I am not impressed. You may say I was set up not to be impressed simply because of my ideological preferences and the fact that Barack Obama is the antithesis of those preferences. But this has nothing to do with politics. No I don't agree with most of what he stands for on the political scene, but that really has nothing to do with him acting like the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. And no, a photo op at Dover doesn't fulfill the role. Nor does a substitute visit to Walter Reed when soldiers are hurting at Ft. Hood and 13 are dead.
Nor does an insensitive and tone deaf "shout out" during a speech and prior to finally getting to the horrific news of Ft. Hood cut it either. The tragedy at Ft. Hood was a moment and a chance for a president, about whom the armed forces aren't yet sure, to step up and assume one of the most important roles he has - that of Commander in Chief. And, frankly, he blew it. And I'm not alone in that assessment. The liberal Boston Globe certainly seemed to understand he'd blown it:
“It takes more than scripted eloquence for Presidents to connect with fellow Americans. It requires a visceral ability to grasp the scope of tragedy, calculate its impact on the national psyche, and react swiftly. Obama missed the first moment to show he understood how much it hurt.”
Even with that, he had a chance to redeem himself in the eyes of the military. There were a lot of hurting people at Ft. Hood who would have appreciated a visit from their CiC. Instead he left it to a former Commander in Chief to fulfill the role while he took "R&R" at Camp David for the weekend. As the Globe puts it, he seems to have completely missed the "scope of the tragedy" and its impact. More importantly he seems indifferent to his duties as CiC.
One of the best bloggers on the net when it comes to this sort of a subject is Cassandra at Villainous Company. She has a must read essay in which she eloquently points out why Obama simply doesn't "get" the military, and most likely never will. In my opinion, given what I've seen thus far, he appears to be totally unsuited to be the Commander in Chief.
Eloquence or style are no substitutes for leadership. An effective Commander in Chief leads. He doesn't vote "present". He doesn't outsource his job. He doesn't give it lip service. When those he's leading are hurting, he's there immediately. He acts like a leader, he empathizes like a leader and he makes decisions like a leader. And what he gains with his leadership is one of the hardest things in the world to earn and keep - respect.
At the moment I have absolutely no respect for the Commander in Chief of this nation. And I suspect that feeling is shared by a very good portion of our military and military families. My title is a rhetorical question. Unfortunately, given his performance so far, I'm pretty sure I know the answer