Obama ‘Needs to Stop Sounding Like Dad’

Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross in Family Ties (Wikipedia)

After President Obama’s anti-ISIS speech, I said that I agreed with his strategy and its underlying logic, but could understand why it might not reassure those who felt most fearful. Last night several readers responded, including one who talked about the president’s super-rational “Vulcan”/Spock-like style.

Now, some harsher views. First from a reader on the West Coast, who agrees with the president’s message but disapproves of his tone:

The president's ideas and words were great but the delivery was abysmal.  He sounded not like a professor, but like a dad pleading to his wayward teenagers to wise up and stop smoking out in the shed.  Do you hear the stress and rising tone in his supposedly declarative statements?

Obama knows that public opinion is out of control, and he’s gone into coping mode. What the country needs instead—and what Roosevelt brought—is a president who brings a posture of commanding authority.

To achieve that, what Obama personally needs—and is not getting from his tone-deaf staff—is theatrical direction. That’s peachy if Obama analyzes issues like a professor. But a great professor knows that in the classroom, he needs to be a great performer.

Next, from a reader on the East Coast who is in the defense-policy business:

I don’t have any sympathy for Trump or Cruz, who are intuitive and calculated demagogues respectively. But I do have sympathy for a lot of their followers. People are scared. Should they be less scared? Perhaps. Should they accept that there is no solution to their fears, and that the over-reaction is the worst option? Again, perhaps.

But that is not realistic. Leaders need to deal with the world as it is, not as they wish it to be. When President Obama comes out, after a terrorist attack, and says, basically, “nothing to worry about, everything is going according to plan, just be patient,” it is nothing short of an abdication of responsibility.