I think I overdosed on “the fix” Chris Cillizza provides to satisy those with a craving for the White House line on the Phillips rescue:
On the surface, the Obama and his senior aides were only monitoring the situation but, according to a White House official, the administration was far more engaged behind closed doors.
Obama received his first briefing on the incident just hours after returning from his eight day trip abroad on Wednesday, and over the next 48 hours received further briefings to keep him apprised of the situation. By late Friday the president had authorized “potential emergency actions” to free the ship’s captain and he did so again on Saturday. By Sunday at 4 p.m., Obama was on the phone with the rescued captain congratulating him on his new-won freedom.
According to Cillizza, Obama’s receipt of briefings authiorization of action reflect “the president’s deep involvement in the hostage situation[.]” Cillizza contrasts this deep involvement with “the impression” that President Bush “was simply not attentive enough to the complicated problems that crop up domestically and internationally on an almost daily basis.” Cillizza helpfully explains: “That lack of attentiveness was symbolized by the Bush administration’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina but that was only the tipping point for a sentiment that had long dogged the former president.”
Cillizza is the journalistic equivalent of the people my parents warned me against. He has absorbed the White House line directly into his bloodstream. Now he’s trying to get the rest of us hooked. I should have known better than to read his column when it showed up in my email this morning unbidden. Now I have to work it off and resolve to stay away next time he comes around peddling his stuff.
For those similarly in need, I recommend Robert Samuelson’s “Obama’s economic mirage” and George Will’s “The what of nations?” They are a sobering takedown of the policies behind the Obama administration’s rhetoric. Samuelson concludes that the economic policies represent “a self-serving mirage.” Will concludes that the nations of Europe are smirking (not smiling) at the administration’s foreign policy pronouncemnts. Will doesn’t even get to Eastern Europe, where those expressions are grimaces, not smirks.
UPDATE: Jeff Emanuel is considerably less impressed with the White House’s involvement than is Cillizza. Emanuel writes: “Despite the Obama administration’s (and its sycophants’) attempt to spin yesterday’s success as a result of bold, decisive leadership by the inexperienced president, the reality is nothing of the sort.” Emanuel too will take you down from Cillizza’s fix.