Dionne: You GOP Meanies Make Everything About Obama


The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne is very upset over the notion that Bystander In Chief Obama is being criticized for his handling of, well, pretty much everything. Because no other president (Bush 43) has ever had to endure this. Unsaid goes the notion that you’re all probably raaaaacists for criticizing him, though he’s probably thinking it hard. On the front page of the WP the article is entitled “The foreign policy wake up call“, but titled “Will flight 17 sober us up?” in the article. Doubtful, because Liberals will support Obama no matter what

Tragedies concentrate the mind.

U.S. politics was trundling along on its usual unserious and trivial trajectory when news of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine shook the world. Suddenly, the stakes in public life and foreign policy were very high.

Because things like IRS targeting, illegal alien”children” are streaming across the border, the VA is a mess, and Obama is campaigning and playing golf. We’ll skip a few paragraphs regarding Putin and Flight 17

It’s an agenda that ought to bring the United States and Europe together. But will it bring Americans together? The horror has been widely described as “a wake-up call.” It’s not yet clear if our dysfunctional, foolishly partisan and petty political system will even pick up the phone.

Hey, Obama picked up the phone. On his way to multiple fundraisers on the day Flight 17 was shot down.

Partisanship – defined as vigorous, principled disagreement – has an honored place in democracy. We are in the midst of such a debate over foreign policy in both parties. The recent GOP op-ed brawl between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky over Iraq and the United States’ world role is a sign of things to come.

That’s good. What’s not good is the habit of Obama’s foes to make every foreign policy crisis about him, whether it is or not. At the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, some Republicans compared Obama unfavorably to Putin (“He makes a decision and he executes it, quickly,” an admiring Rudy Giuliani said of the Russian dictator.) The sound-bite driven obsession with Benghazi, Libya, is the apotheosis of unseriousness.

So, to recap, in-fighting between Republicans is good, criticizing Obama is Bad. Alas, Obama makes virtually every crisis about himself by failing to act as POTUS. He typically speaks in “I” and “me”, rarely “us” and “we”. Then he disappears to do anything but the job. No one would really have a concern with a bit of down time nor campaigning if he was doing the job he ran for twice. In case Dionne missed it, after the fundraisers, he sped off to Camp David, supposedly made a few calls, then hit the golf course. That is the “apotheosis of unseriousness”.

Nonetheless, Obama needs to offer the other side of his doctrine. The notion that the United States is retreating from the world is simply wrong, as Kerry argued vigorously on Sunday.

But it’s not a case Kerry should even have to make. Obama must match his clarity about the limits on what the United States can do militarily with equal clarity about what the United States is doing and will do to create a modestly less dangerous world.

This crisis is an occasion for Obama to try to create an oasis of consensus at a time when our politics is allergic to the very idea.

So, Dionne admits this is a situation created by Obama. Kerry, and other Obama appointees, have been very forceful in their rhetoric. And, let’s face it, there is little that can be done beyond sanctions. We won’t go to war over Flight 17. But Obama could have come out and spoken passionately about the shoot down, instead of looking and sounding like the whole issue of Governing bored him to tears. He could have given more than a 38 second soundbite initially, along with cancelling his scheduled meet and greet and a restaurant. He certainly gets passionate on the campaign trail. Perhaps he can use some of the venom he aims at Republicans, ie, fellow Americans, at Putin and the Ukrainian separatists.

Obama made this situation by being a weak-knee’d milquetoast, forever leading from behind and seemingly bored with doing his job.

BTW, Dionne should probably ask his fellow media figures why they make everything about Obama, such as CNN, with an article entitled World events derail Obama’s agenda and CBS News goes with As world crises continue to erupt, how will Obama react?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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