Have you noticed how Barack Obama responds to tough questions? (Did I say “have you noticed”? Oh, my gosh, I’m beginning to channel Andy Rooney.)
Anyway, until recently the press has avoided asking the president about anything that might prove awkward. For the most part committed to helping him succeed, its members have assiduously refrained from forcing him into a corner. Now, however, with the political season upon us, several have decided to breach their formerly unspoken code of etiquette.
We saw this change during the president’s Hawaiian press conference. Several of the queries aimed his way concerned our policy towardIran; especially with regard to intelligence that it is close to obtaining nuclear weapons. One pointed probe went so far as to ask if he had been able to enlist the cooperation ofRussiaandChinain reducing this threat.
The response was vintage Obama. He launched into a long soliloquy about all of his administration’s wonderful achievements in containingIran. It seems that everything he has done succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest hopes. Of course, there is more to be done, but this is merely a matter of sticking to the established course.
It was only in the last sentence or two that he actually addressed the issue of whether the Russians and Chinese agreed to cooperate with his strategy. At this point, he assured the nation that they had; that just as previously, they would in the future.
Except the very next day, the Russians insisted that they would not participate in any harsh sanctions against the Iranians. As far as they were concerned, more than enough was already being done.
In other words, Obama had obfuscated the question. He used his considerable verbal talents to deflect attention away from the crux of the problem, and then disingenuously asserted that it had been fixed in a way it had not.
Contrast this with the Republican debate that occurred last weekend. Romney, Gingrich, Bachmann, Cain, and Santorum were all asked what they would do about the Iranian situation. Each in turn forthrightly asserted that, in the end, they would not allow the Iranians to have the bomb. Even if this meant military action, they would take it.
The most ardent dissenter, of course, was Ron Paul. But he too was forthright. He did not mince words, but made it patently clear that he would not interfere withIran’s nuclear aspirations.
Obama is smart — but he is not similarly candid. When the answer to a question would be embarrassing, he does not answer. While he tries to leave the impression that he has, only his partisans are fooled — because they want to be.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have a president who is plainspoken and honest? Wouldn’t it be nice to have one who answers the questions he or she is asked?