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May 03, 2011

7 Minutes Vs. 16 Hours: How The Media Reports Delay

George Bush was relentlessly mocked for waiting seven minutes (actually waiting for his security detail to ready the exit and for his vehicle to be readied) before leaving the school he was visiting. He calmly finished reading My Pet Goat for the kids before going to his now-ready helicopter.

On the other hand, after Obama was told (most likely for the fifteenth time) that the CIA was really, really, really quite confident that Osama bin Ladin was at that compound in Abbottabad, he decided he needed to sleep on it.

Sixteen hours later (hours during which Osama might have fled-- bear in mind, his courier's name had just been outed by WikiLeaks), he made up his mind.

How does the media report this? Well, relying upon those in Obama's inner circle (that is to say, his political flunkies and spinners), we're told this:

"But the next morning after 16 hours, Obama summoned four top aides to the White House Diplomatic Room. Before they could speak, the president put his fist on the table and declared 'It's a go'."

Why does it matter that he did this "before they could speak"? They had spoken already yesterday when they strongly, strongly urged the president to give the order, and he had decided to sleep on it.

They were only waiting on him, after all.

So, after 16 hours of vacillation, during which the operation might have been rendered a failure by intervening invents, he fist-bumps a piece of furniture and finally makes up his mind.

This is something to brag about? This is, in Howard Fineman's words, "almost Biblical"?

Seems like a very cautious, feckless, indecisive individual delaying and delaying on critical decisions and then attempting to sound heroic when he finally does what he's being paid to do.

Thanks to OCBill. This is from the Daily Mail, via Drudge.


To Be Honest: I don't begrudge a president some thinking time before a big decision.

But the media still hasn't explained to me which of the previous presidents and which of the potential/hypothetical future presidents wouldn't have ordered this.

If everyone including Jimmy Carter would have ordered this, then I'm afraid I don't see why President Made a Poopie should be so praised for doing what everyone else would have done. That is, why praise him for being ordinary?

And yes, even Jimmy Carter probably would have ordered this. At least the 1970s version Bear in mind: He did order a failed hostage rescue attempt -- also fraught with peril, obviously, since the choppers crashed in the desert.

A commando hostage rescue is a lot trickier than a hit, of course. A lot more moving pieces, and you have to get all those people safely away.

So why should I praise Obama for a choice that every single one of his predecessors and every plausible successor would also make?

And probably not requiring 16 hours to do so, either.


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posted by Ace at 05:30 PM

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