That was a perfectly fine speech Barack Obama gave at the United Nations yesterday. Perfectly fine, except that he has been president for the last four years.
Perfectly fine, except that terrorists murdered our ambassador in Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. And perfectly fine, except that the head of Al Qaeda released a videotape urging that murder and others during what he called a time of “American weakness.”
Mr. President: The video didn’t do it. Terrorists did. Say it, for God’s sake!
Facts, bloody facts, take all the shine off Obama’s speech. His teleprompted rhetoric no longer inspires because reality keeps interrupting the swoon. Even if you try, you can’t drift off into a dreamy vision of utopia while the corpses pile up and the hate burns red hot.
Unless you’re one of the bad guys , “Death to America” doesn’t make you want to get up and dance.
Give the president some credit. He tried, to a certain degree.
He brought his best scolding, patronizing tone for the day, as though the Turtle Bay club dominated by thugs, theocrats and cowards would be moved by his earnest pleas and frowns. It was an appeal better directed at third-graders than the Third World.
His boldest declaration, that “the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” was met with silence. Then again, he has said similar things before, and nobody believes him, so there’s no sense either cheering or hissing.
It’s just words. See, they’ve already evaporated.
Much of those words were aimed at Ohio and Florida. A president who has put campaigning above governing for nearly two years should never be accused of neglecting his real goal for even a moment this close to the election.
Yet, as events of the last two weeks prove, the disconnect between Obama’s words and the effect of his policies can no longer be ignored. Even as he praises our slain ambassador, Chris Stevens, Obama demeans his memory by refusing to call the attack in Libya what it was -- an act of terrorism against the United States.
Nor was it a coincidence of timing that it was carried out on the anniversary of that historic infamy. It was purposeful, Al Qaeda boss Ayman al-Zawahiri said on tape, a reminder that our enemies are still determined to “purify” Muslim lands. His assertion of “American weakness” indicts Obama, the architect of that weakness.
The president pleaded guilty by sidestepping the 9/11 connection, as he has for 15 days. By doing so, Obama reveals a worldview that is incompatible with American leadership and national security. His failure to talk straight about what happened that day is a form of appeasement that will embolden radical Islamists.
They don’t see his reticence as a noble peace offering. They see it as an invitation to hit again. They don’t want a seat at the table. They want to blow up the table. His middle name and apologies have not charmed them.
Nor will his commitment to retreating from the battlefield. His statement that “we have begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014” put an exclamation point on a very strange day.
Only under Obama do wars have schedules. Not victory, just a timetable.
With the presidential campaign almost exclusively about the domestic economy and jobs, many conservatives are pushing Mitt Romney to add foreign policy to the mix. No doubt he should and will, but he would be remiss if he didn’t tie the themes together.
The Obama presidency is failing on all fronts, and for the same reason. The man at the center embodies the deadly combination of hubris and incompetence.
Other than that, he gives a perfectly fine speech.
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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.