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A serious president for serious times

In the Broadway musical “1776,” opponents of declaring independence sing (and dance a minuet) as they pat themselves on the back for being “cool, cool conservative men.” These days, some conservatives are the white-hot loudmouths, and they’re blowing smoke over President Barack Obama’s cool, considered approach to problems like the Gulf oil spill.

Radio hotheads complain that the president should be jumping up and down like Rumplestiltskin, voicing some kind of primitive outrage against BP and the mess that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

Nonsense. In fact, Obama is exactly what the nation has needed in the past 18 stormy, uncertain months. Like the captain of a ship at sea during a storm, he has looked unflinchingly into the winds of financial chaos, double-digit unemployment, health care reform, relentless Republican attacks, two foreign wars and threats of nuclear expansion by other countries. Then came the crisis in the Gulf.

Comparing Obama’s response to former President George W. Bush’s ham-handed, embarrassing reaction to Hurricane Katrina is both ignorant and irresponsible. The president has kept on top of the situation from the start. No, he did not rush to the scene, but he has provided a consistent, stern and clear-headed kind of leadership in the face of a disaster that has seemed unfixable.

Talk about being a plate spinner.

In contrast, Bush lolled around on his Texas ranch, and it wasn’t until some of his aides watched with him a DVD of the disaster in New Orleans that he sort of engaged. But when he rushed down to the scene, he unforgettably lavished praise on his FEMA director, who later turned out to be an incompetent national laughing stock.

No, the last thing America needs right now is a Glenn Beck in the White House. We need a president who is in control. We need one who has a broad, well-reasoned and thoroughly grounded perspective on the world and the nation.

In a word, we need a serious president, not some loud-mouth hot dog. And, fortunately for America, we have precisely such a man in Barack Obama.

— The Courier-Journal, Louisville

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