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Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Era of Presidential Attention Deficit Disorder



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Today’s Jolt features updates on the crises in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, a key measuring stick of GOP outreach, and then this nagging feeling stirred by watching the White House in recent months… or years…

Great. Now We’ve Got Presidential Attention Deficit Disorder.

Here’s one big question: Will we still be talking about Ukraine and Israel/Hamas at the end of the week? Or will some other part of the world – or perhaps our own border – blow up then, pushing Ukraine and everything else back to the inside pages?

Remember those kidnapped schoolgirls? Remember how releasing the Taliban Five was an ominous indicator for Afghanistan? Remember ISIS taking over Iraq? Remember the Syrian civil war? Aren’t there still oodles of Central American kids coming over our border?

Does our media lose interest in these crises because the president isn’t interested in them? Or does the president feel like he’s doing fine because the media stops covering them?

Take a look at the president’s schedule for the coming week, as laid out in Mike Allen’s other morning newsletter…

On Monday morning, the President will sign an Executive Order to protect LGBT employees from workplace discrimination. In the afternoon the President will award Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. On Tuesday, the President will deliver remarks and sign H.R. 803, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, at an event at the White House; the Vice President will also attend.

“Afterward, the President will travel to Seattle, WA to attend a DNC event. Later in the day, the President will travel to San Francisco, CA, where he will remain overnight. On Wednesday, the President will attend a DCCC event in the San Francisco area, and later in the day will travel to the Los Angeles area, where he will remain overnight. On Thursday, the President will visit a community college in Los Angeles to deliver remarks on the importance of job-driven skills training, particularly for fast-growing sectors such as health care. Later, he will attend a DNC event

That’s three days of fundraisers! Two feel-good ceremonies on touchy-feely domestic issues! It’s like Obama has decided he’s governing in the late 1990s.

If you mention an Obama fundraiser, inevitably some snotty lefty will respond, “Sure, because Obama’s the first president to ever attend a campaign fundraiser.” No, but he’s the first one to ever do so many:

In his first term, Obama attended more fundraising events than any other president in recent history. According to author Brendan J. Doherty, from 2008 to 2012 Obama went to 321 events, compared to just 80 for Ronald Reagan.  And, as the chart below shows, he’s done 72 events in his second term – 34 this year alone. So far, he’s ahead of  the pace of George W. Bush, who had been to 30 events at this point in 2006. In his two presidential terms combined, Bush hosted 318 fundraisers. Obama has already smashed that number with 393 events to date.

I wonder if the big theme in the second half of 2014 is going to be increasingly open questions about Obama’s connection to reality, or whether he’s locking himself in an ever-thicker psychological and scheduling cocoon, behaving as if he’s enjoying a fabulously successful presidency and that the world is getting better, more tranquil, and more prosperous on his watch.

Does this song play on an endless loop in the Oval Office?

Newt Gingrich:

From his perch in the amazingly Obama-centric world in which our President lives, look again at what the rest of us think of as serious problems.

Have any of the 1,000-plus Hamas rockets been aimed at Obama? No. That is why Obama is tranquil.

Have any of the thousands who are crossing the border tried to move into the White House? No. That is why Obama is tranquil.

Is ISIS an immediate threat to the United States that is likely to blow up the next golf course the President is playing at? No. That is why Obama is tranquil.

If you can reduce your presidency to a Starbucks visit, a man with a horse-head mask, shooting pool and visiting Joe Biden’s burger joint for lunch, you can have a successful presidency as you have defined it, even if the world is disintegrating.

It’s not just lunatic right-wingers like ourselves noticing this presidential ADD; Canada’s Robert Fulford writes, “Barack Obama, who apparently distrusts American power, personifies this approach. He moves capriciously from subject to subject. One week he’s furious about Syria and announces that Bashar al-Assad has to go. When Assad doesn’t go, Obama loses interest. He seems always to be making a fresh start. When he’s not doing that, he’s “pivoting,” shifting his interest from one continent to another. He seems detached much of the time, then committed, then detached again.”

 


Tags: Barack Obama


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