Thursday, November 12, 2009
Owning Two Wars -- and the Presidency
A few weeks ago in the WSJ, Peggy Noonan wrote of the moment in which a President 'owns' his Presidency. (The context was, in typical Noonan fashion, passive/aggressive partisanship: At what point does the public make Obama responsible for the economy? Her answer: right about now.)
In the last two weeks, it appears that Obama has taken ownership of the role of Commander-in-Chief. In the early morning of Thursday, October 29th, the President paid a late night visit to Dover Air Force Base as the bodies of 18 American servicemen who had died in Afghanistan were returned home.
A week ago, on Thursday, November 5th, thirteen people were killed (and almost 30 wounded) by alleged gunman Nidal M. Hasan. Although Obama's immediate response was criticized by some, his speech on Tuesday at the Fort Hood memorial service was well-received.
And finally, yesterday, he laid a wreath at Arlington for the first time as President, and then stopped by Section 60 of the Cemetery; the visit was recounted in a moving piece by a journalist who was there "off duty."
Against the backdrop of a pending decision on strategy in Afghanistan, Obama seems to have grown into the role of C-in-C this past fortnight.
And his actions over the past few weeks bring into sharper relief the outrageousness of the "dithering" statement by former VP Dick Cheney.