Yesterday, Fritzworth at AoSHQ said, “I never want to hear about The Pet Goat, again, referring to the never-ending barbs President Bush sustained after being photographed reading the book upside down to school children on 9/11. When he was made aware that one of the twin towers had been hit, he sat calmly, waiting for further intelligence, rather than abruptly jumping up and leaving, which would have startled the room full of children. The momentary paralysis has been the butt of jokes on the left for nearly ten years, and one of their many reasons for despising him.
Fast forward to President “Present” – whose entire foreign policy has been in a constant state of paralysis since day one of his Presidency.
In John Podhoretz withering assessment, he’s been reading his own “My Pet Goat” for going on four weeks, now:
Japan may be on the verge of an unprecedented catastrophe. Saudi Arabia is all but colonizing Bahrain. Qaddafi is close to retaking Libya, with bloodbath to follow. And, as Jim Geraghty notes, the president of the United States is going on ESPN to talk about the NCAA and delivering speeches today on his rather dull plan to replace No Child Left Behind with No Teenager Left Behind, or something like that.
He is largely notable by his absence, which is itself the result not only of not knowing what to do but also apparently believing it is better for the world if he remains a minor player as a bloodbath approaches in the Middle East and something more ominous seems to be approaching in Japan. When he talks, as he did in Friday’s press conference, he only makes matters more confusing; there is little reassurance that there is a hand anywhere near the tiller.
As Guy Benson at Townhall notes, Podhoretz isn’t the only one to have picked up the theme:
Podhoretz isn’t the only commentator who’s noticed the president’s studied aloofness on major international and domestic crises. Jim Geraghty, Time, David Brooks, the Associated Press, Michael Barone, and Politico have all picked up on the same theme, offering varying degrees of criticism.
In yesterday’s White House Press briefing, CBS’ Chip Reid asked WH Press Sec, Jay Carney, “Doesn’t there come a point to make a — where you have to make a decision?”
Watch, starting at 18:24:
The transcript via Gateway Pundit:
Q On no-fly zone, what exactly is the U.S. — the administration’s position before the Security Council?
MR. CARNEY: Our position, Chip, remains that we are evaluating a number of options, military options, including —
Q But a decision has to be made now.
MR. CARNEY: — including a no-fly zone. We feel that it is important that any action like that that might be taken should be done in concert with our international partners. Through the United Nations would be our preferable vehicle for that, and therefore we would look to the U.N. as a forum for evaluating that option. I think I mentioned yesterday that today is the deadline for the no-fly zone option to — preparations or plans to be submitted in Brussels at NATO. And I believe the NAC will review those tomorrow. So this process is moving forward.
But our position is that action like that should be considered and taken if decided upon in coordination with our international partners, because it’s very important in the way that we respond to a situation like we see in Libya, that it be international and not unilateral; that it include the support and participation, for example, of the Arab League and other organizations and countries in the region.
And that is our sort of focus as we proceed with these conversations.
Q Is the President satisfied to follow, not lead, on deciding whether to do it?
MR. CARNEY: I take issue with the characterization. We think it is precisely because the President believes that the best outcome in a situation like we see in Libya, as we have seen in different forms in other countries in the region, that the best outcome will come when the action taken by countries — third-party countries outside of the country where the unrest is happening — be done in consensus with international partners, precisely so that it is not viewed by those who oppose positive democratic reform as the dictate of the West or the United States.
Q But wouldn’t it be fair to say — accurate to say the United States is still sitting on the fence on this? Isn’t it time to make a decision, yes or no?
MR. CARNEY: Well, Chip, you tell me if as an American citizen would you want your President not to consider all the implications and ramifications of taking military action.
Q Doesn’t there come a point to make a — where you have to make a decision?
MR. CARNEY: And I would go back to what I said to Jill, that we have acted with great haste, and we have coordinated international — led and coordinated an international response, the likes of which the world has never seen in such a short period of time. And we have — we continue to consult with our international partners. We meet — we have met with, as the Secretary of State did, with the Libyan opposition discussing new ways we can put pressure on Qaddafi.
And when it comes to considering military options, this President will always be mindful of what the mission, should it be engaged, what it entails, the risks that it poses to our men and women in uniform, and its likelihood of having the kind of impact that we set out for it to have. And that is his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief.
And I would suggest to you that that is what leadership is all about.
Leadership is about dithering while the last remnants of a rebellion are crushed?…
Or as Ace put it:
Rebels In Libya Prepare For Slaughter; Look To US For One Thing That Can Save Them– Another Empty Statement from Obama That Qadaffy Must Go
When President Bush said, “I’m the decider”, he was mocked endlessly for that, too.
No doubt the rebels in Libya would appreciate a “decider” right about now.
White House Dossier: President Obama’s Trivial Pursuits