Obama campaigns at the U.N.

| September 27 2012
Hannah Thoreson

It would have been a major scandal if President Bush had spent his time hitting up daytime TV shows and campaigning in Las Vegas in the wake of a terrorist attack.  If the media found out that he had only been attending his Presidential Daily Briefing 38% of the time when a U.S. ambassador was brutally murdered while on the job, they would have been apocalyptic.   President Obama’s first duty to the U.S. is as Commander-in-Chief.  The most important responsibility of a President is not to empathize or take credit for jobs created by the private sector.  It is to protect America from foreign threats.

Unfortunately, the only job President Obama has ever done well is campaigning.  During his campaign for re-election, he has attended one fundraiser an average of every 60 hours.  In contrast, Obama has only attended the Presidential Daily Briefing on potential security threats an average of only once approximately every 88 hours.  That works out to be once or twice a week, as though the CIA is a really fun club that the President gets together with on Tuesdays and Thursdays to plan activities and host guest speakers from the FBI.  This cavalier attitude towards national security seems to be sending an invitation to Ahmadinejad and his friends that they would be welcome to join the group for drinks after the election.  Actually, that is pretty similar to what Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin about missile defense.

Obama attempted to mitigate some of the damage done in recent weeks to his perceived record on foreign policy issues by giving a speech.  He addressed the U.N. General Assembly, perhaps the only audience in the world still captivated by Obama’s hope and change rhetoric.  “Since then, the world has been captivated by the transformation that has taken place, and the United States has supported the forces of change.  … We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy put us on the side of the people.  … In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence.”

All change is good change to Obama because his goals are not policy-oriented, they are politics-oriented.  The Obama 2012 World Tour rocked the vote and brought change to Egypt and Libya.  A President that attends their Daily Briefings as a matter of regularity rather than merely to ‘make a statement’ would be concerned with whether or not their actions in the Middle East contributed to stability and respect for human rights in the region.  One who gets their information about world affairs from George Clooney does not seem to care, as long as it looks like the U.S. is playing an active role in supporting the trendiest causes on Twitter.

Indeed, President Obama’s entire visit to the U.N. had the hollow feel of a campaign stop.  He gave his speech and then left.  Even while running for re-election, both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton made time to meet with other world leaders while at the U.N.  Obama will appear on The View, while Hillary Clinton is doing the actual diplomacy.  The Secretary of State has Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Myanmar, Jordan, and Israel on the agenda, while the President is only meeting with Hollywood.  Many countries have a figurehead of state, but the U.S. is not supposed to be one of them.  If President Obama is really serious about supporting democracy around the world, he will start at home by doing the job he was elected to do.

3 comments
monk
monk

Lets be candid.   These stats are about the time "during his campaign."  Yes, it is very important to attend his briefings, but if his campaign fails he loses most of his ability to have impact on the issues you are worried about him not being concerned with and he hasn't abandoned those duties just delegated them to trusted advisers.  

 

If I were running for president vs. a candidate I thought would make poor choices for the U.S. I would do my absolute best to win my campaign. Four years of diligently attending presidential briefings and overseas diplomacy would vindicate spending more focus on elections during the short election period.  

 

WesternFreePress
WesternFreePress moderator

@ monk @hannah_in_az  Hannah is right, monk. There is a difference between Obama and his predecessors on this score. #emptychair

hannah_in_az
hannah_in_az moderator

Some weeks, including likely the week leading up to the attack on the embassy, the President hasn't attended ANY daily briefings.  George W. Bush went every day.