As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Strikes the Right Notes on Irene

President Obama appears to be exercising leadership on Hurricane Irene, making sure the proper authorities have their butts in gear and cutting his vacation short, a decision that allows him both to oversee the response and appear presidential.

According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, Obama conducted conference calls today and yesterday with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.

Such calls are more than symbolic. They let senior agency officials know that the president is watching and they will be held accountable for their actions. Presidential involvement in any exercise gets agencies in gear, from the top all the way down.

Obama also conducted a call with governors and mayors from areas that will be affected by Irene. This gets lines of communication open to help coordinate a federal and local response, and it sets expectations on all sides about what is going to be done.

While presidential aides – no matter who is president – like to pretend to reporters that the boss can do everything on the road he can do at the White House, nothing beats the Situation Room for coordinating a crisis response. Obama is doing the right thing by leaving his vacation a day early. And he will save himself some nasty political fallout and feverish criticism from people like me.

By returning with him, Mrs. Obama also avoided the disgraceful sight of her continuing to vacation while the storm raged and taking a separate, costly flight home at taxpayers’ expense.

She had initially decided to stay. I pity whoever had to tell her she couldn’t.

If either the president or Reggie Love has a black eye or appears woozy next time they appear in public, you’ll know why.

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32 Responses to Obama Strikes the Right Notes on Irene

  1. What a crappy vacation; earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, getting trounced in the political polls, another unexpected rise in the unemployment numbers and the wife ranting about her ruined vacation.
    Might as well go back to work.

  2. Nice effort but I’m not buying it Keith. The only reason he’s doing this is for political purposes. Better to have a staged photo of him sitting in the Situation Room rather than tooling around in a golf cart on MV.

    Sure would like to see who hitches a ride on her plane if they are flying together. The cost of taking two separate planes, two separate motorcades, and two separate security details won’t be minimized by them holding hands as they’re walking up the gangway of AF1. What’s up with the midnight departure anyway?

  3. Why praise Obama for ‘exercising leadership’ ? The steps he took should be SOP whenever there is a serious emergency situation brewing. The problem is – the bar has been set so low for Obama that, on the rare occasion when he does exercise leadership, everyone is in a state of shock!

    As far as the First Wife is concerned, she just doesn’t give a flying fig about what anyone thinks of her! It’s her way or the highway! She’ll fly back to D.C. kicking and screaming and probably take off for Paris or Spain to finish her damn vacation! Heads are certainly going to roll over this one, LOL!

  4. If the Won “appears to be exercising leadership” we can be sure its one of the first times. After all…who wants to “lead from behind” a hurricane ?
    Also, pretty damn sure the golf courses on MV will be too messed up even for his sorry game.
    Oh well…at least he is consistant ( he sucks at golf and he sucks at being president too).

  5. All theatre for the folks. He cut his vacation short by hours. And I would
    bet the cost of getting MO to leave early on the same plane was not a pretty
    sight. And rest assured she will be jetting off in the dark of night soon to
    make up for her sacrifice. Let’s hope there is no major damage for those in the path of Irene they are the only important people in this story.

    • “And I would
      bet the cost of getting MO to leave early on the same plane was not a pretty
      sight. And rest assured she will be jetting off in the dark of night soon to
      make up for her sacrifice.”

      Is she really that bad that she might throw a tantrum about coming back early?

      What a B****!

  6. Having lived through six direct hits (Frederic, Erin, Opal, Danny, Georges, Ivan), and I can’t even remember how many brushes, I can’t help but think that this is a major overreaction to an under-powered storm. Everybody here is acting like the Richmond area is going to be leveled. Yeah, the people on the Outer Banks are going to get it bad because they’re about six inches above sea level. I hate it for them. But the entire eastern seaboard is in full panic and this storm is nothing.

    • I agree. It will be a bad storm, but not another Katrina. It will be interesting to see how the east cost folks respond to the aftermath compared to the hoardes in New Orelans. My bet is that the looting, shooting, thieving, and general mayhem will be a tiny fraction of what happened in Mayor Ray Nagin’s fair city. New York will likely have it’s share of bedlam, but in the more cililized areas, people will help each other and do the right thing. Not much of a chance that you’ll see this story on NBC, CBS, or MSNBC,,,,

        • Scott didn’t say that hman. You must be a New Yorker. I’ve never been to NYC, but after watching “Escape from New York”, “Dirty Harry”, and “Taxi Driver”, I don’t have much of a desire to see how close to reality they are.

          • “More civilized” than New York is exactly what he said, Susan. I am not mincing words here.
            Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is a reliable REP stronghold – it’s where “Saturday Night Fever” took place.
            I am indeed a proud Brooklynite – those other movies were also from the 70s – come and visit some time.

          • I don’t like it when people put down Texas either, but there are areas of high crime in our big cities. No getting away from it unfortunately.

          • Hey, Texas is cool with me. I had a fun time in Austin a few years ago – but it’s troubling when you base your assumptions on MOVIES that were made 30-40 years ago. Right?
            Check yr facts – there’s a (R) Rep in the US Congress representing Brooklyn and Staten Island.
            (Staten Island is also heavily Republican, btw).
            But yes, please do come visit – things have changed since 1977.

          • Don’t be so serious hman. I don’t really base my opinions on old movies. Worked there for many years, and was never happier than the day I retired and saw Austin city limits in my rear view mirror.

          • Oh, OK, sorry. I based my opinion on your thoughts above about watching “Taxi Driver”, “Dirty Harry”, and “Escape from New York” – I didn’t know you’d been here in the 1970s.

            But really – you should come visit – in a 20-block walk, I could show you tons of great Italian bakeries, Polish sausage/meat places, Lebanese tavernas, Spanish barbers, Romanian steakhouses, German beer gardens – I COULD GO ON AND ON.
            Seriously.

          • Dirty Harry was in San Francisco.

            But don’t let that stop you from coming here Susan, you’d love it, it’s the most fascinating place you’ll ever see.

            And the safest big city in America.

        • Sorry for not being more clear. I wasn’t saying that all of NYC is uncililized- just that there will be problems in the more uncivilized sections, which exist as they do in ALL large cities. It was actually a compliment, drawing a distinction between the overall behavior of New Orleans and that likely in NYC.

          I live outside of Atlanta, so I am DEFINITELY not looking down my nose at NYC! The “urban area” of Atlanta is a cesspool with essentially no redeeming qualities. 30 miles outside of town is a different story…..

    • I have lived through a lot of hurricanes, including Camille, who sat on our doorstep for three days. The bridges looked like piles of crumpled crackers. My cousin opened the door and blew sideways, like a kite, and then tumbled across the yard into oblivion’s blinding rain with the door chasing after him.

      Obama is taking advantage of an emergency. He doesn’t know what an emergency is, but he’s going to take advantage of it, hell or high water. No pun intended.

    • This is a combination of our childish media, which like children are always excited to think that they might be part of a historic event (see Obama’s election for a big example of this childishness). The other element is the politician who is going to be damned sure that another Katrina or even a Katrinaette will occur to blight a lifelong meal ticket as a poltician.

      Add in the ever ignorant MSM science press and you have this sort of carnival, which is just an unfortunate preparation for missing the boat when a real weather crisis comes along.

  7. “By returning with him, Mrs. Obama also avoided the disgraceful sight of her continuing to vacation while the storm raged and taking a separate, costly flight home at taxpayers’ expense.”

    Oh, how I wish I could have been there when some poor servitor told Queen Michelle Antoinette about the bad publicity her separate airplane habits have created and how this Maine vaycay early arrival in particular made people’s anger boil. I wish I could have been there to see the expensive shoes and gourmet food thrown against the walls in a fit, to hear the screams of, “But I”m the FLOTUS” and “Those peasants don’t even pay me a salary for all this sacrifice!” and to see everyone averting their eyes or cringing in horror.

    What I would not like to have to see is the glowering expression and awful manner in which MoochMORE prepared to return on the same airplane as the Prez. By taking a separate plane she can pretend that her role is not second fiddle to his and that she receives her goodies because of her own fabulousness. But that’s not the case and she’s just a politicians’s wife.