Before we announce the 2009 Obamateurism of the Year, I’d just like to give a few shout-outs. First, let’s give it up for Chris Muir, who has given of his talent to make the Obamateurism series so much fun. I’d also like to thank The Boss, who has been so encouraging and supportive all year long. Let’s not forget the readers, who made what I think was a surprising but excellent choice in selecting the Presidential Shout-Out after a terrorist attack that killed 14 people at Fort Hood as the Obamateurism of the Year.
In case it has slipped from memory, Barack Obama called a press conference to react to the massacre by Army Major Nidal Hasan, who turned out to have connections to al-Qaeda and a suspected operational member of the 9/11 conspiracy, Anwar al-Awlaki. As a nation watched to see its President take charge in a crisis, Obama appeared to act as though the big issue of his address was the people in the audience:
THE PRESIDENT: Please, everybody have a seat. Let me first of all just thank Ken and the entire Department of the Interior staff for organizing just an extraordinary conference. I want to thank my Cabinet members and senior administration officials who participated today. I hear that Dr. Joe Medicine Crow was around, and so I want to give a shout-out to that Congressional Medal of Honor winner. It’s good to see you. (Applause.)
My understanding is, is that you had an extremely productive conference. I want to thank all of you for coming and for your efforts, and I want to give you my solemn guarantee that this is not the end of a process but a beginning of a process, and that we are going to follow up. (Applause.) We are going to follow up. Every single member of my team understands that this is a top priority for us. I want you to know that, as I said this morning, this is not something that we just give lip service to. And we are going to keep on working with you to make sure that the first Americans get the best possible chances in life in a way that’s consistent with your extraordinary traditions and culture and values.
Now, I have to say, though, that beyond that, I plan to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead for Native Americans, as well as collaboration with our administration, but as some of you might have heard, there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas.
As I wrote at the time:
It took Obama almost two full minutes from the time he began speaking until he got around to mentioning the shooting at Fort Hood — the reason everyone tuned into Obama’s speech. The nation wanted some leadership at a time when it appeared that a terrorist attack may have taken place on American soil — and Obama was apparently more concerned about giving a “shout out” to his friends at the Tribal Nations Conference. Indeed, he tells the audience above that he’s been inconvenienced out of delivering his lengthier remarks because the shooting has intruded itself on his daily business.
Well, being Commander in Chief is his daily business, not pandering to the Tribal Nations Conference — and he should have started out this little missive with his priorities in order.
And in a bonus Obamateurism, the President got Joe Medicine Crow’s award wrong, too. He won the Medal of Freedom, not the Medal of Honor, and Obama should have known the difference — especially since Obama awarded it to Medicine Crow himself three months earlier.
The choice of this entry as Obamateurism of the Year surprised me a little. I expected the bow to Saudi King Abdullah to win the top prize, but in the end, it only came in fourth. The silver medal went to Obama only talking to Stanley McChrystal once in 70 days while meeting with Andy Stern of the SEIU on a weekly basis, and the bronze went to reversing on missile defense in Poland on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion in World War II. This proves, I believe, the wisdom of having the readers of Hot Air select the winners. Great choice, and let’s look forward to 2010. May our President learn enough to stop making these rookie mistakes, but if not, let’s keep pointing them out and having fun while doing so!
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!