After days of silence, the president of the United States took to the microphone and, in a statement of almost unbelievable pointlessness, said as little as he could. He condemned the violence, said he was sending Hillary Clinton to Europe, said he had instructed his team to look at all options, and said that the “most basic aspiration” of people was (and here he quoted a Libyan) “to be able to live like human beings.” Crises either elevate leaders or make them look shrunken and unequal to the task history has assigned them. I think there’s little question which of these two categories describes Barack Obama right now. QUICK UPDATE: Obama used curious phrasing by telling the Libyan murderers that “the entire world is watching.” This is an adaptation of the chant used at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago by demonstrators who were tussling with Chicago cops (“the whole world is watching”). The difference is that the evil Libyan regime doesn’t care that the entire world is watching, and it’s astounding the president doesn’t know that.
John Podhoretz 02.23.2011 - 5:38 PM