Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Vain President, or a Weak One?

Americans don't like pushovers--especially pushover presidents.

by Fred Barnes

George Will suggested last week that President Obama's self-referential speech on behalf of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics may lead to his being known as the "vain" president. Maybe, but worse things have been said about a president and probably will be if Obama declines to send substantially more troops to Afghanistan and rejuvenate his counterinsurgency strategy. He'll be called a "weak" president. And the label will stick.

A weak president is vulnerable, politically and otherwise. In Jimmy Carter's case, being seen as weak in dealing with Iran and the Soviets was a major factor in his defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980. Americans don't like pushovers, especially pushover presidents. Obama is at risk of becoming a pushover.

Afghanistan is his test. Public support for the war has fallen sharply this year, especially among Democrats. And Obama's liberal base is pushing him to rebuff General Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, and scale back the war effort. Reversing course on a critical issue of national security because of domestic politics--that's an act of pure weakness.

At the same time, Obama will create another problem for himself should he spurn McChrystal's request for up to 60,000 additional troops to carry out the very strategy the president adopted in March and reaffirmed as recently as August. Rejection will alienate the uniformed military, and they are more popular than the president. When the Pentagon is hostile territory, the president suffers...  Read the whole article.


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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.