Commentary Magazine


Good Talk

An interview with Barack Obama appears in today’s Los Angeles Times. But after a read-through, I’m left wondering if the word interview has not been stretched up to and beyond its limits. Consider this remarkable litany of nothings:

Though world events and economic winds have made his agenda all the more challenging, Obama kept close counsel on how he plans to move forward.

He would not commit to specific plans on matters as varied as free trade, unionization and illegal immigration. Instead, he said, his nominees and advisors are studying the issues and will report back with recommendations.

Asked if he would support the extension of the fence between the U.S.-Mexico border, Obama deferred to his nominee for the Homeland Security Department, Janet Napolitano.

In similar fashion, he sidestepped questions about whether he would move quickly on promises to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement or push the so-called card-check law that would make it easier for unions to organize.

“My economic team is going to put together a package on trade and on worker issues,” he said. “That will be presented to me. I don’t want to anticipate right now what sequences will be on these issues.”

Likewise, he offered no hints about future Cabinet appointments, but voiced strong support for Eric H. Holder Jr., his nominee for attorney general, by batting away concerns about Holder’s role in the controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

I guess he’ll get back to us on . . . everything.

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