by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Democrats are struggling not just because the economy is stagnant and the world is in chaos. They are paying the price for something else: President Obama has squandered the greatest asset he had — the perception among Americans that he cared about their problems.
President Obama telegraphs indifference to Americans’ well-being. When the Benghazi compound was overrun and our ambassador killed, he first dissembled (blaming a video) and then thundered about retribution and justice, but what happened? With the exception of one arrest, Benghazi has been dumped. No one has paid a price for that attack on the U.S.
The president permitted the Islamic State menace to metastasize and dismissed the terrorist army as “jayvee,” even as his national-security advisers were testifying before Congress that the group was a profound worry. When stories surfaced later that the president attended only 40 percent of his intelligence briefings in person, it fed the impression that President Obama doesn’t take the time to evaluate threats to the country. He now blames the intelligence community, but a man who goes golfing after an American is beheaded is signaling a certain coldness.
The response to Ebola underlines all of these tendencies in thick, black ink. His instinct has been to tamp down fears rather than address threats with alacrity. He is willing to send U.S. troops to Africa to fight Ebola but not to Iraq to fight the Islamic State. The administration’s resistance to a travel ban makes no sense if the top priority is the safety of Americans.
In 2012, most people still believed that Obama cared. How many do today?