Actually, the announcement doesn’t say what the topic is (maybe there’ll be an Iraq update too?) but c’mon. One of the major subplots on Twitter last night while the commentariat was gawking at police-soldiers shutting down media coverage in Ferguson was how freakishly tone deaf it was for Obama and Hillary to be partying the night away on Martha’s Vineyard. I kid you not, a White House spokesman tweeted this right in the middle of it:
Readout of tonight's social gathering coming shortly – spoiler alert: a good time was had by all.
— E. Schultz -Archived (@Schultz44) August 14, 2014
That prompted this, the plain elegant truth of which has drawn 500 retweets and counting as I write this:
If Bush was President at a fancy party while Ferguson was happening, this would be your coverage all night long. pic.twitter.com/S3Q0kpPBVm
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) August 14, 2014
The main target last night for the media’s outrage at political passivity was Missouri’s Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, who’d ducked the standoff until today but has finally bowed to pressure and ordered St. Louis County police off the case. That means The One will be all alone out on a limb unless he speaks up quickly. Expect something terse, uncomfortable, and verrrry carefully scripted before he heads back onto the links for another 18 holes. Although, to be fair, Charles Cooke had a point when he wrote about this a few days ago — no matter what Obama says or doesn’t say about this, he can’t win:
If he remains silent, he will be accused by the Right of vacationing while the country burns, and by the Left of not caring enough about justice. If he does say something, he’ll be accused of interfering with — and possibly prejudicing — an ongoing legal inquiry, of making the story about himself, and of feeling it necessary to involve himself in each and every issue that makes the national headlines. As for the detail, any official statement would be fraught with peril. If his comments were delivered in a less-than-perfect manner, he might inadvertently say something that gave a poor impression; by contrast, if he read prepared remarks from a teleprompter, he’d be accused of sounding disinterested. Worse, perhaps, he might be seen to be taking sides. If he pleases those who wish to see a restoration of law and order, he will look as if he is siding with authorities and ignoring the concerns of black Americans who consider the police to be a threat. But, if he discusses race in a general sense, he will look as if he is deciding what happened prematurely, and as if he is stirring up grievances that have — in some quarters — already been blown out of proportion. Some will even accuse him of stoking a “race war.”
The only person on either side who looks forward to Obama wading into a racially charged incident involving the police is Chris Matthews, who gets another chance to dust off some Washington/Lincoln analogies. Benjy Sarlin makes a fair point too: As easy as it is to say “Obama should go to Ferguson!”, him doing that might turn a situation where there’s some rare bipartisan outrage into a red-versus-blue thing. We’ll find out soon. Exit quotation:
We are departing a “why won’t Obama speak” news cycle for a
“can you believe what Obama said” news cycle.
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) August 14, 2014
Update: One more leftover last night from Guy Benson, who imagined how President Strawman would frame the debate this morning:
@allahpundit some say the rioters are completely justified, while others defend all police actions…
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) August 14, 2014
Update: He said there’s no excuse for violence, but these two reactions pretty well sum up the rest:
Obama Declares It Is Time For Government Authorities to Let Journalists Do Their Jobs, Declines to Take Questions from Press
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) August 14, 2014
That didn't take long: @BarackObama has arrived at a golf course here in Edgartown.
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) August 14, 2014