Our President has subjected us to a wearing parade of oversights, sleights, and pettiness – at once vacuous and calculating – a tendency that seems to lay close beneath his intellectual patina. I say calculating rather than accidental because it has become impossible to imagine these blunders are not deliberate. This is insensitivity masquerading as cluelessness.
Large policy errors can be understood within the overarching sweep of an ambition to “remake this country,” but when the tiny things at the edges, the easy to avoid slips and smallness, continuously suggest that the clothes have no emperor, it is disquieting.
- The DVD package, for the wrong region, he gave to Prime Minister Brown after returning a bust of Winston Churchill which had been in the Oval Office on loan from the UK.
- The picture of the soles of the President’s shoes while he’s speaking to the Israeli Prime Minister.
- Flipping the bird to Hillary. It’s the childish “I’m clever” grin and the crowd reaction that makes the case the gesture was no accident.
- Calling the Poles and the Czechs in the middle of the night to tell them he was scrapping anti-missile deployment the next morning.
Sometimes he even acknowledges mistakes. President Obama actually apologized for jokes about Nancy Reagan “speaking with the dead” and comparing his terrible bowling skills with the Special Olympics. He “clarified” remarks about his grandmother being a “typical white person,” and tried to recast a comment about his opponents bitterly “clinging to their guns and religion.”
Most of these cannot be written off as accidental cluelessness. The most recent one surely resulted from a plan. You might argue the planning itself was uninformed by reality or responsibility, but it was premeditated: Our President’s first remarks on the shootings at Fort Hood.
All of TV breaks to cover his words, and he speaks for 2 minutes before mentioning the murders of American soldiers on a US Army post in what, at that time, had to be considered a possible terrorist conspiracy (and it was a terrorist attack, even if not an al-Qaeda conspiracy). Before even a nod of reassurance to Americans, who were only watching because of that attack, and before acknowledging the sacrifice of those American soldiers, President Obama thanks the conference organizers and Department of Interior staff. He gives a “shout out” to some Tribal Nations Conference delegate as a winner of a Congressional Medal of Honor (false, the President confused a military award with the Medal of Freedom, a civilian award). (Applause) Then he thanks the attendees and assures them, “[I]t’s not the end of a process, but the beginning of a process” (Applause) “…every single member of my team understands this is a top priority for us.”
At this point the President mentions himself in a clumsy segue from the cozy repartee; “…[B]eyond that, I had planned to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead, …but as some of you might have heard, there’s been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base [sic] …my immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and the fallen” Well, yeah, “immediate”ly after the implied apology for failing to deliver his “broader” wisdom on the “top priority” conference items. And all of you “might have heard” about it 2 minutes earlier if our Commander in Chief had had the sense to make that tragedy his immediate priority.
This is one more demonstration of tone-deafness on the part of the man himself, and it is an indictment of his advisers, by whose character and skill he invited us to judge him. None of them apparently thought the sole focus should be on murdered American soldiers.
Skipping the folksy, campaign style preamble is what a CinC would have done. A CinC would not have been seen to regard the death of American soldiers as a contretemps.
When our President did get to the shooting the words were right, but delivered in the trademark boring, affectless tones and cadence so in contrast to the soaring rhetoric on things he cares about.
Apparently, being a Community Organizer teaches one the square root of zero about leadership. The leadership qualities required at ACORN seem to be quite different from those required to lead America’s Armed Forces. Or the free world.
It’s what he’s tone-deaf about that’s worrisome.