There are two things about Obama’s speech on Monday that stand out. One, while that speech was typical of him, it was atypical of American presidents. As Brit Hume pointed out on Special Report Monday night, presidents typically criticize their opponents with less directness. They use veiled language such “there are those who say” and “some believe” and that sort of thing. Obama’s speech, delivered as a gunman was killing and being hunted at the Navy Yard less than two miles away, was harsh, partisan, and very direct. He bitterly assaulted Republicans, some of whom he will need on Syria, and left no room for negotiations on the debt ceiling. If he expects any of his opponents to react with anything other than resistance and anger, then he is a very poor manager and a very poor negotiator. I guess he reserves his flexibility only for Vladimir Putin.
The second problem was its timing. Even Joe Scarborough blasted Obama for not delaying a speech that he could have given today or any other day but Monday.
“It was props — he brought his props along and he had this political,” Scarborough said. “And it was a harsh, partisan speech from the president of the United States on any day. But you know what? This president is frustrated and there is — he certainly has every right to do that. But on the day while people were hiding, while people were bleeding, while people were dying, while the nation was locked in on this — he’s talking about harsh partisanship and Republicans wanting to hurt people.”
“Mike [Barnicle], what is more partisan than not being able to put aside one of these stupid Washington battles — [postponing it] for a day,” Scarborough continued. “Never came under consideration. Never considered it. There’s not one person in the White House that said, ‘You know right down the block, people are dying right now and there’s a gunman on the loose and there’s local schools shutdown. The Capitol is on shutdown. And there may be a second or third gunman. And you know what? Maybe we’ll just give this speech tomorrow.’ Really, nobody even considered that? You believe Jay Carney — it never came under consideration? It’s unbelievable.” …
Obama has in fact given much the same tiresome speech throughout his presidency, with poor results. Along with rejecting the values and ethics that have made America the philosophical, economic and military power that we were, Obama rejects the obvious and time-honored wisdom that you’ll attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Scarborough also noted the obvious: The media would have crucified George W. Bush if he had done the same thing. Bush wouldn’t have done the same thing — he is not the hyper partisan that Obama is, and Bush sensed which moments belonged to the nation and which were more suited for party politics. Bush has character, which Barack Obama lacks. Bush had also negotiated massive business deals and managed a baseball team from mediocrity to success prior to becoming president. He had worked with a hostile legislature when he governed Texas. Obama had never run anything prior to becoming president. His lack of experience shows in his lack of grace.
There isn’t much else to say about all this. Barack Obama had the chance, again, to be a unifier but he passed on that chance. No one around him suggested putting the speech off, which is a reflection on his hiring and leadership. The media have yet to call him on his actions, and they are not likely to in any effective way. Obama’s dishonesty drips into everything he says on every policy. He didn’t set a red line on Syria. Obamacare isn’t hurting the economy. A truly fair media would not let him get away with any of this for long. He is more suited to a job as a rank pundit than as President of the United States.
We’re stuck with this pattern for three more years. Barack Obama is just too small for the presidency. He sees himself as representing only those who agree with him, and the spear point of the attack against those of us who do not. The bulk of the media are too busy trying to get Obama to hire them, to call him out on anything.