Obama’s Apparently The “Where’s Waldo?” President

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus, who has noticed Obama’s lack of of leadership many times in the past, notices it yet again

For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action – unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful.

Each of these instances can be explained on its own terms, as matters of legislative strategy, geopolitical calculation or political prudence.

He didn’t want to get mired in legislative details during the health-care debate for fear of repeating the Clinton administration’s prescriptive, take-ours-or-leave-it approach. He doesn’t want to go first on proposing entitlement reform because history teaches that this is not the best route to a deal. He didn’t want to say anything too tough about Libya for fear of endangering Americans trapped there. He didn’t want to weigh in on the labor battle in Wisconsin because, well, it’s a swing state.

Yet the dots connect to form an unsettling portrait of a “Where’s Waldo?” presidency: You frequently have to squint to find the White House amid the larger landscape.

Oh, come on, Ruth, being president is hawd woik! Especially when he really has little clue as to what is going on and what he should do, plus, there are all those wonderful parties, golf outings, basketball games, and campaign events to attend. Oh, all right, that’s not entirely fair: the true answer is that it takes a real leader to get ahead of the curve, and come out and, well, lead. Obama’s only experience with leading was as a community agitator at a local level. That isn’t much in the way of experience in knowing what to do with big national and international issues.

Now, Obama may very well be doing things behind the scenes, but, this rarely translates into a coherent message for the American people to hear. It’s easy to give a pretty speech while running for President, promising people the world. It’s entirely another thing to give a speech to all Americans, and actually make decisions that count. The Politico’s Ben Smith attempts to defend Obama’s tepidness, yet, doesn’t quite make it work

The crisis in Libya, brought on by the bloodiest of the series of revolts in the Middle East and North Africa, is forcing President Barack Obama to balance his impulse to show American leadership at a historic moment with his sense of the limits of U.S. power and his multilateralist inclinations.

In other words, Obama doesn’t see America as anything special, can’t see that America has mostly been a nation that is a force of good, and isn’t just another country among equals. Interestingly, it never occurs to far left progressives, like Obama, that the power and might of the United States can be used to make the world better.

Prominent neoconservatives such as Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams have accused Obama of being slow to speak out in support of the revolt against Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi and for following the lead of European countries such as France to action. But even those critics are primarily calling for louder moral support for the “Arab Spring” and, in the case of Libya, a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone, not for American boots on the ground.

People on the left are calling for that, too, not just the “neoconservatives,” Ben.

Obama hasn’t spoken publicly about the civil strife in Libya since last week, but according to the White House, he has been working the phones with his counterparts in Europe and Canada, laying the groundwork for international action that began last weekend with the unusually swift passage by the United Nations Security Council of a resolution sanctioning the Libyan leadership and referring their actions to the International Criminal Court.

See? He’s been “working the phones” and doing things through the UN. Which has helped the Libyan rebels…..not one bit. Would some moral clarity help the rebels? It might let them know that the United States, the country that everyone else has always looked to when something big happens, is behind them, and could possibly turn a movement which could leave Libya with a government which is still anti-American into one that, if not pro-American/Western, at least one that can be worked with on a civil basis. Obama is great with the “bold visions” during speeches, but cannot seem to do the same when the real world comes calling.

More: Check out the Where’s Waldo? photo’s at The Looking Spoon, who was way ahead of Ruth.

Crossed at Right Wing News and Stop The ACLU.

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6 Responses to “Obama’s Apparently The “Where’s Waldo?” President”

  1. Trish says:

    Check with his personal trainer, he always knows where his client, our president is. And the guy flies there to meet with him, at his command.

  2. Doomed says:

    IN other words he is as I have been pointing out since the Gulf Coast blow out…….

    NOT A LEADER but rather an Alinsky trained community disorganizer, surrounded by fellow disorganizers who cannot function IF…..


    IF they cannot demonize something….cut it off, isolate it…..

    If they cannot put rule 11 to work…they are hopelessly lost in a complex world.

    When they moved into the White House they targeted Rush limbaugh for about 2 months….hard.

    Then it was Sarah Palin for about 2 or 3 months.

    Then it was Cheney very hard for almost 6 months…..

    Its always Been BUSH’s fault.

    After Cheney and Limbaugh and Palin didnt work for them they then picked on Christie for a while and then have gone after Boehner and now its Scott Walker in Wisconsin.

    According to Alinsky, the main job of the organizer is to bait an opponent into reacting. “The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength.”

    So If they cannot goad the ENEMY or the ENEMY CANNOT be goaded then they are…..

    LOST and their next move without direction as if their rudder has fallen off because Alinsky didnt tell you what to do if you could NOT ALINSKY the ENEMY….

    YOU KNOW…like China, North Korea, Pakistan….

    This president is /fail as a leader. He is nothing but a community disorganizer who is in so far over his head that its mindboggling and yet….

    50 percent approval rating…..gah! I guess our current population are more interested in Charlie Sheen then they are in the world burning down around them.

  3. I know this is a shameless plug, but Ms. Marcus is about one month too late on this concept, my idea was a bit more graphic:



  4. Those are great, Jared. Linked ya up here, and over at Right Wing News.

  5. Thanks William! I’ll be linking to this post a little later today as well. 😀

  6. mojo says:

    As you may or may not know, waldo also means “a remotely-operated manipulator.”

    Just sayin’…

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