Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper is not the only one contending that our normally loquacious “Commander-in-Chief owes an explanation to the American people” for the Libya operation. In her column on Friday, Peggy Noonan noted the same thing:
I cannot for the life of me see how an American president can launch a serious military action without a full and formal national address in which he explains to the American people why he is doing what he is doing, why it is right, and why it is very much in the national interest. He referred to his aims in parts of speeches and appearances when he was in South America, but now he’s home. More is needed, more is warranted, and more is deserved. He has to sit at that big desk and explain his thinking, put forward the facts as he sees them, and try to garner public support. He has to make a case for his own actions. It’s what presidents do!
Read the whole thing. The Athena of punditry is back on her game. Her words must have resonated with the administration; not too long after they appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s web-page, the White House announced that the president would be delivering a speech today on the Libya operation.
Noting the “firestorm of criticism about President Obama’s failure to lead on Libya and his refusal to articulate his goal(s) for the war,” Jennifer Rubin found it odd when the administration made the announcement in a “late afternoon ‘news dump'”, trying “to slip his about-face by the media before the weekend”. Normally, presidents, she remarked, can’t wait to get their message across.
Maybe the reason this president is speaking out only reluctantly on Libya is that he really doesn’t have a message. He chose to act, not out of principle, but out of fear, fear that Gadhafi’s survival would mean continued tension in Libya, with ever higher oil prices. And he knows that if gas remains at or near $4 a gallon, his reelection prospects would look particularly bleak. In short, this is all about keeping oil prices down. (It’s too bad it’s too beholden to the environmental lobby, thus unable to adopt a coherent energy policy, allowing us to tap more of our own resources.)
Just a thought. Maybe his words tonight will help us see that he understands the national security benefits of taking on Muammar Gadhafi.