I was sitting in my car Thursday afternoon, listening with rapt attention to the news coming out of Ft. Hood. This tragedy has impacted Wisconsin especially hard, with two dead and two of the wounded coming from the Badger State. My condolences and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
But imagine my surprise and shock when the host of the show I was listening to broke away to the President’s address, only to hear Obama speaking in a jovial manner, thanking the organizers of an Interior Department Conference on Native American Affairs for their work, promising that his administration would continue to discuss issues with tribal leaders and even giving a “shout-out” to Dr. Joe “Medicine” Crow, a Native American Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
It was only after 2 minutes of frivolity did Obama comment on the tragedy suffered by the troops who serve under his command. I will give him credit for what he did say, calling the event a “horrific outburst of violence,” and that “these are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to the rest of us on a daily basis. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.”
But that doesn’t excuse his poor decision to continue with the planned script for the day. It was well-known that Obama was planning to give closing remarks at the Native American conference on Nov. 5, and if this tragedy hadn’t occurred, nothing would have been thought of it. However, something tragic did happen to American soldiers waiting to deploy to a war that Obama is now in charge of.
He should have tossed his planned remarks, which came across to a stunned nation as insensitive and clueless, and immediately reassured the grieving military base and offered the condolences of the American people.
A lot of conservative talkers have demanded for Obama’s impeachment over this. That is a little much. It’s not a high crime or misdemeanor to be thoughtless and a clod. But the least Obama could do is to apologize for his insensitive behavior and demeanor.
The left has naturally come to Obama’s defense, immediately rehashing the “My Pet Goat” moment George Bush had on 9/11. If you’ve forgotten, Bush was reading a storybook to a class of elementary students when he was interrupted by an aide who informed him of the attacks on the World Trade Center. After this brief exchange, Bush finished reading the book to the students.
But there is a huge difference between these two events, a 3-hour difference. In Bush’s case, he was told of the attacks while he was reading to the students. Instead of immediately leaving or addressing the attacks in front of young elementary students, Bush maintained his composure, finished the book and left to deal with the business of the terrorist attack.
Obama, on the other hand, was told of the Ft. Hood incident as it was happening at 1: 30 p.m. (CST). He didn’t make his appearance before the Native American conference and address the nation until well after 4 p.m. (CST). Almost 3 hours had passed since Obama heard of the tragedy and his address to the nation. Plenty of time for him, his speech writer and his aides to dump the prepared remarks to the conference and adopt a more Presidential tone.
It’s not like the left doesn’t have examples of proper Presidential decorum in these types of situations. Bill Clinton unfortunately had to address the nation in times of great grief and he got it right.
When the Alfred R. Murrah building was destroyed by domestic terrorists at 9:30 am (CST), Clinton was informed within minutes while meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister. He didn’t immediately address the nation, but waited until the afternoon when he declared a federal emergency in Oklahoma City and called the incident an “attack on innocent children and defenseless citizens.”
Clinton added to his presidential stature when the USS Cole was bombed by terrorists off the Yemeni coast in the early hours of Oct. 12, 2000, he was vacationing in northern New York for his wedding anniversary. He returned to Washington by the late morning and addressed the nation in somber tones. He didn’t joke around with the reporters in the audience, he didn’t shout out to the military guards standing in the room.
So the left and Democratic apologists for Obama don’t have to excuse his behavior by playing the “Bush didn’t act Presidential fast enough” card. Instead, they should at least hold him up to the standards of a former President they worship and respect.