Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A year in, Obama is being forced to face the threat of terrorism, and the results aren't too pretty

Most of us knew this point would come. We knew that eventually, President Obama and his administration would come face-to-face with something that candidates often need not acknowledge, but something that Presidents dare not ignore: reality.

For almost two years, then-candidate Barack Obama crisscrossed the nation spreading his message of "hope" and "change." It got him elected President.

As he and his administration approach their one-year mark, they are finding that campaign rhetoric differs greatly from today's reality.

For example, take the administration's mind-set and commitment in dealing with the threats posed to our homeland by the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists who attacked us in 2001 and who have claimed responsibility for the unsuccessful attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

Immediately following the Flight 253 incident, which could have killed hundreds, the President did not address the American people. Vice President Biden did not. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did not. No one did. It was not until two days later that the first administration official — Napolitano — spoke publicly about this near-Christmas Day massacre.

Within the past week, I believe that Obama has recognized the reality that the American people want leadership — and need reassurance — during times like this. They need to know that their government is vigilant in fulfilling its most important mission, which is protecting the lives of Americans.

Last week, after I alerted the President of this reality, some Democrats actually criticized me for not being critical of President W. Bush after the December 2001 terror attempt by "shoe bomber" Richard Reid.

The criticism is totally unwarranted because Bush and his administration needed no such reality check. The horrific attacks of 9/11 were still fresh in the minds of all Americans. Human remains were still being recovered from Ground Zero. Virtually every time Bush spoke, he reminded us of the ongoing terror threat and war on terror. Agree with him or not, no one had any doubt where Bush stood. In today's instance, eight years removed from 9/11, the American people wanted and needed to hear from their new commander in chief or a senior administration official.

And to be honest, we have not heard Obama or his administration discuss the still-ongoing terror threat as often as I believe is necessary.

As a case in point, believe it or not, last February when Napolitano appeared before the House Homeland Security Committee for the very first time, her testimony did not even include the word "terror." Not even once.


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