It’s almost as if he determined at the outset that he would be a one term president. He is a realist. From his initial press conference to his trips abroad, he never said anything off-hand and much of what he said was controversial. If he were on trial, his attorneys would have advised that he not take the stand in his own defense. Somewhat in this mode, his formal press conferences following the one dealing with the Skip Gates matter at Cambridge, MA stopped; ice cream shots with the kids proliferated. He is always right but in his mind, we were not ready to accept that. He never apologized to either the Cambridge Police or to the arresting officer. He said only that he should have “calibrated” his remarks differently. This IS the “let me be clear ” president.
He repeated the aforementioned iconic phrase Friday night for the Ramadan dinner at the White House at which he seemingly supported the mosque near ground zero. Yet by the end of the weekend, he had issued or stated not one but two clarifications about his remarks. Two years into his term, the communication between the President and many of his constituents is not so clear -or is it? His “clarifications” and “recalibrations” are geared to shift his position sufficiently to grab others into his web. Also, it is perhaps more his coterie and Congressional Democrats than he that want to “tweak” his pronouncements. What is unclear about his statements Friday night:
“Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at a White House iftar, the traditional breaking of the daily Ramadan fast.
“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he continued. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.” [WashingtonPost]
Even in legislation that was part of his Administration’s agenda such as health care, we were presented with legal matters in inscrutable form. Nancy Pelosi was forced to say that the House and Senate would have to pass health care to even see what was in the bill. When in the history of this nation have we ever heard this from one of our representatives? But Obama was clear what the agenda was and ripped the push for passage away from Congress and took it on himself. This is the “let me be clear” President.
In foreign policy, Obama did not amaze Americas friends and confound her enemies, it was completely the reverse. No doubt because of the weakened state of the “special relationship” under Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron as a “newbie” felt it a challenge to travel to Washington to shore up that relationship but vowed to get tough. Alas, Cameron was overtaken by Obamacharm. The President clearly knows when it is needed. The two got on famously.
The most significant point though was not the bonhomie. It was the fact that Messrs Cameron and Obama had clearly agreed a joint strategy to deal with the Lockerbie row. The PM promised that Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, would scurry around looking for any more information. And the president declined to push for a UK government inquiry. Not a bad strategy. Let’s see if it works. [BBC News]
During his visit, Cameron in his newbiness put his foot in it. He called Britain a Junior partner to the US during WWII. Oops! Inexperience and fumbling about may be an epidemic in the corridors of power these days. But Cameron is not Obama. Obama’s gaffs have nothing to do with his agenda.
Obama remains the “let me be clear” man who is not self-deluded. He fully realizes that whenever he launches into a controversial subject, he further endangers his political career and perhaps (especially by his timing) those of his fellow Democrats. He knows this and continues his consistent pursuit of a record of achievement and revolution within a remarkably short span. The main points of his message are unchanged. At most he provides ways that do not detract from the core of is message to help it go down easier. Let ME be clear: The man’s a revolutionary straight up. He’s not a bumbling newbie. There is no easy road to revolution – not even in the rhetoric he uses to help smooth the way he is pushing us.