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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