John Ransom

I don’t care to see a photo of bin Laden dead. In fact, I’d rather the photos not be released because things like that can be scary to some people, including kids.  

But I’d look at the photo if it meant that we had a strong, decisive president.

Heck, I’d look at 100 of them.

Only Obama could so screw up his great moment as leader of the country over public soul-searching about the release of the bin Laden’s death photo, and the waterboarding that led to it.

Deep down, the only thing that is genuine about Obama is how he feels. He has no principles to hold to, no belief system to check him. He has only his feelings and the navel he stares into.

He tries to act all Mr. Cool, but his feelings wear through on decision after decision.  

Obama projected a strong image, perhaps just a tad overbearing, when he announced that Seal Team Six killed bin Laden in Attabad.

But I’ll give him that. That was his moment.  

As president, Obama’s had so few victories, he’s gotten so few decisions right, that I understood and even allowed for his desire to crow a bit on that one.  

We all wanted Osama dead.

Ok, all of us except Rashard Mendenhall.  

But all of that good will Obama gained is now gone, rubbed away by hand-wringing.

“The indecisiveness is undermining the credibility the administration earned with this successful mission,” said Lara Brown, a political science professor at Villanova University reports The Hill. “On the substance of the decision, they needed to simply say ‘no,’ say it early and say it often,” she added in regard to the release of the bin Laden photos.

Even worse the administration is pouting because- egahd!- George Bush’ policies might be getting some credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

“Officials inside the Obama administration have grown discouraged by the abruptness with which the news over the killing of Osama bin Laden,” writes the Huffington Post “has turned into a debate over the efficacy of harsh interrogation techniques and torture.”

The White House confirms it.  

"I think this is a distraction from the broader picture, which is that this achievement was the result of years of painstaking work by our intelligence community that drew from multiple sources," said White House spokesman Tommy Vietor according to the Huffington Post. "It's impossible to know whether information obtained by EITs [enhanced interrogation techniques] could have been obtained by other forms of interrogation."

In other words: We won’t spread the credit around a bit to George Bush, even if he was right all along, because that distracts from the "broader picture"  of Obama's face in the viewfinder.    

Obama doesn’t understand that the American public has no desire to see a president wrestle publicly with these decisions or act less than magnanimous. Being president is not a reality TV show where we live vicariously through our heroes’ and villains’ tough choices.

People don’t care about a president’s innermost feelings. Presidents are supposed to rise above all of that and be... well... presidential.  

For a year the backstory on the president has been that he doesn’t like making decisions, the he doesn’t attract personal loyalty and that he can’t see past his own manufactured image.

That’s obscured a bigger, scarier picture.

In a sad way the fallout from the bin Laden “assassination,” as HuffPo calls it, was predictable.

Obama’s a guy who publicly campaigned against the very policies he is now supporting from Attabad to Gitmo to Yemen.

He gone from the extreme of a candidate arguing that enemy combatants should enjoy the same rights of presumed innocence that alleged criminals receive, to a president signing the assassination order of an American citizen in Yemen under non-combat conditions.

One can argue the merits of either case plausibly.

But it takes a special type of moral ambiguity for the same person to argue wholeheartedly for both cases at the same time.

Obama has that kind of moral ambiguity.

He’s shown the willingness to take both sides of every question on Libya, oil, taxes, spending, campaign funding, Gitmo, his pastor, his birth certificate, drug use, smoking, transparency and his carbon foot print.

He's become the "Look-At-Me" president. It doesn't matter what he does as long as he keeps seeing himself in the mirror.

And he seems blissfully unaware the he's so smitten with himself.  

And that’s the scariest picture of all.  

See also:

Larry Kudlow: Are We Done in Afghanistan?
Mike Shedlock: More Slow Growth Signs
Bob Beauprez: Energy Tax Break Debate 
Michelle Singletary: A Budget Cut Too Deep 
David Malpass: The Bond Squeeze 
John Ransom: Scary Pictures  


You can email John Ransom at thfinance@mail.com 

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.