On Monday, White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest conceded that Barack Obama’s White House should have sent a figure of more stature to attend the historic march in protest of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo than America’s ambassador to France. After much prodding from the press corps, Earnest conceded that the president was at home in the White House on Sunday.
The political press has been finding it difficult to make excuses for the president’s absence from this event. Many members of the media have, in fact, confessed that they are uncomfortable with the president’s decision to largely ignore the historic march.
One intrepid CNN reporter offered her theory for why Obama declined to attend the rally in Paris when so many of heads of state around the globe did: Politics.
“President Obama, while he obviously does things to deal with terrorism, this isn’t the issue that he wants to be fully front and center out there with, I think is fair to say,” said CNN Senior Political Correspondent Brianna Keilar.
That’s right: This CNN correspondent, who might very well be onto something, is suggesting that the president views terrorism and national security as just one of many “issues.” Much in the way that Obama embraced veteran’s affairs as his “issue” ahead of the 2008 campaign, terrorism is an “issue” which he largely regards as a frustrating distraction. Given Obama’s reluctance to prosecute the anti-terror campaign against ISIS, Keilar’s assessment of Obama’s political priorities rings true.
On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security revealed new counterterror measures that would be put in place in the wake of the attacks in Paris. According to a DHS press release, more personnel will be sent to guard federal buildings and other potential high-value targets, and the TSA would impose new enhanced screening measures on airplane passengers.
Except that it is hard to make the case that these measures are a response to an attack that is nearly one week old. In fact, given the administration’s efforts to display an attitude of indifference toward the security threat represented by the Paris attacks, it is more likely that these added precautions are not merely the result of an abundance of caution on the part of American security officials.
Hopefully, Islamist fundamentalists will not try to replicate their successful attacks in Paris on American soil any time in the next two years. That would ruin Obama’s day. Terrorism just isn’t his thing.