Michael Gerson: Too detached to lead? President needs a strategy

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  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:46 p.m.


    "Regardless of what Obama does, he will be criticized by the right. Like the boy who cries wolf, many, including Obama have stopped listening."

    Ironic comment coming from a group that has totally destroyed its own credibility by crying "racist" every time anyone notices that Obama is not actually the messiah.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    He is described as this because he does not start two wars and trash the economy.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:21 a.m.

    Right off, I can't recall any previous Gerson column so petty in its criticism as this one.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    worf probably makes the most pertinent point about Presidents and vacation time. If your playing golf, swimming, riding bikes, ect. you are not in meetings making policy.


    That is why even though the President is in touch if something happens, that is only a REACTIVE position, not a PROACTIVE one. Right now with so much going on in the world, we need our leaders in meetings deciding what to do IF, as well as what to do NOW. Not just what to do after the fact, or worse, admittedly seeming to be just as "surprised" as the public when things happen. That certainly does not give the people any sense of safety hearing that the White House found out about it when CNN did. And truth is, there are times when a President cannot "take a break". A working vacation at Camp David, or even Crawford Texas (Bush) can still be one with a lot of work happening. No one believes any work can be accomplished during 9 rounds of golf. However, it is possible that the real President is, and had been, Valerie Jarrett. So maybe the work IS going on. Only without Obama.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Aug. 26, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    @ 2 bits.
    I think he's referring to the spending thing, you know the Republicans want him to reign it in, he just keeps spending. Or maybe it's the foreign policy thing, the Republicans want him to have one, he just does the "don't do stupid stuff". I know, it's the whole "faithfully execute the laws" thing, but he just goes on about his business of selectively applying them.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 3:42 p.m.


    Exactly how is Obama, "doing exactly the opposite of what Republican leaders want him to do"?

    He attacked libya (isn't that something Republicans would do)?

    He helped the the people there murder their President in the streets (Muammar Gaddafi). A nut or sure, but at least he had sense enough to end their nuclear weapons program. And was he really worse than Saddam Hussein??

    He attacked Pakistan multiple times (they are getting tired of our missiles killing their civilians).

    Kept the conflict in Afghanistan going... (something a Republican would probably do). There's been more US troop deaths in Afghanistan under Obama than Bush

    Let ISIL gain power in Iraq (not something a Republican would do, but still something to Obama's credit).

    Kept Patriot Act going and actually enhanced it (That's something Republicans pushed for initially... so how is extending it doing the opposite of Republicans)?


    What exactly has Obama done that a Republican wouldn't do?

    I think your "He's doing exactly the opposite of what Republican leaders want him to do"... is mostly a partisan myth.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 3:00 p.m.


    Me: "WHAT IS HIS PLAN???
    You: "do the exact opposite of what Republican leaders want him to do".

    And you blame REPUBLICANS for being non-partisan or not cooperating??? I think you have turned that bunk-theory on it's ear...


    Re: "That’s worked pretty well so far, don’t you think"...

    If you believe North Korea and Iran continuing their nuclear weapons programs (despite Obama's red line) and Syria still killing it's own people (despite his red-line) although thanks to Russia not using chemical weapons anymore.. and Israel and Hamas being on the brink... and American military attacks on Iraq again and the government he helped establish and leave in control in collapse, ISIL growing and decapitating western journalists again... America unable to protect it's Ambassadors overseas and focusing on the political cover-up instead of fixing the problem... If you call that "success" then I guess his plan is working...

    I guess if you drink enough partisan-coolaid these result, and a plan to "just do the opposite of what Republicans want to do".... WOULD look like "success"...

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 26, 2014 2:16 p.m.

    2 bits –

    “He also wants to force all States to give Felons the right to vote (Felons have not been allowed to vote for a long time).”

    Wrong again. You’re consistency amazes me. Plenty of states give felons the right to vote, including Utah. Look it up.

    “I don't want our President being selected by Felons.”

    Why not? That sure doesn’t sound very Christian to me.

    After all, Jesus Christ himself is a convicted felon. And you don’t think Jesus deserves the right to vote?

    Besides, nothing in the US Constitution says felons can’t vote. What do you have against the US Constitution?

    We have to agree to disagree I guess. I have neither anti-American nor Anti-Christian sentiments.


    Well, Obama will keep on implementing the Obama doctrine: “Don’t do stupid stuff.”

    In other words, he will do the exact opposite of what Republican leaders want him to do.
    That’s worked pretty well so far, don’t you think?

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 2:01 p.m.

    "His failures have multiplied...." and "Now he must provide some assurance that he is shaping events with a strategy that culminates in the end of the Islamic State". Oh really now, is that why he was voted into office? I thought we spent a trillion dollars in an attempt to do that but now recognize that is not a realistic expectation. And speaking of his multiple failures. Maybe, just maybe Americans are more concerned about domestic issues. If reducing unemployment from 10 percent down to 6 percent, having significant reduction in deficit spending, having significant reduction in uninsured citizens, and having a significant boost in the stock markets, if all these things are multiple failures, what does it take to be successful.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    On the topic of "What is his strategy"...

    On the news last night a Democrat Congressman was teasing the news with the scoop that when he gets back from vacation he's going to execute the Executive Order they had drafted for him giving blanket-amnesty to 5 MILLION people in the United States illegally (bypassing Congress yet again).

    Sometimes it seems like his main strategy is just to get more voters for future Democrats (even if it takes making 5 million people here illegally into legal voters overnight).

    He also wants to force all States to give Felons the right to vote (Felons have not been allowed to vote for a long time). I don't want our President being selected by Felons.

    And it doesn't matter if these 2 groups don't become a majority. The last several Presidential elections the margin of victory has been 1%. So even if these groups only make up 1% of the voting population... they could change the outcome of the election.

    I wish I knew what his plan was...

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    This isn't about vacations... WHAT IS HIS PLAN???

    Quit side-tracking the conversation with vacation bickering... who cares! This isn't about who took more vacation (irrelevant)... it's about what is the CURRENT President of the United States plan... for Russia/Crimea, Syria, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Hamas, for Missouri, etc...???

    I don't care if he golfs, but WHAT IS HIS PLAN? And is it WORKING? THAT should be the point of this conversation!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 12:19 p.m.

    there is an old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" that I think applies here. Barack is who he is - we have lived through 6 years of his administration and we know how he works ...and doesn't work. Barack Obama does not have a strategy on anything and I think that is clear. How many times has this administration been surprised by some world event stating that they learned about it from the news paper. There was no strategy for the exit from Iraq - just pull out and don't worry about the details and now ISIS has our equipment and is chopping heads and wrecking havocc. Russia is invading and grabbling land and we act surprised and this same pattern plays out in everything Barack Obama has to deal with. There is no strategy or plan - the man just seems like he is only semi-interested in governing and quite frankly doesn't really have the understanding of the economy or foreign policy to really formulate an effective plan much less lead the nation. How do we fix this?? A new president. Nothing else will help.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 26, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    I infinitely prefer Obama's cool and moderate response over the saber-rattling of Romney. I can't help but think we'd be at war on several fronts now if Mitt had been elected: Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, ad nauseam.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 26, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    Gerson is worried that No Drama Obama who got Osama is too “detached,” huh? And he says Obama’s supporters are concerned about that too.

    I don’t think so.

    “Having once served a president . . . “ Gerson, the writer, cut his teeth in the halls of the White House during the GW Bush Administration. That is his foundation. The mindset of the GW Bush administration is his NORMAL. And that mindset delivered disaster to this nation in both the foreign and domestic arenas.

    Gerson seems to think that Obama should be more like GW, his mentor. Does ANYONE else in the country want that? . . . Even Republicans? Should Obama mimic the style of GW Bush?

    GW had his blustering, certitudinous, I’m-the-decider style. But Obama has his own laid back, OK-Lets’-get-it-done style. And I like that . . . Because it WORKS.

    GW put this nation in a world of hurt, and Obama, in the face of obstructing “Conservatives,” has been gradually and painfully setting everything straight again.

    Let Obama keep his style.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 26, 2014 8:26 a.m.

    And yet Syria is destroying it's chemical weapons, ISIS is being pushed back, Putin is standing still bloviating, Iran still doesn't have a bomb, Bin Laden is dead, other Al Qaeda leaders disappear regularly, nothing significant has changed between Israel and the Palestinians (no power shift), North Korea can't get a rocket off the ground, etc. etc.......yea but Bush was a decider...we need a decider!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    So Gerson DOES begrudge the President a vacation. Listen, the White House goes where the President goes. Little changes except there are fewer ceremonial meetings and the President pursues some recreational activities. If the President waited until there were no problems in the world, he would never have a break. In a prior year, the President went on vacation and I remember it was disrupted several times. And the same happened this year. While the President can be briefed, make decisions, etc., he can't be everywhere and do everything. Sorry, but the criticism of the President taking some time is cynicism at its worst. And these words apply to any President.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 7:43 a.m.

    To compare Running a country with a football team? Only in Texas. Outside the Fox echo chamber, people aren't commenting on his vacations every chance they get, because unlike little children they understand that the POTUS is Never really on vacation.

    Where were you Sven when your mentor said:
    “I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.”
    ― George W. Bush

    So his strategy should be a war of aggression based on...let's make something up, like the right did?

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    From "Five Myths about Presidential Vacations," in the Washington Post.

    George W. Bush took 879 days of " vacation," including 77 visits to his TX ranch, compared to 150 vacation days for Obama. (Remember, we were at war in Iraq and also had experienced the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history).

    Nancy Reagan said, "Presidents don't get vacations--they just get a change of scenery."

    Aug. 26, 2014 7:06 a.m.

    Tuesdays edition of the daily "Politically Neutral" DN anti Obama Rant! Who better to write it than Gerson, a man who worked for the POTUS that got us into the mess in the Mideast, you know the one who spent all that time riding his horse on the ranch in Texas, while many of our finest were giving their lives looking for those WMD.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 26, 2014 6:38 a.m.

    "He appears to be telling the media, his political critics and the world: You can criticize me, vilify me, challenge me; but you are powerless, at least, to change my tee time"

    Regardless of what Obama does, he will be criticized by the right. Like the boy who cries wolf, many, including Obama have stopped listening.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 5:52 a.m.

    Obama has taken 1/4th the amount of vacation time as Bush.

    Where were your concerns then? Why did history seem to begin merely in 2009?

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Aug. 25, 2014 11:39 p.m.

    Barry does have a strategy. Has anyone ever heard of the socialists, Cloward and Piven? Their idea was to drastically increase the welfare rolls to the point that it collapsed the government. I'd say this is exactly what Barry is trying to do.

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    Aug. 25, 2014 11:08 p.m.

    It's funny watching the liberal media panic over Obama's coldness towards others. Even Maureen Dowd was shocked at Obama's lack of empathy towards James Foley, when he immediately went back to the golf course after his empty words to Mr. Foley's parents and the nation.

  • azreader1 tucson, AZ
    Aug. 25, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    I wonder if that more than anything, President Obama is very angry for even having to deal with something so utterly intractable, unattractive and threatening to the world, and his legacy, as Islamic terrorism as manifested by ISIS. And that's without Iran's continued march toward nuclear weapons capability also sharing the current news cycle's front page.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 25, 2014 9:04 p.m.

    In football, the coach needs a game plan to execute his moves.

    How can a coach create a game plan if he's constantly on a golf course, fund raiser, and misses most of his staff meetings?