Imagine my surprise yesterday when I read a column by David Ignatius in The Washington Post stating that President Obama is more comfortable in the secret world of intelligence and covert operations than operating in the corridors of power in Washington D.C.
Do we really want a spymaster as the leader of the free world? Well, I wouldn't mind if President Obama can handle the traditional duties of the presidency competently. But Mr. Ignatius argues that is not the case.
"What this president dislikes — and does poorly — is political bargaining. He’s as bad a dealmaker as, let’s say, George Smiley would be. If the rote political parts of his job sometimes seem uninteresting to him, maybe that’s because they seem trivial compared to the secret activities that he directs each morning. If only economic policy could be executed as coolly and cleanly as a Predator shot."
Wonderful. We have an amateur spy in charge of the country. I'd rather he became an amateur economist. Austrian school, if I had my way.
"Obama has devoured intelligence from the day he took office: He stepped up the pace of Predator drone attacks over Pakistan starting in 2009. He approved the bold raid on Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2. Before major speeches, such as the famous Cairo address in April 2009, he has even sought advice from intelligence analysts.
"The president played the spymaster role last week, after a 'credible threat' surfaced of an al-Qaeda car-bomb plot against New York and Washington. He tasked the intelligence agencies to pulse all their sources, and decided on a quick, broad release of the information to law enforcement agencies around the country, so they could join in the dragnet. Obama sent Vice President Biden out as front man on the Friday morning breakfast-television shows.
"Obama is the commander in chief as covert operator. The flag-waving 'mission accomplished' speeches of his predecessor aren’t Obama’s thing; even his public reaction to the death of bin Laden was relatively subdued. Watching Obama, the reticent, elusive man whose dual identity is chronicled in 'Dreams From My Father,' you can’t help wondering if he has an affinity for the secret world. He is opaque, sometimes maddeningly so, in the way of an intelligence agent."