President Obama’s speech on Thursday outlining the failures that led the government to miss a would-be terrorist bomber on Christmas Day demonstrated very clearly that after almost two weeks of dealing with a national security crisis he still has the wrong priorities. And, he can’t be on time — even for the big stuff. Leading many to scratch their heads and wonder why that is, particularly since after hours of delays the president had no news of any real substance to deliver.
After a more than two-hour delay, with many Americans wondering whether or not the White House could get its act together, President Obama took to the airwaves to tell us what we already knew. Though the administration had warned that the report would be “shocking” — many viewers were only stunned by its anti-climactic predictability.
The policy of the speech was dull, obtuse and focused on getting the fatty layers of our federal bureaucracy to function like a well-oiled machine. Something that will never happen.
The language of the speech itself was an exercise in checking squares in a policy box. Obama tried to appease everyone, something he often tries to do in his oratory, but this time it was different. He didn’t even try to disguise his be-all-things-to-all-people efforts.
Could our president be uncomfortable dealing with terrorism?
Every time he’s forced to address the topic, he’s glued to his note cards, speaking without expression. When it comes to security policy he remains stoic and stale. On all other topics, we see a very different man, one who is engaged and animated, even when the subject demands seriousness.
In his speech on Thursday he expressed the view that a majority of the Muslim world rejects al-Qaida. He urged us to educate them on the despair that joining a terrorist group will cause.
Exactly how are we going to do that? Community organizing in Kabul? We’ve been detested since at least the days of Jimmy Carter. That ain’t happening.
He talked about not wanting to compromise our values. This was a bone thrown to the far-left who have been hollering that we must ensure that terrorists get a lawyer and aren’t offended by our attempt to try to save their lives. Translation: The evil ones will still get their Miranda Rights and a legal team.
We won’t interrogate them to get answers about other possible terrorist activities, either. We’ll work on cutting a deal like we’re doing now with the "Fruit of the Boom" guy.
The real “shocker” from the president on Thursday was his acknowledgement that we are, indeed, at war with al-Qaida. It was said to appease those critical of the administration on the right — and the majority of Americans who recognize the threats we’re facing. Translation: There. I said it. Are you happy? Now get off my back.
As a close friend observed, “I picked up the fact that we were at war on my commute home, on foot, on the afternoon of 9/11 when I hung a left at the burning Pentagon. Glad he's now up to speed.”
Obama did insist that “the buck stops with me” — but only after he laid blame at every failed arm of government in our federal system. While this assertion is appreciated — it was something President Bush never would have said — his actions over the last fourteen days tell another story.
The White House's top counterterrorism official on Thursday said he, too, was partly responsible for the intelligence lapses preceding the Flight 253 terror plot.
"I told the president today, I let him down," Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said during this afternoon's White House press briefing. "I told him I will do better; we will do better as a team."
Thanks for the mea culpa, Mr. Brennan. Now we can we get back to beating the bad guys already?
But the national security adviser wasn’t really taking the blame. Only minutes after his remarks, Brennan hit the cable airwaves to proclaim that the problems that were outlined in the report should have been fixed during the last eight years.
Remember Team Obama, you can’t say that the next time we’re attacked. You’ve had time to fix it. Plus, this excuse makes you look like you’re without any answers and have been incompetent over the last 12 months.
What a difference a year makes. The man who one year ago stood on Capitol Hill and said, “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred” is now unprepared to fight them.
If there ever was a time for the “fierce urgency of now”, it's arrived. But I guess that only applies to when Obama is fighting his own enemy in a bid to get elected to office.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative columnist, commentator and FoxNews.com contributor. Follow her on Twitter: @andreatantaros.
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