. airmen outside a Frankfurt, Germany, airport Wednesday. “We will spare no effort in learning how this outrageous act took place.” He also pledged to work with German authorities to bring the perpetrator to justice. The shooter allegedly wounded two other Americans in his attack on a bus carrying the airmen. German officials have identified the shooter “as a 21-year-old from Kosovo,” the Associated Press reports. Obama said the shooting is “a stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making all around the world to keep us safe, and the dangers that they face all around the world.”
Obama somehow missed the fact that much of the mystery has been solved once the gunman was heard to shout “Allahu Akbar”. The Obama words about what he calls a “tragic event” did not include “terrorism” or “Islam” or “Muslim”. The word “jihad” also did not emerge from Obama’s lips.
Barack Obama could have taken the opportunity to remind the world of how it was Americans (hint: President Bill Clinton) who rescued Muslims in the Balkans from death. Barack Obama could have taken the opportunity to remind the Arab/Muslim world that Americans are not the ones slaughtering many of their brethren in Libya and in other Islamic theocracies and regimes. But that might not have been a popular truth to state.
Obama could have said that. But he didn’t. He was too busy. He was busy not giving a crap. He was busy being Waldo.