How Far We Have Traveled in Four Years

Back in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama got a lot of attention–and criticism–for saying that he would meet with foreign leaders like Venezuela’s autocratic Hugo Chavez “without preconditions.”

Now, President Obama is too busy to meet with any foreign leader. Because, you know, running for re-election actually takes precedence.

As the linked story indicates, Team Obama’s excuse for this is that “if [the president] met with one leader, he would have to meet with 10,” which leads Uri Friedman to retort by pointing out that, um, it’s kinda sorta part of the president’s job to meet with foreign leaders from time to time, and talk about issues of mutual interest between them.

And it’s not as though there aren’t reasons to have meetings nowadays. Europe is still in the grips of an economic crisis, the Chinese and Japanese are making unfriendly noises at each other over a pile of rocks, Syria is descending into madness, we just suffered attacks against our diplomatic presence in both Egypt and Libya and there is constant talk about the Israelis taking out the Iranian nuclear program. You’d think that maybe the president of the United States would want to have a sit-down with foreign leaders, talk about these issues and perhaps draw up some kind of plan for dealing with them.

But that doesn’t happen. Instead, Barack Obama goes on The View.

I guess that if this is your idea of what a president ought to do, then Barack Obama’s your candidate. But some of us hold our presidents to higher standards when it comes to doing the job.

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  1. iWc

    Nah. Just totally out of his depth.

  2. Percival

    He doesn’t want to meet with foreign leaders now because he’ll be more flexible in his next term.

    Can you be more flexible than he’s been and remain corporeal?

  3. Israel P.

    We are in a bit of a bind here. On one hand we give the man a hard time about not doing his job. On the other, since almost everything he does is wrong, we’d really prefer he does nothing most of the time.

  4. Mama Toad
    Stuart Creque: Great catch: we’d all forgotten about his 2008 pledge to meet all and sundry world leaders. Robert Gibbs said (on Fox News Sunday), “There’s a phone in the White House.” So I guess President Obama is just phoning it in. · 5 hours ago

    Is it just me, or do you too find Robert Gibbs incredibly creepy?

    RobertGibbsLordVader.jpg

    (image credit)

  5. Mama Toad

    Mr. Yousefzhadeh — Lovely thought-provoking writing, thank you for  sharing it with us.

  6. John Peabody

    So, he won’t meet with one because he’d have to meet ten? I suppose he thinks it wouldn’t be “fair”. We must be “fair” and call Israel and Luxembourg absolutely equivalent (although in a push, Israel would come first in the alphabet- if we were to use old-fashioned Euro-centric methods like the alphabet).

  7. Chris

    The juxtaposition of that quote from 2008 and the “he’d have to meet with ten” is perfect ad material.  Have they been on it already?

  8. Crow

    Much the same way, as someone else has pointed out, Obama claimed four years ago that governing was essentially telling a story to the American people. Four years later, turns out, he was right! Or at least:

    “The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside, you can only change it from the outside,” he said. “That’s how I got elected, and that’s how the big accomplishments like health care got done because we mobilized the American people to speak out.”

    You can only change Washington from the outside, eh? 

    Well, heck, I think we can arrange that. You’re welcome to depart come January of 2013.

  9. Charles Mark

    Ah yes, Hugo Chavez, hero to so many on the Left- in Ireland anyway-and bosom buddy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Now there’s an axis of evil for you!

  10. The King Prawn

    I think it’s the narcissism. He views himself as more important than the job, so much so that the job takes a back seat to him having it. I think we’ve found the perfect opposite of humility: Obama.

  11. The New Clear Option

    Back in 2008, we all should’ve been saying all along, “[we] know he can get the job, but can he DO the job?

  12. Stuart Creque

    Great catch: we’d all forgotten about his 2008 pledge to meet all and sundry world leaders. Robert Gibbs said (on Fox News Sunday), “There’s a phone in the White House.” So I guess President Obama is just phoning it in.

  13. DocJay

    I was curious if he was scared, lazy or incompetent, but one of my friends just landed on evil Marxist.   We may have a winner.

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