That was some press conference
by Obama Thursday. The president once again showed that the thrill is gone when he's off the prompter — which is why this was Obama's first press conference since July 2009 when he shoved his loafers into his mouth by saying the cops "acted stupidly" in arresting his obnoxious, race-baiting, disturbing-the-peace friend, Skip Gates.
It's hard picking the best (or worst) "off the prompter" moment from Thursday. It was pretty bad that minutes after saying of the Gulf oil spill (in so many words): "I'm all over it ... I think about it first thing in the morning and last thing at night ... I've been taking control of the situation from the beginning ..." that he admitted that he didn't know for sure
if the bureaucrat in charge of oil and mineral rights in the Interior Department had been fired this morning or resigned. You see, Obama had "a whole bunch of other stuff going on," such as greeting the Duke men's basketball team
at the White House.
I wouldn't make too much of this if not for Obama's defensive posture, insisting he's all over the situation — and claiming some responsibility for the federal government's less than ideal response — while simultaneously pushing most of the blame on the Bush administration and BP. Either he's too busy with "other stuff" to have all the details down, or he's taking a "big picture" approach and delegating the details to others. He can't really have it both ways, as that question from The New York Times
reporter revealed. If I'm in his press shop, and am looking at the president's performance with a critical and not sycophantic eye, I cringe.
Anyway, worse was Obama's response to a question about the left's boycott of Arizona over their entirely reasonable measures to fight illegal immigration — using federal guidelines — in the absence of federal enforcement.
a gaffe in the truest sense — a politician sloppily blurting out what's really on his mind. Let's pull out the relevant passage:
"I'm president of the United States. I don't endorse boycotts or not endorse boycotts, that something that the private citizens can make a decision about."
In that statement, Obama revealed that that he's really still a community organizer at heart. A presidential
response goes something like this:
"I'm president of the United States. I don't endorse boycotts, especially ones that pit one state against another — or, in the case of Los Angeles and San Francisco, pit a large city against another state. At a time of economic turmoil, which I inherited from my predecessor, the last thing we need is to start what amounts to a trade war among American communities. As I said in my campaign: We are not Red States and Blue States, but we are the United States. And while economic boycotts have real punch, we need to be shaking hands and pulling together right now.
"I see that a commissioner for the energy regulatory agency in Arizona responded to LA's boycott vote by saying he hopes Angelenos enjoy reading by candlelight — a reference to how Los Angeles depends greatly upon the electricity produced and sent to Southern California. So you can see where these kinds of actions — boycotting another state — can have negative consequences and lead to economically ruinous measures, or at least retaliatory threats. That's not in keeping with the spirit of America.
"So, let me be clear ... individual Americans have every right to boycott the state of Arizona, or Los Angeles, or San Francisco, or even Chicago for reasons that are their own. But I don't think that's a good idea. I think we all need to calm down a bit, and trust that together, we can find a solution to the problem of illegal immigration on our southern border. And I'm working with Congress and leaders in Arizona to help bring that about."
But Obama didn't say that. He couldn't
say that, because boycotts and riling up anger against a target of ire is what community organizers do
. So while his heart, and his training, supports the stupid boycott of Arizona by elements of the left, his brain tells him that ... well, he's president. And, for once, he thought about what that office means — and remembered how taking a stand for his buddy Skip Gates got him in a lot of trouble. So he voted "present," by saying he doesn't endorse boycotts and he doesn't not
endorse boycotts. He's trying to have it both ways (as usual). But he's not fooling anyone. At least not me.
As a side note, I find it ironic that Obama is now taking a hands-off approach (at least in his rhetoric) to the angry expressions of some Americans when it comes to the boycotts of Arizona. When it comes to another angry expression by some Americans, that of the Tea Partiers, he's had lots
Most of what he's had to say about the Tea Parties has been un-presidential ridicule — such as saying those people need to calm down, they are against progress, they don't know what they are talking about, and they should be thanking him for supposedly cutting their taxes.
That contrasts with how George W. Bush handled questions about the nasty protests against him. Bush would just shrug his shoulders and say, "Americans have the right to protest and say whatever they want about me." That's the difference between a confident man, and the thin-skinned fella currently occupying the Oval Office.
Even foaming-mouth Bush haters have to admit: He didn't whine about those who opposed him.