The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

September 19, 2013

Close the book on President Obama

(Continued)

Some may admire his willingness to compromise on the public option; others surely see him as having sold out.

I see his caving on the public option in the context of something my mother used to say to my younger brother when attempting to roust him out of bed in the morning: “For God sake, get up and do something, even if it’s wrong!”

Author and former presidential advisor Richard Neustadt, in his book “Presidential Power”, tells us “Presidential Power is the power to persuade.”

President Obama fails miserably in that most critical aspect of the job. Instead of working to persuade us that a public option might have been a good thing in the fight to control health care costs, he just took it off the table.

Maybe a public option was “wrong” as my mother would say, but if the President sincerely believed it was right, why didn’t he “get up” and fight for it?

Instead, in his second term, he decided to fight Syria and in the process committed a string of blunders such as the world has never seen. First, he fouled his chili by proclaiming the use of chemical weapons as a “red line,” then after Syria called his bluff he went on TV and tried to persuade us that, if left unpunished, Syria’s use of chemical weapons was somehow a threat to our national security.

Were you persuaded?

We were all sickened by images of children gasping and dying in a Damascus suburb but would the President’s proposal of a limited military strike designed to “deter and diminish” the use of chemical weapons really have prevented other children from being gassed? Would it convince the Syrian regime to apologize, admit what bad boys they had been then shamefully and voluntarily step in front of a firing squad? Would it rally the support of the United Nations Security Council and the world in general?

Under the circumstances, President Obama’s proposal to fire missiles into Syria was a stunning misstep that, justifiably, will be remembered as one of the great Presidential blunders in American history, and for all purposes one that has transformed an already lame duck into a comatose duck.

Blake Chambers’ email address is blakechambers51@gmail.com

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