Editor’s Note: The author of this open-letter, Michael Goodwin, voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and had high hopes that Obama would be an effective leader and a uniting force in American politics. Mr. Goodwin explains why he is bitterly disappointed with the President’s overall performance and his speech earlier this week – an interesting perspective.
Dear Mr. President,
It didn’t seem possible, but you shocked me. After lowering my expectations for you, from very high five years ago to bottom-of-the-barrel now, I figured you could never again disappoint me.
But you did it. And if your aim was to further diminish respect for the office you hold, mission accomplished.
The content of Monday’s hyperpartisan speech was par for your hyperpartisan presidency, but the timing marked a new low. Let me be clear: Have you neither decency nor shame?
You knew when you took the stage to denounce Republicans that a gunman had opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, but you didn’t know the full extent of the carnage because nobody did. That’s why you should have stayed silent.
Yet, in remarks hastily put at the top of your speech, you noted that the incident was “unfolding” and said, “We still don’t know all the facts, but we do know that several people have been shot, and some have been killed.”
Later, we learned that 12 innocents already lay dead, not just “several.” How could you be so cavalier, especially with incidents like Fort Hood, Benghazi and the Boston Marathon bombing previously happening on your watch? For all you knew, this one, too, was the work of an Islamic terrorist.
Your ritualistic tough-guy mode didn’t cut it.
You sounded like you were going through a checklist when you promised that “we will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.”
Somewhere, Bashar al-Assad and the Benghazi killers must have had a laugh. They are living proof that your promises of accountability are as good as a $3 bill.
From there, you were off to your appointed purpose, which was to demonize those who disagree with you on the budget and ObamaCare. Or, as you put it for the rainbow group of human props standing behind you: “The problem is, at the moment, Republicans in Congress don’t seem to be focused on how to grow the economy and build the middle class. I say ‘at the moment’ because I’m still hoping that a light bulb goes off here.”
The White House transcript helpfully includes the word (“Laughter”) to show your props appreciated your sense of humor.
So you, the commander-in-chief, were making a joke as a deadly attack was taking place at a nearby military base. It’s hard to imagine a more tasteless moment in presidential history.
Fortunately, not many people heard your obscenity, because the cable networks had bailed to cover the slaughter.
Yet you plodded on and soon found your patronizing groove, allowing that some Republicans are “decent folks.” Of course, to earn that honor, they have to “step up,” meaning agree with you.
The rest was predictable— how you’re focused on the jobs crunch, the deficit, blah blah blah. Naturally, you reminded us that you won the election. Thanks for clearing that up.
The speech, then, was a routine summary of your worldview—Obama good, everybody else bad, except those who agree with Obama.
It’s the timing that I can’t get over. The fact that you went ahead before police had released the full number of dead or wounded is breathtaking.
Heroic law-enforcement agents still were plucking terrified survivors off rooftops with helicopters and hunting for what they thought was an accomplice.
The unknowns — including who did it, why and whether the shooting was a terrorist act — had so unnerved the Capitol that Congress was in lockdown most of the day.
Yet news reports say there was not even a discussion in your office about whether to postpone the speech.
Again, shades of Benghazi. Your disappearance during the attack on Sept. 11th of last year still has not been explained. We know you had no contact with your Defense Secretary after about 6 p.m., and presumably went to sleep even as four Americans were being killed in the Libyan deathtrap.
The next day, you spoke in the Rose Garden as your aides spread the lie that the attack was the spontaneous outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Muslim video. You concluded your remarks by vowing that “justice will be done,” then hopped on Air Force One for a campaign trip to Las Vegas.
America is still waiting for justice, Mr. President. But while we wait, I humbly offer a suggestion.
Go away. Just Go Away.
If that is asking too much, then please, please be quiet!
For America and for decency.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Michael Goodwin is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who has been a fixture on the New York media scene for the last 30 years. His columns appear in the New York Post.