Earlier I posted about how far we’ve come in executive leadership by noting an article about a con man who duped the Bush Administration into thinking he could decode Al Jazeera broadcasts that contained messages for terrorists.
The recent failed attempt to down a passenger jet over Detroit again reminds me of how far we’ve come.? A diarist at DailyKos does a good job of putting together thoughts on something that occurred to me while watching the never-ending coverage of a rich Nigerian son who burned off his nut sack in an attempt to kill over 200 people in an attempted act of terror.
The contrast between the reactions is stunning.? As the diarist points out, The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder nails it:
There is a reason why Obama hasn’t given a public statement. It’s strategy.
Here’s the theory: a two-bit mook is sent by Al Qaeda to do a dastardly deed. He winds up neutering himself.?Literally.
Authorities respond appropriately; the President (as this president is want to to) presides over the federal response. His senior aides speak for him, letting reporters know that he’s videoconferencing regularly, that he’s ordering a review of terrorist watch lists, that he’s discoursing with his Secretary of Homeland Security.
But an in-person Obama statement isn’t needed; Indeed, a message expressing command, control, outrage and anger might elevate the importance of the deed, would generate panic (because Obama usually DOESN’T talk about the specifics of cases like this, and so him deciding to do so would cue the American people to respond in a way that exacerbates the situation.
Obama of course will say something at some point. Had the terrorist blown up the plane, it;s safe to assume that Obama would no longer be in Hawaii. ?In either case, the public will need presidential fortification at some point. ?But Obama is willing to risk the accusation that he is “soft” on terrorism or is hovering above it all, or is just not to be bothered ?(his “head’s in the sand, “golfing comes first,” )in order to advance what he believes is the proper collective response to a failed act of terrorism.
Let the authorities do their work. Don’t presume; don’t panic the country; don’t chest-thump, prejudge, interfere, politicize (in an international sense), don’t give Al Qaeda (or whomever) a symbolic victory; resist the urge to open the old playbook and run a familiar play.
In a sense, he is projecting his calm on the American people, just as his advisers are convinced that the Bush Administration projected their panic and anger on the self-same public eight years ago.
Of course wingnuts longing for the days of Bush would rather have the President on a megaphone talking about how we’re going to re-invade Iraq or some shit.? I’m sure they have and will go after Obama as irresponsible to go golfing instead of kill him some Moose-lims.? It’s obvious those days are long gone.? We have an adult in the White House.? Their other point will most likely be that it “wasn’t on Bush’s watch”, though they failed to blame Bush for 9/11 in any way.? Utterly predictable these loons.
Back in the day before such calm leadership graced the White House this would be an opportunity to exploit the fears of the American people.? Put administration officials on TV, including the Vice President, and talk about how dangerous “these people” are and bend language to later justify some planned overstepping.? Maybe Obama should invoke Bush and tell the American people if we don’t pass health care reform the terrorists like Abdulmutallab win.
Steve Benen (also linked by the Kos diarist), hits the other nail on the head:
Obama and his team obviously prefer a far more mature, strategic approach. It’s about projecting a sense of calm and control. It’s about choosing not to elevate some lunatic thug who set himself on fire.
Indeed, notice the pattern throughout the year. The Obama administration has taken out Saleh al-Somali, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, and Baitullah Mehsud, while taking suspected terrorists Najibullah Zazi, Talib Islam, and Hosam Maher Husein Smadi into custody before they could launch potential attacks.
In each case, there were no high-profile press conferences, no public chest-thumping, no desire to politicize the counter-terrorism successes. Indeed, most of the country probably never heard a word about any of these developments.It’s about competent and effective leadership, and it’s what the country was sorely lacking up until 11 months ago.
Mouth breathing Obama bashing Palin sycophants only understand monosyllabic grunts that talk about Muslims, terr-rists, and war.? They don’t even recognize competent leadership when they see it.