Does Obama know what he's doing?
Yes, but he's meek, timid and polite - he's a Democrat
Does Barack Obama know what he's doing?
The question isn't purely rhetorical because Obama's response to the cascade of global crises over
the past several weeks has often seemed mystifying. He supported pro-democracy forces in Egypt
and nudged out a regime the U.S. had backed for decades, but has been unwilling to do the same
in Bahrain or Yemen. In Libya, his Administration was against armed intervention to stop Gaddafi
before Obama was for it. American warplanes carried out the initial wave of strikes on Tripoli, but
Obama's aides insist that Washington is merely following the Europeans' lead. U.S. officials were
reticent for days as the nuclear crisis in Japan worsened, then declared the situation to be even
more dire than the Japanese government had let on.
As the crises accumulate, Obama has remained the picture of detached serenity, which only agitates
his critics more. Kori Schake, a centrist former Bush Administration official, charges that Obama
"just isn't willing to bear much freight for other peoples' freedom." The Economist's Lexington
column asks, "Has he, at any point in his presidency so far, demonstrated real political courage?"
and is unable to find an example. David J. Rothkopf, a national-security expert who worked in the
Clinton Administration, says Obama's leadership style resembles nothing so much as "the planet's
master of ceremonies - nudging, exhorting and charming, but less comfortable flexing U.S. muscles
than many of his predecessors." (See the coalition troops' battle in Libya.)
And yet Obama himself probably wouldn't disagree with such a caricature.
The good news is he's got Hillary there to act when he's unable or unwilling.
Hillary's goals do not include wanting to be loved by everyone.
Has anyone ever called Hillary, "meek, timid and polite?"
Maybe "polite" but "meek and timid?" Never.
If some heads need busting, she's ready to come to work.
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