The Middle East is afire with rebellion, Japan is imploding from an earthquake, and the battle of the budget is on in the United States, but none of this seems to be deterring President Obama from a heavy schedule of childish distractions. The newly installed tandem of White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Senior Adviser David Plouffe were supposed to impart a new sense of discipline and purpose to the White House. Instead, they are permitting him to showcase himself as a poorly focused leader who has his priorities backward.Or you could go upbeat, like Politico:
This morning, as Japan’s nuclear crisis enters a potentially catastrophic phase, we are told that Obama is videotaping his NCAA tournament picks and that we’ll be able to tune into ESPN Wednesday to find out who he likes. Saturday, he made his 61st outing to the golf course as president, and got back to the White House with just enough time for a quick shower before heading out to party with Washington’s elite journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner.
A dizzying succession of major world events is bombarding a president who insists on controlling his own time, emotions and political message. With Japan’s nuclear crisis teetering on the verge of catastrophe, with Libya and Bahrain in violent turmoil, and with financial markets crashing in response, President Barack Obama has been adamantly sticking to his own political and policy playbook.Let me muscle past that adulation and hammer one point: The simple facts speak for themselves. It doesn't matter what emotion these second-rate writers lather into their reporting. We can see that Obama is disinclined to take positions or actions with respect to the core responsibilities of the presidency.
That has meant muscling past the red-siren headlines to hammer away at the jobs-and-education message that will be the centerpiece of his 2012 campaign, the kind of discipline that is a hallmark of his new senior adviser, David Plouffe. And it also meant refusing to scrap a five-day trip to Latin America on Friday that will take him to sun-dappled Rio de Janeiro, among other places, rather than staying home to focus on the increasingly disastrous international news confronting his crisis-weary White House....