During the presidential campaign and since his election, Obama has shown himself to be a reflective and contemplative type. He is certainly not one prone to hasty judgments or reactionary behavior.
At many times during the campaign when he was called on to respond to a comment made by an opponent, he would either remain silent or address the issue in his own way, in his own time. No doubt that served him well.
Finding himself in the awkward position of not quite being the president but expected to act like the president during this transition period, it has been necessary for Obama to step in and speak out in order to reassure the public and markets about issues like the economy rather than leave a void that would otherwise have existed since George Bush has all but given up on providing any semblance of leadership.
But as the violence rages on in Gaza, one thing that is noticeable is President-elect Obama's silence. It may be, as it has been in the past, that he is carefully considering what his response should be. It may also be that his views differ radically from George Bush's and he doesn't want to put out contradictory statements. It may also be, as some opine, that he is condoning Israel's actions and will follow Bush's Middle Eastern policy, which is deeply unpopular in the Muslim world. To avoid the speculation, one wonders if he shouldn't, as he has done with the economy and as he did with the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, take the lead and issue a strong response.
I have written before about the dangers for Obama of taking ownership of current political situations before he is in office, but isn't it somewhat hypocritical for his team to assert that there is only one president at a time when he has already stepped in on other matters? What is the rationale behind picking and choosing which issues he will and won't respond to before January 20th?
One thing is for sure: in just over two weeks he will be unable to avoid saying something and the world will be looking to him and demanding to hear his opinion on the matter. It's possible that between now and then, a ceasefire will be in place and President-Elect Obama won't have to comment. However, this is a long term situation that is not going away anytime soon. Sooner rather than later, we will have to hear his views on the matter.
Obama is an intelligent man. I'm sure he could issue some kind of response to the situation without stepping on Bush's toes... I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes that he would.
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