I’ll never forget fighting my way through the crowds on Inauguration Day 1993. Just as I was about to reach my parade-watching destination, an announcement over the loudspeakers: President Bill Clinton had been sworn in and was now the 42nd president of the United States.

“Can’t be,” I thought. “This guy isn’t the president.” But it didn’t take long for it to feel like Bill Clinton was indeed president.  Barbara Bush had had a similar reaction at an earlier inauguration. She said she suddenly was shocked to realize that “George” was president. But it didn’t take that long for it to sink in that George H. W. Bush was president. Later, George W. Bush was sworn in inauspiciously, after a hotly-contested election, with sharp shooters on the roofs of DC buildings. 

Despite a bad start, by Sept. 12, 2001, the frat boy had morphed into the president.  Like him or hate him, George W. Bush was unmistakably president of the United States.   

The other day Leslie Marshall, a liberal commentator on Fox, praised President Obama for sounding “presidential” in his remarks on the no-fly zone over Libya. Sounding presidential? Nice try, Leslie, honey, but he is the president. He has been the president for just about half a term. How could he not sound presidential? But he doesn’t, does he? Marshall’s lame remark was really an indication of how far short Barack Obama falls in the gravitas department.     

I think it was this year’s brackets that did it for me. Can’t Barack Obama get serious? Here (as quoted on the American Thinker) is the President of the United States talking to ESPN as he filled out his brackets:

One of the things I wanted to do on the show was, as people are filling out their brackets — this is obviously a national pastime; we all have a great time, it’s a great diversion.  But I know a lot of people are thinking how can they help the Japanese people during this time of need.  If you go to usaid.gov — usaid.gov — that will list all the nonprofits, the charities that are helping out there.  It would be wonderful for people to maybe offer a little help to the Japanese people at this time — as they’re filling out their brackets.  It’s not going to take a lot of time.  That’s usaid.gov.  It could be really helpful.


With modern communications, there is no reason the president can’t go to Brazil in the midst of a crisis of historic proportions in the Middle East. But doesn’t Barack Obama look sort of non-serious doing it? Doesn’t it just look like the president said, “Hey, we gotta take the kids somewhere for spring break?”

Obama hasn’t morphed into the leader of the free world because he is only a follower on the international stage. He wants it this way because he is not a believer in the power of a great good nation. He believes in international organizations, not the United States. He was said to be loaded with charisma, which is not the same as gravitas.

Canadian journalist Rex Murphy said it best:

This week, Obama announced he’s heading to, among other stops, Rio, where he will deliver a speech on Sunday. And despite some urging him otherwise, suggesting that a trip to Rio doesn’t fit the urgency of the time – what with Japan, Libya and Bahrain all being aflame in different ways – he’s stood firm. Brazil or bust.

Why not the obvious and serious foreign visit the times require? Why not a trip to Tokyo – a gesture of symbolic solidarity with an ally? Evidently, Rio needs him more.

It is ironic that this high celebrity of a president seems more comfortable with acting the celebrity role than being the president. There’s a vacancy at the top of the world. And his name is Obama.