If the number one duty of an American president is to protect the country, Barack Obama is meeting his duty, calmly, resolutely, business-like.
Consider the way he has gone about it. He has accomplished the mission that took us into Iraq. Bin Laden is gone. He has removed the operational leader of al-Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki. He has persisted to its conclusion his decision to keep Moammar Gadhafi from slaughtering people. Gadhafi, who threatened to kill the people of Benghazi by the thousands, ended up hiding in a sewer pipe.
The difference between Democrats and Republicans, clearly the difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is that one knows how to hot-dog in the end zone, knows how to run up the Mission Accomplished banners, knows how to strut.
The other, Obama, makes a crisp statement in the Rose Garden and goes back to work. You decide which is most presidential. On that point, have you ever noticed how the least impressive dictators in the world wear the most impressive uniforms? I think of the South American Junta leaders flashing their epaulettes, the same Opera bouffe costuming the late Mr. Gadhafi favored. They love their military uniforms, love them to be as colorful as their weirdness would allow, love acting the part of military men when they’ve never been in a war, certainly not one they’ve won.
The lesson of today’s denouement in Libya is that the un-fancy, non-strutting leader is the one to put your money on in the long run.
It’s the clown, the show-off, the guy who loves to adorn himself in colorful uniforms and the foppery of fascism that you can safely predict will end his days as humiliated and scorned as a fellow named Benito Mussolini who ended his days hanging upside down.