Should Obama put down his golf clubs for a few minutes, forgo a sun drenched stroll along the beach, pass up a daily workout at the gym, and make a public statement regarding the attempted terrorist attack on the United States?
It depends on who you ask. Obama, thus far, has issued a brief written statement and nothing else. He's drawing criticism for appearing too cavalier about the attack.
Steve Marmel, writing at HuffPo, suggests that Obama should go "back to work." Marmel criticizes Obama's vacation routine and perpetual golf game, and says, "There are moments like these where it's important not to simply just do the work, or be told by others that the work is being done. We need to see it."
Ann Althouse suggested that Obama not get so far away from home on his vacations:
Why, exactly, are they in Hawaii — over 5,000 miles* from the White House? I'm not criticizing Obama in particular for going on vacations. I mean to criticize all the Presidents who go far away from Washington. If they need respite, let them go to Camp David. It's close to the White House, and it's set up for security. I can see returning to one's permanent residence, but even that is a luxury the President should eschew. The Christmas Day terror attempt may seem paltry, but it is a reminder of what can happen.
(Why isn't he vacationing in Chicago? I guess we can be glad he isn't vacationing in Kenya? Where's he from, anyway?)
On the flip side, there are others who contend that poor, tired Obama deserves and needs this vacation and that he is simply doing the right thing by staying in the background on this. Marc Ambinder says that a statement from Obama at this point would only exacerbate the situation and elevate it to a higher level of importance than it is. Eventually, though -
Obama of course will say something at some point. Had the terrorist blown up the plane, it;s safe to assume that Obama would no longer be in Hawaii. In either case, the public will need presidential fortification at some point. But Obama is willing to risk the accusation that he is "soft" on terrorism or is hovering above it all, or is just not to be bothered (his "head's in the sand, "golfing comes first," )in order to advance what he believes is the proper collective response to a failed act of terrorism.
Apparently Obama's strategy on terrorism is to play-it-cool unless something really bad happens. Let's see...when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood, how long was it before Obama made a statement? He gave a shout-out to Dr. Joe Medicine Crow at a speech first, then he told us not to jump to conclusions, and finally he made a brief statement.
Ambinder praises Obama for "projecting his calm on the American people, just as his advisers are convinced that the Bush Administration projected their panic and anger on the self-same public eight years ago."
Is he really suggesting that there was no reason for panic and anger after 9/11? Seriously? At what point are we supposed to become outraged about attacks on our homeland and what would the appropriate reaction be, according to Ambinder?
Steve Benen suggests a similar response when he writes,
In the Bush/Cheney era, we know officials read from a far different script. Incidents like these became opportunities to exploit. Top officials -- Bush, Cheney, Rice, Ashcroft, Ridge -- would fan out and start hitting the talking points. There'd be talk about invading Yemen.
So, while Bush and Cheney were only exploiting 9/11, Obama is adopting a "mature response":
Obama and his team obviously prefer a far more mature, strategic approach. It's about projecting a sense of calm and control.
As opposed to the Bush administrations irrational approach to 9/11, I suppose.
The left will let no chance to criticize George Bush pass them by.
As far as Obama's approach to this situation, I don't necessarily want him on my television pontificating about how we shouldn't jump to conclusions and we shouldn't jeopardize the criminal investigation.
Part of the problem has been treating terrorists as criminals and not like terrorists. This guy ought to be put in Gitmo and interrogated. Do you think we're actually going to learn anything from him via Eric Holder's approach to interrogation? Do you think we're even going to be able to ask him about his terrorist ties, knowledge of future attacks, or terrorist networks? No. He's going to get a fine American lawyer and be treated like your common shoplifter.
In the end, Obama's bobbing around golf-courses and strolls along the beach project a cavalier approach to the problem. Should he rush back to Washington and start making speeches? No. Should he project a tougher stance on terrorism than he has to date? Absolutely. If Benen wants to talk about "projecting a sense" of anything, it should be one of toughness and resilience against this sort of attack.
A sense of "calm and control" isn't the projection I'm reading from Obama's drives from the back nine.