Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The president of disconnect

A tragedy unfolded on Monday in the Washington Navy Yard that ended in the death of 12 victims and the 34-year-old gunman. Areas of D.C. were locked down. The Nationals baseball team postponed their game until the next day. Seven victims were identified: Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Frasier, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73; Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46; and Vishnu Pandit, 61. Families were shattered.

Columnist Maureen Dowd was shocked that President Barack Obama seemed to basically overlook the obvious heartache that so many were feeling as he went about the business of delivering a speech, writing in the New York Times that he is Losing the Room:
President Obama also gave a speech Monday, talking at the White House while the drama unfolded at the supposedly secure Navy Yard nearby. He could have posted his original remarks on the White House Web site and replaced them with a cri de coeur on gun control, or comfort for the shaken city. The 12 who died were, after all, under his aegis as workers in a federal building.

But, jarringly, the president went ahead with his political attack, briefly addressing the slaughter before moving on to jab Republicans over the corporate tax rate and resistance to Obamacare.

Just as with the address to the nation on Syria last week, the president went ahead with a speech overtaken by events. It was out of joint, given that the Senate was put into lockdown and the Washington Nationals delayed a night game against the Atlanta Braves, noting on its Web site, “Postponed: Tragedy.”

The man who connected so electrically and facilely in 2008, causing Americans to overlook his thin résumé, cannot seem to connect anymore.
Noting that even Democrats are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the President for a variety of reasons, Ms. Dowd added:
Obama still has a secret weapon: Congressional Republicans, who might yet shut down the government or cause a cataclysmic default and make the president look good.
I sincerely hope that does not happen for reasons I have written about before and opined about by The Times. Been there, done that, got our behinds kicked to the curb by the American public.

And then there's this:
Unlike Bill Clinton, who excels at boiling down complex arguments to simple ones, Obama prefers to wallow in the weeds, reminding people that he’s the smartest man in the room and expecting their support because he feels he is only doing what’s complicated and right.
This president, much as I've tried to see it, does not emit compassion during tragedies. Obviously Maureen Dowd sees the same.

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