Friday, July 24, 2009

I Just Want to Calibrate

There are certain things you'd expect an adult to know. Especially an adult who happens to be Leader of the Free World.

For example: you know what's really not a smart idea? Insulting police officers. Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates learned that the hard way when he got arrested recently at his home in Cambridge, Mass. And President Obama seems to be learning it now, after he blithely said that he thought the police involved in the Gates incident acted "stupidly." Now he's offered the non-apology apology:

"This has been ratcheting up, and I obviously helped to contribute ratcheting it up," Obama said of the racial controversy. "I want to make clear that in my choice of words, I think I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department and Sgt. Crowley specifically. And I could've calibrated those words differently."

So what the hell does "calibrated" mean, anyway? Were the controls off on his teleprompter?

Word to the wise, Mr. President: if you don't know all the facts about an issue, fight the urge to opine on it. It's easy for a penny-ante blogger like me to opine and bloviate, because my words ultimately don't mean much. But when you are the President of the United States, every word you utter gets great scrutiny. The backbencher days are over.

Will Obama figure this out? Put it this way: he'd better. The thing is, there's ample reason to doubt that he will any time soon, for reasons our friend Doug Williams explains quite nicely:

Before seeking the presidency, Obama's experience in government was hardly impressive. He was never an important legislator at any level. His well established history of voting "present" in the Illinois legislature seems to be the best characterization of a legislative career that one could charitably call "undistinguished." His private sector experience was even worse. Unless you count his years spent as a "community organizer," which should more accurately be seen as his first step on the rung of the famously corrupt Chicago political machine, his experience amounts to a brief and unremarkable stint teaching constitutional law after serving as an editor of the Harvard Review (despite which he curiously never had a single article of his own published).

His list of accomplishments across all levels of endeavor reads rather impressively... if he were applying for admission to a liberal arts college. It's fantastically inadequate as a background for the leader of the free world.

But guess what? He's our President. So we'd better hope he starts figuring things out. And as always, go read Doug's piece in full.

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