John Ziegler says in an e-mail that Barack Obama sounded a lot more like Dick Cheney than himself in this crisp and broad statement. This was an all-business, no-nonsense rundown that gave a solid impression of action, as opposed to the low-key approach to the terrorist attack attempt over the last two weeks. Obama dispenses with the “system worked” excuse to emphasize the obvious, which is that having to have airline passengers dive onto Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to keep him from detonating a bomb on the plane is a failure. And that failure, Obama said, is one for which the man in charge has to accept responsibility. This is longish, but the statement begins at about the 1:40 mark:
“I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer. For ultimately, the buck stops with me. … When the system fails, it is my responsibility.”
Exactly. Most people don’t care about Rs and Ds when it comes to making the nation safe. They just want the job done competently. When things go wrong, they want to see action and a sense of responsibility for the breakdown. On that score, Obama did well by stating the obvious very firmly, although it would have been better to hear that kind of approach on December 25th, not January 7th.
The part where Ziegler thinks Obama channeled Cheney comes immediately afterward, where Obama states explicitly that we are a nation at war, not a nation facing a crime wave. Perhaps now he will approach terrorists as unlawful combatants rather than criminals captured on the streets.