While pondering which glum topic to touch upon today, I became inclined to write about the fact that President Obama had not met with a single foreign leader who visited New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly. As described in Newsmax, this prompted criticisms and at least quizzical reactions from several quarters.
Add me to the list. The fact that Obama made time to appear on The View accentuates the anomalous situation. Meeting with foreign leaders is what Presidents have generally done in situations like this. Given the unrest in Egypt, for example, meeting the new President of that country seemed like a good idea in particular.
The White House has defended the decision with a “if you meet with one you have to meet with a lot of them” kind of logic (though in the past, Presidents have seemed capable of drawing a line). They have also noted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will have a number of bilateral meetings with leaders.
But it seems to me there is something important in having the “big guy” meet with at least a few of these leaders, especially when he finds time to appear on The View. Despite all of our connective contraptions, or perhaps because of them, there is still something special about face to face meetings, especially with people you must deal with on important matters but haven’t met. If this were not true, business executives would never bother to fly to meet each other.
President Obama has often been characterized as aloof and virtually incapable of schmoozing and if he is to become more successful with Congress this next term (assuming the world economy doesn’t collapse by then, making Mitt decidedly more attractive as the Un-Obama) a more personal touch seems likely to be needed. If he gets re-elected I’ll get back to this point in a later post.
Since beginning to write this post I ran across a clip from The Daily Show this past Tuesday, Sept 25. In typical Jon Steward fashion he captures the oddity of the Obama U. N. mini-appearance in a laugh-out-loud way, then follows it up by making fun of Mitt Romney’s lame campaign and ends with a serious interview with King Abdullah II of Jordan. The last part helps give some perspective on the Muslim/Arab world and the limits of U. S. power there.
For Romney supporters who cannot stomach more bashing of their candidate (even if in gest), you could go to the link above to see Obama bashed and then use this link to skip to the end segment interview with Abdullah which I think would be interesting to most. You will have to endure a several second commercial there first, but aren’t we all used to that by now?
This is me reaching out to those to the right of me.