Japan is still reeling from the effects of a monster earthquake, a giant tsunami and the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant; over the weekend, America attacked Libya, firing cruise missiles at the armed forces of strongman Moammar Khadafy. And where was the president?
Why, in Rio, of course, with his wife, two children, their godmother and his mother-in-law in tow, to take in the sights and deliver — what else? — a speech.
Having filled out his March Madness brackets on ESPN and, on the way back to the White House from a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the Capitol, signed the condolence book at the Japanese Embassy (“My heart goes out to the people of Japan during this enormous tragedy”), it was time for spring break.
Opera buffa is filled with characters like our 44th president: someone pretending to be something that — by character or temperament or work ethic or talent — he’s not. In the end, though, the mask always comes off — and sometimes, there are tears.
Unfortunately, neither America nor the world can afford a “President Present” — a man who, it seems, would rather be on the beach at Ipanema as a grand tourist than in the Oval Office as the leader of the free world.