The AWOL President

Jokes about Barack Obama’s tendency to “vote present” have flowed between those who paid attention to his lackluster Senate resume since 2008, but this is ridiculous.  Four Americans were murdered by Somali pirates yesterday, and the President has not said a word.

Maybe he’s chewing on former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer’s Tweet, in which Fleischer advised, “If I was a Somali pirate & O doesn’t retaliate, I’d keep taking hostages. If crime/terror pays, there will be more crime/terror.”  I can see where it would take a couple of days to mull over a complex idea like that.  Plus, one must allow time to upload a few gigabytes of sage wisdom into the teleprompter.

Obama hasn’t had anything to say about Moammar Qaddafi’s atrocities in Libya, either.  Granted that it’s not Americans dying over there, but there was a time when the world looked to American leadership during such bloody hours.  Sending out State Department flacks, or the hapless Hillary Clinton, is the global equivalent of a corporate CEO transferring concerned callers to his customer-service department.

The President, who is also the titular head of the Democrat Party, has not uttered a word of reproach against the fugitive legislators from Wisconsin and Indiana, who abandoned their duties and fled their state houses at the behest of union bosses.  His silence may be taken as tacit approval of their tactics.  It would be nice if someone in the White House Press Corps asked him for a comprehensive list of situations in which it’s acceptable for legislators to turn their backs on the people of their states, perhaps with a follow-up question about whether the list is any different for Republican legislators.

Obama did take a few moments from his busy schedule to congratulate his pal Rahm Emmanuel for winning the mayor-for-life position in Chicago, which brings his priorities into focus.  Couldn’t he have added a bit of outrage for those murdered Americans to his congratulations?  “I’m sure Mayor Emmanuel and the people of Chicago will join me in condemning the heartless and brutal murder of the Americans slaughtered at sea by Somali pirates?”  

This President has gone beyond being an empty suit, and become downright invisible.  He has military options to exercise against the Somali brigands.  He has political power he could invoke to restore democracy in Wisconsin and Indiana.  He may have little beyond words to contribute to the crises in the Middle East, but the words of a President are important… at least, they are if the world has reason to take the occupant of the Oval Office seriously.

America is the voice of justice, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.  Our greatest Presidents have used that voice to shake the word, and cause the grim fortress walls of tyranny to come tumbling down.  Today the Oval Office is silent, and vacant.