Obama masks incompetence with 'cool'

S.E. Cupps:
He’s been called the king of cool, both for his pop culture appeal and for his detached calm.

But being cool has cut both ways for President Obama. On one hand, it’s made a young and inexperienced President look confident in the face of tremendous responsibilities. The junior senator from Illinois was ill-prepared to handle a financial collapse of this magnitude, but you wouldn’t know it from his demeanor, which reads, “I got this.”

On the other hand, being cool can also make him look arrogant. When he recently told David Letterman he couldn’t recall how big the national debt was, it didn’t look confident, it looked aloof. As we enter into the debate portion of this election season, it’s something his prep team has undoubtedly told him to keep in check.

But his easy calm in one capacity — foreign policy — has recently gone from affected to offensive.

In his interview with “60 Minutes” over the weekend, he likened the anti-American protests in Egypt and the attacks in Libya to “bumps in the road.”

Many rightly pounced on his cool assertion that the murder of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was apparently little more than a passing inconvenience.

And his speech in front of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, while clearly intended to allay criticism in this respect, was a mealy-mouthed mess. The pattern was clear: condemn extremism in its various forms, thank or compliment an Arab state and say something gauzy about democracy. Repeat.

Nor will a single speech obscure a longstanding reality: As the Middle East continues to spiral out of control, there’s a growing sense that the President and the State Department were unprepared for the threats America still faces in the region.

So far, the administration’s handling of the new Middle East crisis has been bungled. From the bizarre insistence that the Libyan attack was “spontaneous” to calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s concerns about a nuclear Iran “noise,” the President’s confidence is starting to look like little more than a mask for his incompetence.

Snubbing world leaders for a chat with the ladies of “The View” seems like far more than a mere scheduling conflict.

His casual tone surrounding our new nightmare is alarming — and out of sync with the level of empathy and outrage he’s been able to conjure in the past.
What aspect of his reaction to events has been competent?  He has been getting media cover  with bogus attacks on Romney to distract from the incompetency but I some point the reality will sink through.  Whether that will be before the election will depend on how effective Romney and Ryan are at pointing out the problem and how energetic the media is in helping with the cover up.  Too often the media tends to mirror the phony outrage coming from Clinton's media body guards or Obama's.  The results has been a significant loss of credibility, but it has not chastened their conduct to date.


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