During Saturday night’s White House Correspondence dinner Seth Meyer was entertaining the crowd with a series of jokes. In light of the recent military action to take out Osama bin Laden one moment during Meyer’s performance was telling; and in hindsight, chilling.
Myers was joking about CSPAN and the stations' limited viewership. Myers said: “they can’t find Osama bin Laden. They think he is hiding in the mountains of the Hindu Kush. In fact he is hosting a daily talk show on CSPAN.” The camera turned to the President who responded to the joke with a huge smile. Knowing now that he had given the order to take out bin Laden the day before, and weather permitting, the operation would have been going on at that very moment, gives new a perspective to the President’s leadership capabilities.
The President’s critics have long been vocal in their distaste for this leadership style. He has been called “too professorial”; “too deliberate”, “disengaged” and “who who leads from behind”. To now realize that in the previous several months the President was: managing a lagging economy, overseeing the response to the killer tornados in the south, planning and delivering a major policy address, implementing a bombing strategy in Libya and dealing with the “birther” nonsense; knowing all the while that he had ordered a major military operation whose failure would bury his presidency and embarrassed the nation. To know all of that was going on and to see that smile…at that particular joke…at that particular moment in time...says a great deal about this President’s leadership capabilities.
This is a leader. This is a man who retained many of the controversial Bush policies because even though he disagreed with them, once in office he found them to be in the best interests of our country. This is a man who in 2009 ordered the CIA to find bin Laden and never took his eyes off of the prize. This is a man who ordered a military operation that could have been a political disaster but knew that its success would uplift the country and bring some closure to the 9/11 victims. This is a man who is not afraid to put his country's best interests ahead of those of his party and his political base. Like him or not, this is man is a leader.
And given his performance Saturday night; one hell of a poker player as well.