Jonah Goldberg

Yes, yes, I know he says we're on course to "win the future" with high-speed rail and enough windmills to lift the continental shelf. But what does any of this nonsense have to do with the turmoil around us? Calm is always good, but calmly checking out during a crisis is inexcusable.

I do not subscribe to the mythology of the 1950s as an uncomplicated time. But it was a confident and prosperous time, and an avuncular war-hero president taking to the links sent the signal that the commander in chief had everything well in hand, not that he was fed up with the job.

Obama's full-spectrum passivity simply is not the same thing, because we do not live in the same world. On the budget and questions of our long-term fiscal survival, he's AWOL. On Libya, he talks as if we're doing everything in our power to "tighten the noose" on Gadhafi, while it's very clear that tightening the noose means running out the clock. Gas prices are skyrocketing, but all Obama does is claim credit for increased oil production that entered the pipeline under his predecessor.

The only area where he has shown sustained energy lately is fundraising. And even there, his pitch for support hinges on the fact that his middle name is still "Hussein." We should never take it for granted, the president told Democratic donors, "that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama is president of the United States."

Uh, OK. But I thought the important thing about his middle name was that it would help him improve relations with the Muslim world. How's that going?

Obama added that he understands how easy it is to get "frustrated" with politics. Why, his wife had to stop watching cable TV it's gotten so bad. I bet Hu Jintao's wife can watch the news all she likes.

Go ahead, Mr. President, play golf. But you should never take it for granted that you're a president playing golf, not a golfer playing president.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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