Obamateurism of the Day

With Americans suddenly conscious of international terrorism again in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre and the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest 253, the Obama administration has struggled to keep up with the paradigm shift. As mentioned in yesterday’s OOTD, Obama tried to act a little too nonchalant and found himself surprised by a hailstorm of criticism from across the political spectrum for his “bloodlessness.” So as Americans demand a little more action and competence from our counterterrorism efforts, the timing seems bad for this:

“And so perhaps the biggest change Obama has made is what one former adviser calls the “mood music” — choice of language, outreach to Muslims, rhetorical fidelity to the rule of law and a shift in tone from the all-or-nothing days of the Bush administration. He is committed to taking aggressive actions to disrupt terrorist cells, aides said, but he also considers his speech in Cairo to the Islamic world in June central to his efforts to combat terrorism. “If you asked him what are the most important things he’s done to fight terrorism in his first year, he would put Cairo in the top three,” Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff told me.”

I guess Hillary Clinton was right. She and John McCain had a lifetime of experience to bring to the office of Chief Executive — and all Obama has is a couple of speeches.

The intel failures that led to the Christmas Day bombing (and for that matter, the Fort Hood massacre) are more bureaucratic than political, and mainly point to the fact that we made the problem worse by adding to the bureaucracy of our intel efforts in the aftermath of 9/11 rather than streamline. But it doesn’t help to hear less than two weeks after a nearly-successful effort to kill hundreds of people on an American airliner that the President thinks that a speech seven months ago was the most significant counterterrorist effort he could make. As “mood music” goes, that’s strictly Yakety Sax. (via Buy Danish and the Weekly Standard)

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!