July 23, 2012

"I come to them not so much as president as I do as a father and as a husband."

Well, what was he supposed to say? If you think Obama has exploited the Aurora murders, you have to posit an alternative response that would have been both nonexploitative and duly presidential.

ADDED: Romney says Obama did "the right thing." And saying that is also the right thing. What else could he possibly have said?

Now, the candidates need to get back to normal. Life goes on, and their work is with the living.

40 comments:

Brent said...

I oppose Obama for reelection and did not support him the first time. In fact, I am for the first time in almost 20 years giving money to oppose a reelection.

But the President of the United States is supposed to do what Obama did yesterday.

And he did it well.

Michael said...

What kind of person who has lost a family member shows up for this? Who rounds them up for presidential consolation? Why would they possibly want to be consoled by a stranger, a politician?


I find this more macabre than presidential.

Colibri Noctis said...

"If only there had been a Navy Corpse man in the audience that night."

rhhardin said...

The news is an entertainment choice of soap opera women.

He could say that.

Phil 3:14 said...

Agree with Brent, though having not heard the speech i can't comment on his last comment.

Tregonsee said...

The summer of the Apollo 11 landing, I had the pleasure of being an intern at a NASA center. I can recall one of the engineers fuming that Nixon, whom he hated, was greeting the returning astronauts. I told him rather pointedly that it was the office of the president, who was representing a grateful nation, and not a particular individual. My reaction to this president's trip to Aurora is much the same now.

James said...

There was no need for the President to go to Colorado...that was nothing more than a photo op....his publicly stated condolences are enough...there are 200 people killed in this country every day in auto accidents, murder, and suicide...the shooting by Holmes is a tragedy, but no more to the loved ones left behind than those killed every day in the other violent instances noted...he is famous for never letting a "crisis go to waste" from a political perspective so he has now made the appropriate remarks and it is time for him to shut up about it.

Christopher in MA said...

But the President of the United States is supposed to do what he did yesterday.

No, he isn't.

Christopher in MA said...

There are 200 people killed every day in auto accidents, murder and suicide.

Precisely. Frankly, Althouse, since you think he should have gone to Aurora (which seems to be the tone of your post), I'd like you or any of the posters who support this action to establish a baseline: how many people should die to merit the President's attention? What caliber of weapon includes or excludes his participation in a memorial? Is it just shootings he should play National Comforter for, or do car crashes count? How about murder-suicides? Poisonings? Bullying?

In 1900 there was a huge explosion in a Pennsylvania mind (apologies for not having the details to hand). President McKinley sent a one-sentence telegram of condolence, saying that they were in the thoughts of all Americans. And that was it.

We could use more of that kind of presidency.

Colibri Noctis said...

Obama for mayor!

Matthew Sablan said...

He did good here; I see no need to knock him for it. I don't think he had to go in person, but it is a nice touch.

Pogo said...

Part of the stimulus for these murders is the attention it generates.

Same thing with suicides of young people. TV news melodramatic reporting of the wakes and funerals and soon you have a string of them, then the public gets bored and even annoyed and then it stops for awhile.

Terrorist reporting is the same.

He should have made a single statement at the WH and that was that. Now he's milking it. It's beneath the office.

""You're only encouraging them."

And if it was such a big deal, why isn't he in Chicago? Oh, right; they're black.

Ann Althouse said...

"There are 200 people killed every day in auto accidents, murder and suicide."

My father argued that the news should only be about the people who died that day. It's the most important thing: Human beings are dying. Thousands of them. Every day. Pay attention!

A medieval mindset. This world is transitory. Why are you paying attention to its details? The end is nigh.

David said...

11 People were killed yesterday in a truck crash in Texas. Do they get a presidential visit? 20 soldiers die in a plane crash. An airliner goes down in Alaska. A head on collision in Kentucky kills 9.

My mother barely escaped the circus fire in Hartford in 1944. Hundreds died in a nightclub in Boston in a fire in WW II. FDR did not visit. I do not think he gave a speech about it.

Why not condolences from the President for every victim of violent crime? Are 12 separate shootings on a Saturday night less tragic than a single shooting of 12 people?

At what point did the President become the consoler-in-chief? At what point did we decide that the suffering of relatives of victims of senseless violence should be a public spectacle?

It's all exploitation, even if done with reasonably good intentions. If this kind of thing were to happen to me, the last thing I would want would be the President. Any President, not just Obama. I'm sure he feels real sympathy but I don't know him and he does not know me. I'm trying to find energy and composure in a tragedy. The Presidential circus saps both.

MadisonMan said...

I think he should have stayed home.

David said...

Althouse, the President can pay attention to the dying without visiting them. So can we all. We all do, or most of us. "There but for the grace of God . . . . "

But please, if you don't know me, don't visit. Especially if you have a 200 person entourage and a lot of reporters with you.

Jay said...

I'm ambivalent about Obama's trip to CO>

The real concerning part is him meeting with the director of the FBI, ATF, and Secretary of Homeland security to "understand" these incidents.

bandmeeting said...

their work is with the living.

Choom's "work" is raising money for his political campaigns.

AllenS said...

How Romney lost me.

Lucius said...

A President should not be (or have to be) a pater familias for the whole nation. He's not an Emperor, dispensing sacraments.

To greet astronauts, yes. To whisk around, visiting the scene of every disaster, real or manmade? I think we shouuld roll back some of the expectations for that.

Among other things, it inherently prejudices the ofice toward people who (fake) "emote" well, and damages the standing of statesmen who are more reserved, or who, God help them, actually think they need to be making a call to Putin right about now.

edutcher said...

It's become the norm since Willie and all the school shootings when he was in.

But Pogo's first point is right on the money.

But, surprise, we're back to surreality and guess who shot first. Shades of Tucson.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...

How about he just say nothing rather than lie?

If he's there as a father and a husband, why's he giving a speech to the media, instead of just meeting people in private? Heck, why is he there at all -- how many other people whose qualifications were being fathers-and-husbands unrelated to any victims fly in to visit them in the hospital?

There might be some reason for a President to show up, but what reason would there wouldn't be for a President to explicitly lie about his role? He could not talk to the media. There's not actually a law that he has to give a speech, after all. If he felt compelled to give a speech, he could have confined it to statements that weren't lies.

Christopher in MA said...

If he felt compelled to give a speech, he could have confined it to statements that weren't lies.

"Hello."

CWJ said...

I was stuck in an airport for four hours yesterday, and couldn't avoid the live broadcast of the entire event. Two things came to mind.

Perhaps critics would cut Obama some slack if it weren't for his constant penchant to campaign rather than govern. The man has been running for office after office his entire rather short political career, rather than seriously attend to the needs of whatever office he currently holds. It requires quitea suspension of disbelief to give him the benefit of the doubt, even here.

Second and more disturbing was the performance of the local players. The bishop whose invocation was as long and turgid as it was vacuous. The mayor who seemed more aware of his chance to strut the national stage than offering any meaningful condolences to those directly affected.

If I had lost someone in that theatre, I would have wanted no part of this entire affair. I'd have no desire to be a bit player in other people's photo-ops.

rhhardin said...

Armstrong and Getty played a Howard Stern caller getting through on super-sad news coverage, breaking up everybody.

The 15th victim was sad because he lost on Howard Stern's America's got Talent.

A bright spot.

Eustace Chilke said...

Was he speaking about the distress in Aurora or to the hopes of the single mothers he hopes to move to the polls?

MayBee said...

He doesn't visit the family of every active duty military person killed in the line of duty.

So no, the president doesn't need to visit every person killed by an attention-grabbing tragedy.
Furthermore, because he cannot, it highlights the trips he does not make.

Christopher in MA said...

Now the candidates need to get back to normal.

From your mouth to Axelrod's ears:

Tax returns. Bundlers. Bain. MA records & now key docs from Olympics. When it comes to secrecy, Mitt takes the gold!

The dead in Aurora aren't in Chicago, so they can't vote for Little Black Jesus. He did his little photo op, now, can't he just eat his waffle?

Cedarford said...

IF America was running great, if the Presidency was really America's best led company where all major executive decisions were handled by staff...leaving the figurehead President nothing to do but greet families of "tragedies" as Consoler-in-Chief - I could understand it.

But America is not running great. It seems that for almost a century, successful Presidents do have to put a lot of work in on the big issues...and avoid both the micromanagment danger and the danger of too much time in ceremonial duties..

MayBee said...
He doesn't visit the family of every active duty military person killed in the line of duty.

So no, the president doesn't need to visit every person killed by an attention-grabbing tragedy.
Furthermore, because he cannot, it highlights the trips he does not make.


Bush II tried to meet with each family of a "Dead Hero". Spend hundreds and hundreds of hours on that...more than he did on economic matters or foreign trade gaps, the loss of 3 million more manufacturing jobs lost under him, or the 7.2 million new illegal aliens arriving under his nose.

Perhaps in hindsight, Bush's obsession with being Consoler in CHief was not a wise use of his time or the nation's time. What if he allocated 12 hours of his time away from "Fallen Heroes" or "6th Annual 3 day long 9/11 Victims Mournathon in 2007" to explore financial experts fears in 2007 that the whole financial system was in danger of collapse on financiers churning out trillions in poison paper faux assets?

And even then, the liberals and progressive jews orchestrating the media war on Bush saw an opportunity to rage at him for not personally attending each victim funeral in America, or personally visiting each huricane, tornado aftermath.

Cedarford said...

Colibri Noctis said...
"If only there had been a Navy Corpse man in the audience that night."

==============
That's a stupid partisan snicker line.
Much like "Bush must be stupid to think the Greeks speak Greecian"
"Clinton is dumb to salute some officer indoors."
"Obama is so ignorant he thinks there are 57 states."

Dust Bunny Queen said...


But the President of the United States is supposed to do what Obama did yesterday.


I don't get it. What does this have to do with being President or with the United States as a country?

Sad and terrible event. Horrible that so many died....however, there are more people killed in other places and at other times. Is the President supposed to flit around the country being a professional mourner? If this were the case he wouldn't be able to get anything done.....on the other hand.....maybe that isn't such a bad idea.

Why and how does the President pick and choose who to 'care' about? He doesn't seem all that concerned about the numbers of violent deaths in Chicago. Didn't seem to be bothered about the people who lost their lives and homes in the midwest tornadoes?

Why does he show up for this?(actually, I know the answer to that one.....ramming gun control through while riding on a wave of ginned up emotion from the MSM by exploiting the dead bodies of the victims of this massacre)

And frankly who cares if he does.

Bender said...

the President of the United States is supposed to do what Obama did yesterday

Many people, if not most, would prefer that the president (whoever he is)(and any other politician) get the hell away from them, and leave them alone rather than rudely and presumptuously intruding upon their grief.

Shanna said...

If he's there as a father and a husband, why's he giving a speech to the media, instead of just meeting people in private?

Indeed. I can’t imagine wanting to be dealing with a politician in such circumstances. Especially during an election year.

Perhaps in hindsight, Bush's obsession with being Consoler in CHief was not a wise use of his time or the nation's time.

And yet he was massively criticized for not showing up at Katrina when the rescue operations were still afoot. He stayed out of everybody’s way. 9/11 was a totally different ballgame. That was a nation being attacked, not an event of nature. The President absolutely belonged there.

Mick said...

And he's also a Usurper (born British of a British subject father-- not natural born), so he's just "playing" President.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those Who made him their president." - a citizen of the Czech Republic

Ralph L said...

At what point did the President become the consoler-in-chief?
Reagan went to the arrival of the Dead from the Beirut bombing in 1983. Clinton knew a good thing when he saw one.

I'm more offended by the putting of the flag at half staff.

BBF said...

THAT ACT OF VIOLENCE DOES NOT COMPARE WITH THE ACT OF VIOLENCE PERPETRATED ON THE LIBYAN PEOPLE BY NATO..WITH OBAMA'S SUPPORT.... USING MILLIONS OF THE US TAXPAYER'S $$$$$$. How was it not seen as a horrific act, with continuing reports of the massacres and a time for flag lowering, along with non-stop coverage by the US press and visits by the US President to the hospitalized survivors? Who visited the survivors and family members of those 50,000 or more men, women and children slaughtered with the help of US predatory drones in Libya? After the slaughter of thousands in Libya, the US President went on the Jay Leno show and patted himself on the back for the successful illegal invasion of Libya..because no US military we killed. Of the 50,000 Libyans murdered, the BlackAgendaReports article tells us that 30,000 were Black Libyans who were "disappeared"..and the "ethnic cleansing" is continuing. With the exception of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., the silence of the Congressional Black Caucus has been "deafening"...as has been the silence (with the exception of Mr. Kucinich and Ralph Nader) of those who were thought of as Progressives. Of the Republicans, Ron Paul did speak out and like Kucinich and Nader, called for Obama's impeachment.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"What if he allocated 12 hours of his time away from "Fallen Heroes" or "6th Annual 3 day long 9/11 Victims Mournathon in 2007" to explore financial experts fears in 2007 that the whole financial system was in danger of collapse on financiers churning out trillions in poison paper faux assets? "

Ugh.

The Bush administration, on many occasions, attempted to address the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac storm clouds on the horizon beginning in 2001.

They were rebuffed by democrat and republican congress members, alike.

This is not a secret, but apparently, this fact eluded you and many others.

Carry on.

Issob Morocco said...

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