President Obama raised eyebrows at the G-20 Summit in Turkey when he said, “I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership, or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with.”
The liberal website Talking Points Memo tried to defend Obama’s comments by expanding them, but in the process only made him look worse:
What I do not do is to take actions either because it is going to work politically or it is going to somehow in the abstract make America look tough. Or make me look tough.
And maybe part of the reason is because every few months I go to Walter Reed and I see a 25 year old kid who is paralyzed or who has lost his limbs and some of those are people I’ve ordered into battle.
And so I can’t afford to play some of the political games that others may. We’ll do what’s required to keep the American people safe. And I think it’s entirely appropriate in a democracy to have a serious debate about these issues. If folks want to pop off and have opinions about what they think they would do, present a specific plan. If they think that somehow their advisers are better than the chairman of my Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the folks who are actually on the ground, I want to meet them. And we can have that debate.
But what I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership, or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with, that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people. And to protect people in the region who are getting killed. And to protect our allies in people like France. I’m too busy for that.
The full statement makes Obama look petty and petulant. The idea that he is the only elected official in D.C. who visits the wounded at Walter Reed is daft. The idea that he is above playing political games is completely disingenuous. His entire presidency has been a never ending series of political games beginning with the day he told Congressional Republicans “I won.” If Obama was interested in hearing opinions other than his own then he wouldn’t so blithely say that those who dare to think differently are just popping off. Methinks that those who take issue with Obama would be feel some level of reassurance if he listened to the Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and Wendy Sherman.
Whether he likes it or not, it is the job of the President of the United States to pursue American leadership abroad and to ensure American victory in times of war. If he can’t recognize this in year seven of his presidency, he never will.
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