Saturday, October 03, 2009
We're freakin' out, Mr. President
By Pablo Fanque, All This Is That National Affairs Editor
Jack Brummet, Illustrations
President BHO is largely doing the right things--making the right initiatives, making the right friends, searching out the right boogyemen, and working on a nightmarish, hydra-headed number of fronts. but. But. But. He is sometimes, apparently, publicly side-tracked from unblocking the myriad bottlenecks and logjams and from implementing policy. It's beginning to impact his mission, or more correctly, people's perceptions of How's He Doing? Do we think that flying to Copenhagen to throw a Hail Mary for his home town, or having his old Professor and a rogue cop to the White House to settle their differences over a few brewskis has thrown him off course from health care reform, the egg-shell fragile economy, depressing unemployment statistics, and pursuing his double wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? No, not really. But the perception among the public is another story. Every time BHO appears sidetracked, he throws raw meat to the Republicans, Fox News, the neo-con crowd, and even faithful supporters, like us.
It didn't help that the Obamas' speeches in Copenhagen seemed oddly off-point, and, at times, shockingly ego-centric. Michelle Obama, of whom we are big fans, gave a touching speech about her father that couldn't have been less germane to the big question: "Why would we give the Olympics to you? Because it would be such an honor to have them in America? In this town, that has been spattered across the headlines this month as violent, corrupt, and heartless?"
Barack Obama's speech wasn't much better, offering little of substance, and sounding suspiciously jingoistic.
Hey folks, this was a fool's mission. Rio, Tokyo, Madrid, Chicago? Which city would you want to spend a week in? That and the fact that many of the deciders were no doubt treated to trips to Rio, spending a few days fried to the hatline on free booze, great food, and topless white sand beaches. Even BHO couldn't put Chicago over the top in what some insiders say is the tightest race for the Games in its history. Many believe that when Obama elected to go to Copenhagen to deliver the closing remarks of Chicago's final presentation, the move would seal the deal to send the games to Chicago. The President, flying home, received the news that Chicago didn't have a chance. Incidentally, before leaving Copenhagen, BHO held a meeting with one of his military leaders, flown in from the front. This sadly transparent dodge, in the end, did nothing to lesson the avalanche of criticism of The President. It will all die down quickly, of course. It is a tempest in a teapot. . .but it also adds up over time
It's baffling to us why The President is expending his precious political capital on these lesser issues. Michael Steele, the GOP chairman, and a man with whom we almost never agree, hit it on the head (and that is a rarity!):
Michael Steele called the president’s trip to Copenhagen meant to boost Chicago’s chances of hosting the 2016 Summer Games a “noble idea.” He refused to answer if he thought it was a mistake, but said it’s “in the eye of the beholder.”
“If it’s [health care] that's important, Mr. President, then stay home and get it done,” Steele said.