Well, what have we learned to day? We have learned that the riots/American embassy attacks are spreading throughout the Islamic world – and people, American people, are dying. We have learned that what occurred in Libya was definitely an attack – designed apparently to gather intelligence and murder people, at best the riots were diversionary. We have learned that while a bit more restrained, the problems have spread outside of the Islamic world. Not an easy position for our nation – formulating a response is not straightforward. So what is the president doing to deal with it? Well, according to the White House schedule, nothing save for really, He did receive the remains of our dead from Libya and I suppose those few hours towards the end of the day he could do something, but do we see and intelligence briefing or options meeting with the Joint Chiefs on that 9/14 calendar anywhere? I can’t find it.
But then apparently he does not need such meetings because:
Vietor’s reply is quite revealing. It is apparently a point of pride in the White House that Obama’s PDB is “not briefed to him.” In the eyes of this administration, it is a virtue that the president does not meet every day with senior intelligence officials. This president, you see, does not need briefers. He can forgo his daily intelligence meeting because he is, in Vietor’s words, “among the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.”
Let’s put a bookmark there for a moment, shall we?
What have we learned about Mitt Romney today? Well, we’ve learned that the press thinks he’s a doofus, but there is no real shock there. Well, I learned that Mitt Romney is a man of deep character and charity – but then that is no surprise either. He is a guy that solves problems, not ignores them. (Please invest the time necessary to consume that entire last link – it’s important.)
The contrast in our candidates could not be sharper. I find myself wondering why. We have talked about character here before. But what we have seen this week is much deeper than anything we have discussed before. Forget policy for a minute. Compare the charity of Romney described above with the coldness of Obama in speech and action since these events have started to unfold. There is a very real human cost going on here – people who serve our nation and our president. It is a measure of a person’s character as to how much compassion they feel in a circumstance like this and I have seen none from the president, nor the press that is so busy attempting to bolster him.
Something has occurred to me as I have watched the press struggle so mightily to make lemonade out this pile of dung, and as I read of Obama staffers saying things like “the most sophisticated consumers of intelligence on the planet.” There is more than support or even admiration for Obama. There is a steadfast refusal to see the facts for what they are. There appears to be an effort to shape the world to fit their guy rather than have their guy cope with the world. That’s certainly delusional, and perhaps even worshipful. And that is really troubling.
I am currently reading the fourth volume of Robert Caro’s magnificent biography of LBJ. This volume marks the transition from Kennedy to Johnson in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. The cult like status that Kennedy has attained in the American mythos is due to the fact that those closest to him were not merely devoted, but worshipful. To read of the reactions of some to the assassination is disturbing. These are not people that lost a leader, a boss, or a friend – these are people that lost a cult leader. As the presidency of Barack Obama falls apart before our very eyes, and the eyes of the world, I am getting the same vibe.
I wonder about the character of a man that accepts such adulation. It seems to me that a man of good character seeks the best for those that support him, not their worship. A man of good character seeks to help his supporters grow and develop, not stunt that growth and development by keeping them in thrall.
We have said many times here that only religion can develop character of the goodness and depth that we need in our president at the moment. One of the reasons I am willing to accept Mormonism into the community of great American religions and even into the family of Christianity, if heterodox, is because of the character that has developed in many of the adherents to Mormonism that I know. That simply does not happen unless God is at work in that community somehow.
It is a grim time right now – truly, truly troubling. The times serve to illustrate character of the men currently seeking the presidency. One is very well illustrated, the other seem to need a better artist.