Obama appeared to be agitated and far less composed than his usual self, but some commentators interpreted this as a deliberate attempt to look panicky and over-reacting. It is understood that Obama wants to avoid looking level-headed and calm at a time when there is so much pressure on him to show impulsiveness and a ‘let’s go get ‘em’ attitude. But in some quarters Obama’s failure to wear a cowboy hat has been interpreted as a signal that ‘his heart isn’t in it’.
Obama defended the various arbitrary measures that he ordered in the aftermath of the bombs and challenged anyone to find any consistent logic behind them. “We have already suspended Miranda for certain individuals and we will follow up by suspending all the laws that have foreign and un-American names. We have initiated tougher visa requirements for anyone from a country whose name ends with –stan, and also for all men called Stan. We are clearly not being reasonable.”
“We practically imposed martial law in one of our largest cities for a few days, how about that for overreaction? We completely went over the top, yet some people insist that my administration’s response was adequate and measured. There’s no pleasing some people.” Obama’s bitterness and frustration with his opponent’s refusal to acknowledge his overreaction was clear, and he tried hard throughout his speech to overcome this image of a calm and balanced leader at a time of crisis.
But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham dismissed Obama’s comments and insisted that the administration has failed to over-react adequately. “We have an international image to maintain and this type of measured response does serious harm to this image. Our enemies will stop taking us seriously. President Bush would have been making plans to invade Armenia by now, Obama has to start acting faster and with less coherence.”
Graham was particularly incensed by Obama’s failure to introduce knee-jerk laws, thus squandering the traditional post-terrorist attack window for arbitrary legislation. “It’s easier to buy a lethal pressure cooker than a harmless recreational assault rifle in this country, that’s not right. The least we would expect is a comprehensive crackdown on pots, pans and sharp-edged spatulas.”
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was more scathing in her attack on Obama, signalling grassroots anger against the President. “Those terrorists are both connected to Russia AND Muslims. This is an unprecedented threat to the United States equivalent to the combined threat of the Cold War and al-Qaeda. This should be the mother of all terrorist scares, but Obama is failing to make the most of this opportunity. We don’t even have a picture of an evil-looking mastermind behind those attacks, it’s a complete disappointment.”
The White House issued a statement later rejecting the accusations by the Republicans and announced that it will be adding about fifty additional ‘vaguely Muslim-sounding first names’ to drone strike lists.
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