Where is the President?

by Anita on March 18, 2011

Seventy years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt finished a momentous week in his presidency. He had signed the Lend-Lease bill into law, which approved giving military supplies to the British whether they could pay for them or not. Roosevelt had wanted that bill passed for many months, and the signing was covered by news reporters from around the world.

And, on March 17, he dedicated the new National Gallery of Art on the mall in Washington, which would house formerly private collections donated by Andrew Mellon and others. That dedication—a gala affair attended by the nation’s elite—gave him the stage to announce the country’s dedication “to assert the purpose of the people of America that the freedom of the human spirit and human mind . . . shall not be utterly destroyed.” He had already asked America to become the arsenal of democracy. Now he raised that calling to an even higher plain, comparing the situation to the third year of the Civil War when Lincoln dedicated the dome of the Capitol Building.

Friendly journalists embraced the text of FDR’s speech, saying that it had brought home to the American people the nearness of war and the higher purpose of that conflict. Roosevelt looked strong and effective as the country’s leader.

By contrast, President Obama looks indecisive and weak. He wants other countries to take the lead in Libya. He gives Vice-President Biden the job of negotiating with Congress over the budget crisis. The president is too often seen out on the golf course, rather than developing effective policies. Governing means making decisions, and most of the time, President Obama would rather avoid a stand on issues.

Today he leaves on yet another trip, this time to Latin America. With no federal budget in place, the Middle East in turmoil, and the Japanese finally asking for American assistance with nuclear expertise, the President will be out of the country. Where is the leadership?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: