WASHINGTON -- "We are at war." So said the 44th president of the United States on Jan. 7. Those four words, a profound statement of the obvious, were uttered belatedly as our commander in chief transitioned from tropical sunsets on his "Hawaiian holiday" to klieg lights at the White House in the aftermath of the Christmas Day "near-miss" terror attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. The phrase was startling because it wasn't an affirmation of a mindset President Barack Obama brought to office. Rather, it was the reluctant admission of facts Mr. Obama has spent a year in office diligently trying to deny.
A year into this presidency, the so-called mainstream media and those who sample American public opinion are assessing what has changed and trying to explain the remarkable plunge in the president's approval rating.
Three states he carried handily in the 2008 election -- Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts -- have gone Republican. On the anniversary of his inauguration, polls show a significant majority of American voters believe the nation is "on the wrong track." A Zogby International survey found 40 percent of voters believe Mr. Obama has "done worse than expected," and only 13 percent of them say he has "done better" than anticipated.
Though most political pundits ascribe rising antipathy toward Mr. Obama as the consequence of massive unemployment, a stagnant economic recovery and concern over massive spending and accumulating debt, there is also a growing sentiment that our commander in chief is simply unable to protect us from those who are trying to kill us.
Supporters of this president -- and they are legion -- have tried to portray the Christmas Day attack as an epiphany for Mr. Obama, but there is little evidence that this is so.
His Jan. 7 remarks -- intended, we are told, to "reassure us" -- show that the O-Team still doesn't get it. He limits the war we are in to be only against al-Qaida. He still speaks of radical Islamic terrorists as "foes" and "adversaries" and "lone recruits." His response to the Christmas Day attack was to order reviews, review the reviews, and report -- with "full accountability and transparency" -- the findings of these reviews.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.