There seem to be two primary focuses on an individual that becomes President of the United States. One begins in the campaign, and that focus largely involves the historical decisions the candidate had made. Aside from the warm fuzzy peek into their family life, and the personal character endorsements from friends that have known the candidate for a lengthy period of time, most of the media, and then the voters, want to know what the candidate believes. These beliefs are evident in their voting record, examples of leadership, accomplishments, and more. If the candidate is fortunate enough to be elected to the highest office in the land, the focus shifts from the individuals history to “understanding” the reactions and decisions that individual makes in the present tense.
Think about what got Barrack Obama elected. Rhetorical flourish. Hope and Change. Lofty speeches that sounded so different from the 8 years of George W. Bush that they caught the low-information voter by surprise. People who didn’t care about politics, and were disillusioned by the Bush years, suddenly created a messianic caricature in Obama. To be sure, the media helped push this narrative. They pushed it so hard that the typical vetting process that occurs with most presidential candidates didn’t happen with Obama. The usual “turning over of rocks” to find the ugly in the candidate didn’t apply to him. As a result, the public didn’t really get to know the guy at the podium.
Fast forward to today. The public doesn’t see Obama as they did the candidate in 2008. Hope and Change is over. Obama disappoints his constituent again and again. And as hard as the media tries to keep positive stories in the press about the Obama administration, the man continues to flummox.
Rick Ungar of Forbes is the latest member of the mainstream media to be left puzzled by the actions of Barrack Obama.
As readers of this column know, I tend to favor the political and policy positions put forth by President Barack Obama and his administration.
That is not to say that, in the effort to provide an honest accounting of my opinions on the issues of the day, there have not been moments where I have found it necessary to criticize the White House when I disagree with their policies and strategies.
But that’s my job and I try to do the very best I can in doing that job.
However, never before have I felt the need to criticize our President for something that goes well beyond politics and policy—until today.
What I should be discussing this day are the President’s comments delivered yesterday regarding the heinous execution of American photojournalist James Foley; comments I found to be completely appropriate in that they conveyed strength, intelligence and a hint that we may have only just begun to deal with the scourge that is ISIL.
What I should also be writing about this day is the remarkable strength and grace we witnessed while watching the parents of James Foley who were nothing short of stunning and inspirational in their televised conversation with the press.
Instead, I find myself compelled to write about the President’s decision to keep his scheduled golf date with a couple of friends immediately following his televised comments—a decision that revealed a complete lack of class on Mr. Obama’s part.
In the same way the public was sold a bill of goods on Obama, the media began to believe their own reporting on the guy. They believed he was different. They were so disgusted with Bush that the promises put forth by Obama seemed like the liberal nirvana had finally arrived. Then, the Hope and Change candidate faded into the cold individual we see governing today.
However, one would like to think that every president, when attempting to take some time away from what is likely one of the busiest and most pressure packed work schedules on the planet, would always ask himself whether playing a round of golf is the best possible use of his time at the moment he prepares to tee off on the first hole.
Yesterday, playing golf was certainly not the best use of the President’s time.
I don’t say that because I believe that there was anything more to be accomplished at that moment by Mr. Obama removing himself to the situation room. I say that because, had it been me, I would have recognized that there was somewhere else I should be that would be a far better use of my time…at the side of Diane and John Foley, the parents of the tragically deceased James Foley.
When a reporter says “had it been me” in a paragraph in which he is contrasting his own character against the character of the guy he voted for, the guy he loves and wants to support, you know we’ve turned a corner. More and more, the mainstream media is sending a message to the Obama administration. They don’t like what they see, and they are having a hard time defending him.
I’m sorry, Mr. President, but your behavior yesterday was not about thumbing your nose at or simply ignoring those who refuse to acknowledge that you have a right to a vacation and to some time playing a game that relaxes you. It was also not about those who refuse to appreciate that you can do your job anywhere on the planet with the same effectiveness as sitting behind your desk at the White House.
It was, instead, about revealing a side of yourself that Americans, of all political stripes, cannot help but be troubled by—a coldness that revealed a complete lack of understanding of the classy thing to do at a difficult moment.
And there it is. I think Ungar is expressing an opinion shared by an increasing number of reporters, not just outside the beltway, but within. Obama is in the middle of creating a legacy where he’ll be known to future Americans as a cold, thoughtless individual with a complete lack of understanding of what it means to have any semblance of class. The history books will reflect this about the man.
What frustrates his supporters most is there is little precious time to turn things around. With each week comes another example of the how different the real President Obama is from the Hope and Change candidate sold to the public.