The opinion piece caught my eye. In recent days I've been wondering "where is Obama?" Excerpts:
So where is the president?
Japan may be on the verge of a disaster that dwarfs any we have yet seen. A self-governing nation like the United States needs its leader to take full measure of his position at times of crises when the path forward is no longer clear.
This is not a time for leadership; this is the time for leadership.
So where is Barack Obama?
And he appeared at a fund-raiser in DC. And sat down with ESPN to reveal his NCAA picks.
Now, it goes without saying I am no fan of the President. It's no secret I think he's anti-business, pro-big government and, well, wrong on nearly every issue I consider to be important. But the topic of this thread goes way beyond me disagreeing with his policies, his tactics, etc. This comes down to two things for me: Demonstrated incompetence and failure to lead. Leave the rest of the disagreements on the table, because these are the true problems. The following is listed in chronological order:
Exhibit A: The Healthcare Debate
Obama promised competent, smart leadership. Instead of taking the reins, he allowed Congress to fight it out (almost literally in some cases). He shutdown Republican ideas even while saying he was open to them. His sole act of "leadership" was to help facilitate the ramming-through of the bloated, unconstitutional (my opinion) bill. The result was a law that is likely worse than single payer or a public option.
Exhibit B: The BP Spill
Obama responded by killing thousands of jobs in the Gulf Coast region during the worst recession since WWII through the moratorium on offshore drilling. He appeared feckless, frustrated and outright angry at times. His administration uttered the famous "boots on throats" line and focused on getting the public to blame BP instead of focusing on the government's pathetic response. Where was "the speech?" Where was the national address where he confidently stated "We will do whatever it takes. We will overcome this disaster and make drilling safer going forward. We will protect jobs. Most importantly, we will offer the full resources of the federal government to assist BP in the cleanup operation. We will have time for blame later. It is now time to act." Answer: Despite doing many of the things I reference above, leadership can be as much about words as it is about action.
Exhibit C: Egypt
One term best describes Obama's response: "Ho-hum." He waffled and equivocated and clarified. We don't want to meddle, but the outcome is important. It's none of our business, but in a way it's our business. We support freedom around the globe, but we shouldn't be...you know, supporting freedom around the globe. Some advice, Mr. President: If you're not getting involved, say that. If you believe the Mubarak government is oppressive and needs to change or surrender power, say that. But you can't have it both ways.
Exhibit D: Libya
Ghadaffi (who, after a quick Google search, apparently spells his name several ways) is a brutal dictator that is now turning his military against his people. This man is slaughtering his own people. Making matters worse, he's doing so in a critical and unstable part of the world. Because of Libya's oil-producing status, he's even affecting the global economy. Where is Obama? He's nowhere. Hillary Clinton has show more leadership on the issue than he has (yes, I really just wrote that). Every day, we hear and see that Ghadaffi is attacking "the rebels." Hmmm. Has anyone noticed that Obama and the Obamaite Media are calling them "rebels" instead of "Freedom Fighters?" Funny enough...MS-OBAMA and ONN (The Obama News Network) had no trouble using the latter term when it came to terrorists attacking American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where is the term now? These people are LITERALLY "Freedom Fighters." Once again, where is Obama? Here again, get involved or don't. In fact, let's just get involved. Why wouldn't we? The United States is supposed to promote freedom throughout the world, correct? Isn't that one of the ideals Mr. Obama talked about promoting in order to make America "more respected in the world?" Secondly, doesn't Libya affect our national security? Doesn't it affect oil...the lifeblood of our economy? Forget the No-Fly. Get on TV and state that he has 48 hours to surrender power. Then show news footage of the 1986 Reagan-ordered raid on his country. Then ask a simple question: "Mr. Ghadaffi, do you think we've gotten better or worse at bombing since then?....Your call." And Mr. Obama, guess what? The world doesn't respect America when she stands on the sidelines and lets brutal dictators attack their own people. Would attacking Libya earn us enemies? Absolutely. But not dealing with this madman will earn us a lot more.
Exhibit E: The Final Atrocity: Japan
Unfortunately for the President, "E" doesn't stand for "excellent." The way the President has handled (read: not handled) the nearly unthinkable devastation in Japan quite literally sickens me. Nothing short of a prime-time national address and the presentation of a plan to rebuild the quake and tsunami-stricken areas is acceptable. The US should announce a major and nationwide effort. We should send any military resources we can spare without affecting our own security. The President should visit Japan immediately. He should coordinate with other world leaders as they develop the international response effort. Is he doing some of this now? I'm sure. But he, as the article states, is invisible. During one of the most grave crises in the history of human civilization, the leader of the world's most powerful nation is nowhere to be seen.
President Obama is not fiddling as Rome burns. He is fiddling as the world burns.