“Sometimes trouble blows up out of a clear blue sky*. That’s what happened to the White House yesterday,” Walter Russell Mead writes:
Coming out of the Democratic Convention, despite an uninspiring speech, President Obama had a united party and a comfortable bounce. While the economy was no great shakes, the President’s stewardship of foreign affairs helped give his administration an air of competence and professionalism. At a time when war-weary and terror-wary Americans, buffeted by storms at home and upheavals abroad, want nothing more than a quiet life, “no drama” Obama was ready to campaign as a safe and experienced steward of the national interest against a gaffe-prone challenger.
But that was before 9/11/12, the day the roof fell in. The Chicago teacher strike raised doubts about the President’s domestic leadership, the publication of Bob Woodward’s new book raised questions about his economic management and political skills, and 11 years to the day after the 9/11 attack, radical America-hating Islamists stormed the U.S. embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, assassinated the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others even as U.S. and Israeli relations sank to another low point.
“No drama” Obama is in it now: his ex-chief of staff is locked in a high profile cage fight with one of the most important unions and donors in the Democratic stable in his home town; his humanitarian intervention in Libya has created yet another bloody Middle East imbroglio for the United States; his efforts to reconcile the U.S. and moderate Islamism—in part by distancing the U.S. from Israel—have angered Israel without reducing Islamist bitterness against the United States.
Or as freelance journalist Richard Orzechowski Tweeted yesterday, “This presidency started with an apology in Cairo & looks like its ending with an apology in Cairo.”
* And for Obama, apparently it really did come out of a clear blue sky: “No Record of Intel Briefings for Obama Week Before Embassy Attacks.”
Fortunately, with all this on his plate, the president is back to focusing on the critical issues of the day: Off to Vegas, baby!