President Obama said today that he will not visit Ferguson, Missouri so as not to “put my thumb on the scale” in the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown. We should be grateful that he’s staying put.
Yet, short of following the investigators around, it’s not clear why Obama being in Missouri would put his thumb on the scale of the investigation. It’s his comments, not his physical presence, that matters.
Nor is there any need for Obama’s thumb. With Eric Holder’s Justice Department involved, the investigation is already in reliable left-wing hands.
When it came to the pressing matter of enforcing the law in Ferguson, Obama showed no reluctance to put his thumb on the scale. He stated, “I’ll be watching over the next several days to assess whether [the National Guard] is helping rather than hindering progress in Ferguson.” If that isn’t an attempt to shape the National Guard’s conduct, I don’t know what is.
Moreover, Obama’s statement makes little sense. The National Guard’s job isn’t to “help progress” in the abstract. The Guard’s job is to restore order.
How might the National Guard “hinder progress?” Presumably, Obama was referring to policing that alienates the mob. But at this stage, it’s difficult to see how the looting and rioting in Ferguson can be stopped without alienating the mob.
Obama’s preferred “liberal policing” has already been tried. It didn’t work. Thus, the time has come for Obama to let the professionals handle the law enforcement crisis free from the intimidation that comes with him looking over their shoulders.
What we see from Obama in Missouri is similar to what we see from him in foreign hot spots. He stands high above the fray passing judgment — almost always adverse — on all sides.
In Israel, Obama had “no sympathy for Hamas” but was quick to condemn Israel for its attempts to destroy the weapons used by these terrorists. And his administration was at least as apt to support a cease fire proposed by the backers of Hamas’s terror (like Qatar) as it was to support one proposed by Egypt.
Looking to the wider Middle East, Obama seems to blame the U.S. (pre-Obama) and the mullahs equally for the hostility that exists between the two nations. In Syria, he was unable to pick a side in any sense that mattered.
For years, he blew off the non-jihadist rebels who were fighting both the Iran/Hezbollah-backed regime and the brutal Islamist opposition. Apparently, they failed to measure up to his lofty standards.
In Iraq, Obama found the government of Maliki too much of a hindrance to progress to lift a finger to help it as ISIS swept through the western part of the country towards Baghdad. Then, he found the Kurds too much of a hindrance to the government of Maliki to help them when ISIS swept north.
In this context, Obama’s apparent neutrality in Missouri is hardly the most worst example of his detached and perverse judgments. But it’s egregious nonetheless.
We do need to get to the bottom of the Michael Brown shooting. But right now, the priority is restoring order in Ferguson. To the extent Obama watches, his focus should be on whether the National Guard is accomplishing this mission, not on whether it’s helping promote some leftist notion of “progress.”