“Fighting” Joe Biden finally came out swinging yesterday and condemned the mass murdering extremist group ISIS to hell. Presumably this was on behalf of the White House who, for some reason, feel that the President himself can’t be seen getting worked up on national television even if it’s in regards to an army of medieval butchers who’ve been filling up mass graves with men, women, and children in Iraq since the beginning of the Summer.
Appropriate emotion in leadership matters and while such outbursts can seem almost comical these days since we in the U.S. have become so used to passive aggressive politics and politicians who don’t actually seem to believe anything at all. But emotion, as I said, matters. Specifically, Biden’s show of emotion matters for Obama and the American people. Here’s 3 reasons why.
1. Obama Is A Ditherer
Just last week in a news conference, Obama stated that his intended policy was to “degrade and destroy” ISIS. Then he said he wanted to coordinate with the international community on the issue until ISIS was a manageable problem. That’s not exactly the same as “degrade and destroy.” That sounds more like putting up fences. Then, at the end of the press conference he said that the administration didn’t “have a strategy yet” in how to deal with ISIS in the long term.
This is dithering, and whether Obama has a concrete strategy or not the way he talked about ISIS inspired absolutely zero confidence in him. Joe Biden is many things but he is not a ditherer and everyone knows that. Send ISIS to hell? Yeah, the American people can understand that. They can get behind that even if they don’t want another ground war.
2. Obama Is Not Good At Speaking About Concrete Policies
Two Americans have been beheaded by ISIS in the last two weeks. Journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley were both captured while covering the Syrian Civil War and summarily executed on video as a warning to the West to stay out of ISIS’s way. This, while at the same time ISIS threatens Europe with invasion and forced conversion. These are not difficult things to speak emotionally about but some of what we got from the President instead was this.
“It’s not only that we’re going to be bringing to justice those who perpetrated this terrible crime against these two fine young men,” the president said. “The United States will continue to lead a regional and international effort against the kind of barbaric and ultimately empty vision” the group represents.
Not exactly visceral. Not exactly cathartic or uniting. Doesn’t make me feel like you’re pissed about two American journalists having their heads cut off in the middle of the desert by some 20-something who couldn’t hold down a job.
Obama has long had a problem in communicating concrete policies, even policies I agree with, in a way that people care about and can repeat to their friends. He and his handlers botched the Obamacare message and what resulted was even people on the Left having no idea what he was talking about anymore.
You know what’s easily understood and easily communicated? “Let’s send ISIS to hell!” No shades of gray there.
3. Our Elected Officials Are Supposed To Get Mad For Us
When we are wronged then we are frustrated and angry. Our representatives are supposed to be a release valve for that anger and frustration. They’re supposed to take that emotion and channel it into something, hopefully something good. In doing this they show that they understand us, the people who chose them to lead.
Every time Obama gives a measured response to a horrible event I want to jump off a bridge just to get away from the nonsense. I remain convinced to this day that the primary reason Republicans have gotten so much hay out of the Benghazi tragedy is because Obama was measured and “let’s just take it easy” about the whole affair out of fear of inflaming the situation. How does angrily condemning, even threatening, extremist murderers inflame anything for anyone that isn’t an extremist? It doesn’t really. But the alternative makes people think you don’t really care very much or that you don’t understand the situation.
Anyone here unclear on whether Joe Biden cares or understands the situation? Nope, no one is. But everyone is unsure whether Obama does and that’s his own fault.
4. Getting Mad Doesn’t Mean You Have To Do Stupid Things
A lot of people I know, smart people, good people, think that getting mad about something means that you’re then going to go off half-cocked and do something stupid. For many Americans, there’s a real belief that anger is always bad and that only mistakes and horror can come from it. That’s just not the case. Presidents used to get mad all the time and then do very smart things. Anger is just energy and mature individuals know how to get angry and then get a smart strategy that addresses the causes of that anger. That’s exactly what the American people want and expect from their leaders. They want someone who feels them on issues and then does something about it that’s good. No one who heard Biden speak yesterday actually thinks Biden is going to send anyone to hell. To take this sort of talk literally is idiocy.
Obama is more cerebral. Everyone in the world knows that about him by now. However, ‘cerebral’ doesn’t cut it in terms of rallying the American people on an issue. You have to make them feel it. Look, we’re inundated by information every day. If the President isn’t going to give the people something they can relate to then they aren’t going to listen and they’ll be right not to. Being a leader has to be earned every time you step out on an issue and after the people have consistently been made to feel like they aren’t understood then they aren’t going to listen anymore.
And that is why Biden gave this speech and not Obama. Despite all of the jokes about Biden being America’s redneck uncle, people listen to him. He gets your attention and that’s because he wants you to believe he understands you. He cares specifically about you believing that and once you believe it then you can rally behind it. The energy of anger and frustration is then ready to be focused into a smart and concrete policy that will further American interests in regards to ISIS and our allies in the region, those being slaughtered and fighting for their lives.
Why hasn’t Obama figured out that getting mad doesn’t mean dropping nukes when clearly Biden has? I have no idea but it’s galling as hell.