Obama's rhetoric comes up short compared to past presidents

Over the ages leadership in democracies has been symbolized by ringing declarations.

We have, for example, John Kennedy's magisterial:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Or Franklin Roosevelt's request that a declaration of war be passed by Congress:

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.

While President Obama is loath to assume the mantle of commander-in-chief, how does his team inspire or explain to Americans his approach?

Well--we have the declaration from one high-placed official that the Obama Doctrine (such as it is) can be summed up in the immortal words "leading from behind."

This can be paired with the most recent bit of fecklessness regarding any moves in Syria to prevent atrocities: "just muscular enough not to get mocked."

Surely this reflects the view of the President.

When a President wants to put adversaries on notice, he and his team members should not preemptively tip their hands or display their weakness.

The Obama administration does both (as well as reveal our secrets and plans) time and time again.

What a great commander-in-chief.

Over the ages leadership in democracies has been symbolized by ringing declarations.

We have, for example, John Kennedy's magisterial:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

Or Franklin Roosevelt's request that a declaration of war be passed by Congress:

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces- with the unbounding determination of our people- we will gain the inevitable triumph- so help us God.

While President Obama is loath to assume the mantle of commander-in-chief, how does his team inspire or explain to Americans his approach?

Well--we have the declaration from one high-placed official that the Obama Doctrine (such as it is) can be summed up in the immortal words "leading from behind."

This can be paired with the most recent bit of fecklessness regarding any moves in Syria to prevent atrocities: "just muscular enough not to get mocked."

Surely this reflects the view of the President.

When a President wants to put adversaries on notice, he and his team members should not preemptively tip their hands or display their weakness.

The Obama administration does both (as well as reveal our secrets and plans) time and time again.

What a great commander-in-chief.

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