It’s OK, Mr. President; you don’t have to have a position on this — in fact, please don’t

Just got this little email update from the WashPost:

Politics News Alert: White House calls Rep. Weiner’s actions a ‘distraction’
June 13, 2011 11:32:22 AM

The White House says President Obama believes Rep. Anthony Weiner’s actions have been “inappropriate” and a “distraction.”

But spokesman Jay Carney wouldn’t say whether the president thinks the New York Democrat should resign — something other Democratic leaders have called for.


I’ve been bemoaning for years the degradation of the presidency to the point where we expect the president to take a position on EVERYTHING that happens, whether it bears on his job responsibilities or not. I think the moment where it first hit me how bad it got was when I was watching a guy on a cable news station standing outside the White House with a microphone on the night of the Columbine shootings. This guy kept coming back on to assure us that the president would soon have a statement. And I’m like WTF? In what sense is a shooting at a high school in Colorado the responsibility of the president of the United States? Why on Earth would I expect him to say anything about it, or care what he said? I wrote a column about this at the time.

By comparison, though, Bill Clinton making sure to vibrate to the correct emotions over Columbine was the height of relevant leadership, compared to the White House being expected to have a position on some wanker who sends dirty pictures to women. We’ve really sunk low now.

If you have trouble seeing this, try for just a moment to look at the world the way I do, instead of the way the Beltway media does. To me, being the “leader of his party” is NOT a role I expect or want my president to play. To me, playing that role is actually inimical to the one that he is paid to perform.

So please, Mr. President: Don’t have an opinion on this. Ignore it. It’s beneath you personally, and certainly beneath the dignity of your office. Stick with the “inappropriate” and “distraction” thing, if you must say anything. Those characterizations are at least accurate.

11 thoughts on “It’s OK, Mr. President; you don’t have to have a position on this — in fact, please don’t

  1. Doug Ross

    I am fine with Obama staying out of it but I am not naive enough to think that there isn’t significant energy being expended behind the scenes in the White House to pressure Weiner to quit as well as coming up with campaign strategies to deal with it if he doesn’t. If Obama is doing this in private, it’s actually worse.

  2. bud

    I agree with Brad’s sentiment on this 100%. The president should focus much more attention to the following:

    Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. Let’s forget about the debt issue for now and push forward a new stimulus package. It can be better structured than the first one and if done correctly should eliminate the high unemployment rate once and for all.

    Healthcare. I’d like to see the president get out and defend his plan more vigorously. Focus on the stuff Americans really need like the no pre-existing conditions clause or the under 26 year olds on their parents plan. And for heavens sake let’s kill Joe Lieberman’s crazy idea of raising the Medicare age. Worst political idea I’ve seen in years.

    Taxes. Let’s make sure the rich help pay for the stuff we need.

    Foreign policy. End the wars in the middle east.

    Energy. End new off-shore drilling and nuclear. We need to conserve and use more wind and solar.

    Those are for starters. But for now the POTUS should stay above the Weiner fray and simply ignore it.

  3. Doug Ross


    “Energy. End new off-shore drilling and nuclear. We need to conserve and use more wind and solar”

    Nuclear is fine. According to Ron Paul’s book, to replace a single nuclear reactor, you would need enough solar panels and wind turbines to cover the entire state of Connecticutt.

  4. Brad

    By the way, for anyone who was at my Rotary meeting today (and since there were a couple of hundred people there, you could be one of them)…

    Robert Goings said during Health and Happiness that he had been talking to me before the meeting, and that he asked me for material, and that I said, “Well, there’s that Anthony Weiner thing…”

    Not quite. What I said was, “You’ll notice that everyone is talking about that Weiner thing. That indicates that there’s nothing going on worth talking about.” OK, maybe it wasn’t that succinct when I said it, but that’s essentially what I said.

    He didn’t misquote me exactly; I’m not complaining. He was very busy trying to put together his presentation at the time. I just wanted to get the rest of the thought out there…

  5. bud

    Connecticut is a tiny state. In any event that’s not technically true. We could built wind turbines off the coast that would take up zero land. The ones on land have a small footprint that could easily be integrated into grazing land in states like North Dakota. Nuclear plants require prodigious amounts of water for cooling. Plus they require a non-renewable resource that, like oil, has to be imported. Of course the damn things are incredibly dangereous and extremely costly. I’m sure Mr. Paul would gladly eliminate “costly” federal regulations to bring down the cost.

  6. bud

    Paul’s statement about the wind turbines in CT didn’t seem right so I did some calculations. A typical nuclear power plant produces about 1,000 Megawatts of electricity. The largest wind turbines produce about 5 meg with future designs able to generate about 10. Of course they only produce electricity about half or less of the time compared to a nuke that will produce about 90% of the time. So let’s assume that the 10 meg wind turbines pan out and ultimately produce at the effective rate of 4 meg. It would take about 225 of these monsters to generate the same amount of power as one nuclear reactor. You can easily build one of these on a square mile of windy land in Texas or North Dakota. If the 10 meg turbines don’t work out then double that to 450 miles for the proven 5 meg turbine. According to WIKI CT has a land area of 5,543 square miles. Seems like Paul is relying on outdated information about the capabilities of wind turbines. As they grow in size and efficiency they will generate a greater share of electricity in the U.S. and the world. We are rapidly approaching 2% of the nations electrical production using wind. That compares to 19% for nuclear. We’ve got a long way to go but it seems like the “answer my friend is blowing in the wind”.

  7. Brad

    A few minutes ago, I tried to restart my “Virtual Front Page” feature… but you know what? There ISN’T much going on today that would be front-page worthy. Which is why we keep hearing about this Weiner thing, and Sarah Palin’s emails, and the “big debate” tonight between GOP presidential candidates, which increasingly seems like an exercise in futility…

    OK there is this story — “BERLIN — Germany, which declined to participate in the NATO air campaign against Libya, on Monday recognized the opposition National Transitional Council as the legitimate representative of Libya, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said during a visit to the rebel capital of Benghazi.”

    THAT’S pretty significant. But there’s not a whole lot else going on…

    I know what you’re thinking… the German foreign minister is named “Guido”?…


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