The mainstream media have awoken to the fact that President Barack Obama’s partisan attack on Republicans during the Navy Yard attack on Monday may not have been the best idea, even if only for tactical reasons.
The New York Times‘ Maureen Dowd worried that Obama’s speech meant that he “cannot seem to connect anymore” and concluded that the president had been “overtaken by events.” The Hill called it a political “blunder” and agreed, via a quote from a “former aide,” that he had been “overtaken by events.” (Poor President Obama, always the victim of circumstances not of his own making, always “overtaken by events”!)
While it is encouraging that the media have noticed Obama’s attack–even though most networks cut away after he briefly mentioned the Navy Yard shooting–they continue to ignore three glaring problems:
1. The fact that Obama never considered canceling or postponing the speech. A president who does not realize that a mass shooting on a military base in the nation’s capital city is a reason to suspend politics as usual is dangerously removed from his duties as commander-in-chief–never mind the political damage. In addition, he is receiving bad advice, ignoring good advice, or simply not being advised by staff who have learned that he tunes out all but a select group of trusted Chicago insiders and loyalists. By putting politics first, the Obama administration is putting the nation at risk–at a time when risks are only growing.
2. The fact that the media pilloried Mitt Romney for lesser sins in 2012. When Mitt Romney issued a statement criticizing the Obama administration’s apologetic response to the Cairo embassy attack on Sep. 11 last year, the media attacked him viciously. Romney, too, was “overtaken by events”: he did not know that four Americans would be killed in Benghazi. But the media never let Romney forget his alleged gaffe, while giving Obama a pass for his inaction that night. Because the media never hold Obama accountable for anything, he rarely takes his governing responsibilities seriously, exacerbating a dangerous vacuum in national leadership.
3. The fact that the Navy Yard attack happened at all, four years after Ft. Hood. It is easier for the Obama-supporting media to dwell on an inappropriate speech than to ask the much more important question: how did the attack happen at all? Four years after a similar mass shooting at Fort Hood, was nothing done to improve security at military bases? Why were rules restricting guns on base not changed? Did the Obama administration let the nation’s guard down by downplaying Ft. Hood as “workplace violence” instead of terrorism? Why, after the NSA scandal, was there no review of security clearance procedures and lists?