Thursday wasn’t the first instance in which an unarmed, commercial airline was struck from the sky without warning, sending hundreds of innocent passengers to their death. Although the circumstances are startlingly similar, the presidential response to each tragedy are miles apart.
President Obama began his remarks to the nation by stating, “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.”
It looks like? It may be?
Obama has often been described as “Mr. Cool,” the guy who never becomes unruffled (well, except when excoriating Republicans in Congress).
Although we want our leaders to be cool under pressure, there are occasions when we want them to display the same anger we’re feel — Thursday was one of those times, and we didn’t get it.
Another thing that struck me was how brief his remarks were. He spoke a total of 39 seconds; The YouTube recording of his speech was prefaced by a 40 second commercial.
Here’s Obama’s remarks:
Conservative Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan tweeted after Obama’s address:
Listening to Obama’s statement the airline tragedy, my mind went back to Reagan 31 years ago. How America’s leaders have shrunk.
— Daniel Hannan (@DanHannanMEP) July 17, 2014
And others agreed:
— breachborn (@cmwurnot) July 17, 2014
Following the downing of Korean Air Line flight 007 by Soviet fighters 31 tears ago, Ronald Reagan’s address to the nation was almost 17 minutes of sorrow, controlled anger and determination. No Mr. Cool for him.
Bucks County (Pa.) Courier Times columnist J.D. Mullane was only to happy to provide the proof:
— jdmullane (@jdmullane) July 18, 2014
To be completely fair, Obama made his 39 second response to the downed airliner shortly after the incident; Reagan’s speech came three days after KAL-007 was shot down.
However, immediately after his remarks on the Malaysian Boeing 777 disaster, Obama launched into a speech calling for more spending on roads and bridges, and then continued on his Democratic fundraising tour.
Talk about detached from reality.