The Obama administration’s response to the deadly terrorist attack at Fort Hood in November was exactly the same. For days after Nidal Hasan gunned down his fellow soldiers at the Texas Army installation, killing 13 and injuring dozens, the administration tried to portray Hasan as a troubled lone wolf whose actions had nothing to do with his increasingly radicalized Islamic faith. But as news organizations revealed that the FBI had been monitoring Hasan and that he had been in contact with a known radical imam in Yemen, the insanity explanation looked increasingly lame. Now the administration is engaged in a review of why so many clues to Hasan's terrorist intentions went ignored.
The Obama administration’s cluelessness has reached the point that even the president’s admirers have to admit something is drastically wrong. The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus, one of President Obama’s most fawning fans, wrote this week: "The more I think about the Christmas all-but-bombing, the angrier I get. At the multiple failures that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to get on the plane with explosives sewn inside his underwear. And at the Obama administration's initial, everything's-fine-everybody-move-right-along reaction." And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, now wants to stop the administration from releasing Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, in light of growing evidence of al-Qaida's active presence there.
Many of us who criticized Barack Obama’s candidacy did so because we felt he was too inexperienced to be president. His first year in office has done nothing to allay those fears. He has put together a team of White House operatives who politicize every crisis. Their first concern seems to be to protect the president from blame, not to protect the American people from harm, whether it be from failed economic policies or terrorist attacks.
And the president seems unable to go much beyond reading a script. He shows little actual leadership, whether in crafting a health care plan or devising a coherent foreign policy, preferring to delegate to others duties that he should assume. He turned over responsibility for the stimulus plan and totally revamping of U.S. health care to Democrats in Congress, with predictably unsatisfactory results. Meanwhile, his policy of engagement with enemies like Iran and North Korea has simply emboldened them to pursue their nuclear aims at a faster pace.
Americans have given President Obama an extended honeymoon, but their love affair with a man who showed much promise, if not actual accomplishment, is cooling down. The latest Rasmussen presidential tracking numbers show the president at only 47 percent approval. Unless President Obama dramatically changes course, 2010 will be the year when most Americans begin thinking about divorce.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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