Barack Obama was even more prominently featured in the news on Sunday than is usual for a President of the United States, what with his four appearances that day in 9/11-related events. These opportunities afforded him the chance to appear dignified, non-partisan and, well, presidential. A more illuminating sense of the man and his presidency, however, was provided by a curiously bipolar treatment of Mr. Obama in that day's Washington Post. Call it a tale of two Obamas.
On the one hand, columnist Dana Milbank scathingly described what he called "President Irrelevant." Milbank not only chronicles the jaded response of many Republicans to Mr. Obama's pitch for his new jobs bill. He also describes the unconcealed lack of enthusiasm congressional Democrats are now exhibiting for the leader of their party.
On the other hand, the Post also served up a double-dose of fatuous spin from Obama partisans about the President's derring-do as a hands-on leader in combating terrorism. In a putative "news" article entitled "Obama Scores Well Against Terrorism" and in a column by David Ignatius under the headline "The Covert Commander-in-Chief," we are assured that the man who has publicly dithered on myriad issues and so bungled the economy and his relationships with members of both parties on Capitol Hill as to have become "irrelevant" has been stunningly decisive and successful in the secret campaign against our terrorist foes.
For example, Ignatius declares that, "Intelligence is certainly an area where the president appears confident and bold." The retired general Mr. Obama appointed as Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, goes so far as to declare unctuously that his boss is "a phenomenal user and understander of intelligence." Barack Obama is, we are told, a president who "prizes his authority to conduct covert action." A case in point is supposedly his decision to opt for the most risky of three options with respect to Osama bin Laden, namely sending in the SEALs (albeit, after 16 hours of struggling with the question).
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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