There is a ghost in the White House, a spirit disconnected from this world, whisking from room to room, past staff, uninterested in their conversations. Unfortunately for us, the ghost is the president of the United States.
Barack Obama loves being president – the perks, the privilege, the pomp and circumstance. It’s the job that bores him. Unlike community organizing, the Illinois State Senate, or even the U.S. Senate, there’s only one president. They can’t just show up when they want or bleed into the background when they’d rather be doing other things.
President Obama loves the campaign trail. He performs a substance-free partisan attack speech written by snarky young staffers better than any recent occupant of the Oval Office. But those speechwriters aren’t serious people. They’re smartasses better suited for Twitter, not the seat of power. As such, when it comes to serious issues of foreign policy, the speeches give us nothing but vacant platitudes when what we need is serious thoughtfulness.
Ask yourself this: Have you heard Barack Obama deliver a serious, substantive foreign policy speech? Not a recap of what is already known, but a practical speech laying out principles, practical goals and the means by which to achieve them? Obama’s “ISIS strategy” speech last month was devoid of anything, even inspiring words, beyond what anyone who’d read a couple of Associated Press stories on the subject could’ve written.
A president knowledgeable and interested in the job and the subject would recognize this and demand others, maybe adults, craft a speech designed to inform and rally the American people to his side. Obama’s failure to do so shows either he doesn’t know or he doesn’t care.
Not knowing or not caring was on full display on Sunday when President Obama sat down with Steve Croft of 60 Minutes. When he was asked how ISIS managed to control so much without his knowing, and was it a surprise to him, Obama gave a very “Obama” answer.
“Well, I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said.
Barack Obama didn’t fail; James Clapper and the intelligence community did.