Sunday, July 26, 2009

Obama's Really Bad Week

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It happens with all presidents eventually but usually not in so stunning a fashion.

President Obama got hit with a barrage of bad news this week, some of his own making. Let's review, shall we?

Henry Louis Gates Jr., historian and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University was locked out of his house so he did what most of us would do, he tried to get in by pushing on the door or other means. Unfortunately for him, a neighbor called police suspecting a break-in. Police arrived and did what police are supposed to do, ask questions to try to assert the facts. Professor Gates got belligerent and was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct, the charges were dropped.

Now had this been a simple case of a mistaken arrest, it would have been written up in the back pages of the local papers but Gates is a friend of Obama. During Obama's press conference earlier in the week, he was asked about the issue and said:

"I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that he Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home,"
Prefacing it by saying he didn't have the facts and then judging that the police acted "stupidly" showed Obama reverting back to his community organizer days where every thing that happens in a neighborhood is the fault of the police. They are always wrong until proven right and even then they are blamed.

Unfortunately for Obama, most Americans either know cops, have one in their family or have generally good feelings toward them. Add to that the cop in question has a sterling record including teaching a course on racial profiling. Add to that that his colleagues, peers and bosses all supported him without question and you have a full-blown case of racial politics writ large that engulfed the administrations message on health care that the presser was supposed to address. The alleged post-racial world is not so much as this issued showed quite with crystal clarity.

Obama also saw his approval drop under 50% this week for the first time. His mealy-mouthed words on the stimulus and the economy have come back to haunt him as people are hurting and not seeing the fruits of Obama's spending.

Finally, we have Afghanistan. The war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda is ratcheting up and more troops have been injured or killed of late. Obama hasn't said word one about the ongoing war, a war he owns after using it to pummel Bush for going to Iraq. He's not said good, bad or indifferent. He's said absolutely nothing of consequence and by doing so has pushed our men and women in uniform to the back burner. An egregious action by a sitting president.

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