It took long enough. Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post, an admitted admirer of Obama today asked “Where’s Waldo?”
“For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action – unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful.”
After listing potential excuses for voting as President “Who Gives A Crap” Marcus lists the many times Obama went missing:
“He didn’t want to get mired in legislative details during the health care debate for fear of repeating the Clinton administration’s prescriptive, take-ours-or-leave-it approach. He doesn’t want to go first on proposing entitlement reform because history teaches that this is not the best route to a deal. He didn’t want to say anything too tough about Libya for fear of endangering Americans trapped there. He didn’t want to weigh in on the labor battle in Wisconsin because, well, it’s a swing state.
Yet the dots connect to form an unsettling portrait of a “Where’s Waldo?” presidency: You frequently have to squint to find the White House amid the larger landscape.”
Marcus states she is someone “who generally shares the president’s ideological perspective”. But the excuse seeking Marcus realizes that something is very wrong:
“On health care, for instance, he took on a big fight without being able to articulate a clear message or being willing to set out any but the broadest policy prescriptions. Lawmakers, not to mention the public, were left guessing about what, exactly, the administration wanted to see in the measure and where it would draw red lines.
That was not an isolated case. Where, for example, is the president on the verge of a potential government shutdown — if not this week, then a few weeks from now?
Aside from a short statement from the Office of Management and Budget threatening a presidential veto of the House version of the funding measure, the White House — much to the frustration of some congressional Democrats — has been unclear in public and private about what cuts would and would not be acceptable. [snip]
Obama seems more the passive bystander to negotiations between the House and Senate than the chief executive leading his party.”
Last night Americans could find President “Who Gives A Crap” a.k.a. “Waldo” on a taped public television broadcast of another Obama extravaganza party to sing the praises of Motown Records. “Waldo” was partying. Marcus claims that “Obama performs best on a stage that permits the grandest sweep.” That is another way of saying he likes events before big crowds that glorify him, not the hard day to day work required. Marcus is only now realizing that those words to the sounds of “celestial choirs” are not a formulation of “change”: