Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek International and CNN is a bright man and an insightful commentator. In this 2:26 video, he does as good a job as I’ve seen of describing the ridiculous spectacle that the gulf oil disaster has become — from President Obama’s demeaning efforts to appear sufficiently angry, to the temporary neglect of other pressing issues where the president’s personal involvement might actually be helpful. (Hat tip: Glen Gill)
But Zakaria blames this on the news media, and I think that gets it backwards. Yes, the media has been milking the drama for everything it’s worth (Day 60!) — but that’s what the media does. It’s up to Obama to keep the media tail from wagging the presidential dog. I would much rather see Obama leave the oil crisis in the hands of the experts and stick to his scheduled visit with Asian allies — instead of blowing them off for the second time.
Sometimes a president has to rise above public opinion and do what’s right. George Bush showed how to do that by insisting on the surge in Iraq in the face of intense public pressure — and it worked so well that his successor, who campaigned on a platform of surrender at all costs, had little choice but to stay the course.
I guess you could argue that Obama showed similar fortitude by sticking with the immensely unpopular health care “reform” legislation. But I’d call that rising above public opinion to do what’s wrong.