Janesville79°

Glad to be unhappy

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Rick Horowitz
March 24, 2011

How does he distress them? Let us count the ways.


“He” being Barack Obama, president of these United States, and “them” being assorted Republicans—everyone from House Speaker John Boehner right on up (or is it down?) to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with plenty of stops in between for the rest of the team to climb aboard.


The subject du jour is Libya—although if it weren’t Libya, it would have been someplace else. Or something else.

But Libya is the newest thing in the news, which means that Libya offers the freshest opportunity to criticize. True enough: There are some Democrats up in arms about being up in arms, too, but they don’t go at it with quite the same sense of purpose the Republicans do.


Not that the GOP enjoys criticizing this president. It’s more like breathing—you don’t “enjoy” breathing, it’s just something you find yourself doing over and over again. It’s something that keeps you alive.


So let’s count the ways.


They don’t like how quickly President Obama took the country to war in Libya. Before anybody even had a chance to figure out what was going on over there and who were the good guys and who were the bad guys, our fighter jets and cruise missiles had already started flying. Why the big rush?


They also don’t like how slowly President Obama took the country to war in Libya. Instead of responding immediately with support for democratic change in a vital region of the world, the president dithered. He considered all his “options,” and when he finally acted, it was almost too late. Where was the sense of urgency?


They also don’t like the president acting on his own like some sort of cowboy, and committing American troops to combat without even consulting with anyone. That’s not leadership—that’s governing by executive fiat.


They also don’t like the president consulting with everyone—in NATO, and at the United Nations, and even with the Arab League—before committing American troops to combat. That’s not leadership—that’s being a wimp.


They also don’t like the American taxpayer having to bear the brunt of this latest foreign adventure. Especially when we’re in such dire financial condition, we should be looking for ways to share the burden with other nations, and not take on such a crushing responsibility all by ourselves.


They also don’t like the way President Obama wants to share responsibility for this mission with other nations. For the United States to step back and pass command of parts of the Libyan mission to other countries is an abdication of America’s pre-eminent place in the world.


They also don’t like the way our commitment to Libya is open-ended—the last thing we need is to get trapped in a quagmire.


They also don’t like the way the president keeps promising to scale back our involvement in Libya “in days, not weeks”—the last thing we need is to cut and run before our mission is accomplished.


They also don’t like the way the president was out of the country when the war started. The president owed it to all Americans to be in Washington when the war started, even if Congress was in recess.


They also don’t like the way the president went to war on a weekend. There was no reason we couldn’t have gone to war on a weekday, the way we normally do.


They also don’t like the way the president seemed to enjoy Brazilian music. It sends a terrible message to our troops for the president not to be satisfied with regular American music.


They also don’t like the president’s taste in neckties, or that thing he sometimes does with his chin, or those outfits Michelle was wearing, or…


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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