The Norman Transcript

Columns

October 20, 2013

No more leading from behind

WASHINGTON — Let us hear no more about President Obama leading from behind.

Since a White House adviser uttered that phrase to The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza in 2011 to describe Obama's leadership in Libya, "leading from behind" has become a favorite refrain of Republicans trying to portray Obama as weak.

Rep. Darrell Issa (California) detected "a policy of leading from behind, of indecision" in Syria. Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) said Obama's "strategy of leading from behind meant (Moammar) Gaddafi's weapons stockpiles went unsecured." Sen. Dan Coats (Indiana) said Obama's insistence on higher taxes was more evidence that "the president continues to lead from behind." Rep. Doc Hastings (Washington) even said "the American people have been waiting for the Obama administration to stop leading from behind" — and to hurry up approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

But the last use of the phrase I could find in the congressional record was on Oct. 2, at the start of the shutdown, when. Sen. John Barrasso (Wyoming) said Obama had been "once again attempting to lead from behind in a crisis."

They aren't saying that now.

Obama got out in front of the shutdown and debt-ceiling standoff. He took a firm position -- no negotiating -- and he made his case to the country vigorously and repeatedly. Republicans miscalculated, assuming Obama would once again give in. The result was the sort of decisive victory rarely seen in Washington skirmishes.

On Wednesday, Republicans surrendered. They opened the government and extended the debt limit with virtually no conditions. On Thursday, Obama rubbed their noses in it.

"You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election," Obama taunted them from the State Dining Room. "Push to change it, but don't break it. Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • First, do no harm — to your bank account

    After being sued by the Wall Street Journal, the government finally released its Medicare reimbursement data last week. It included the less-than-stunning revelation that 28 of the 100 doctors who received the largest payments in 2012 were ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Reading between the lines

    Reading is such an improbable idea — a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading — and ...

    April 15, 2014

  • CCFI tackling area’s child abuse problem

    Editor, The Transcript: To those of you who are reading this editorial, I assume you care or at least are entertained by the opinions of others. It is my hope and desire that when you read this editorial, you will care about the facts. ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Does Oklahoma need advice from Texas?

    Does Texas have a lock on “brilliant minds”? The names of Texans like Congressman Louie Gomert, Sen. Ted Cruz and that other guy ... I can’t think of his name ... oh yeah, Rick Perry come to mind very quickly. Add to that infamous list ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Why Comcast-Time Warner deal makes sense

    Say this about the deal announced Thursday for Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable: It’s big. Big price tag of $45 billion. Big combined subscriber base of 30 million households. And big risk of a veto from government antitrust regulators....

    April 12, 2014

  • Solid evidence within ice record

    In his November 10 Letter, Gary Reynolds misstated information in the October 27 op-ed by Catherine Hobbs, “New report says global warming is “unequivocal.” Mr. Reynolds incorrectly stated that Dr. Hobbs cited evidence from the 2007 UN ...

    April 12, 2014

  • Times two during April tax season

    Each April, it matters about which column the numbers fall into. Jerry’s first surgery for cataracts occurred in November and the other, December. “How’re you seeing now?” friends say....

    April 8, 2014

  • Soldiers home but not yet safe

    March ended with this uplifting news: For the first time in seven years, no U.S. soldiers died that month in combat. Not one....

    April 7, 2014

  • Fred Harris still sounds like a presidential candidate

    A tourist who happened to wander inside the Kerr Auditorium at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History Friday afternoon missed the introduction but caught the tail end of Fred Harris’ lecture....

    April 6, 2014

  • Latin inventors thrive — in U.S.

    If you think that Latin America is doomed to remain behind in science, technology and innovation — as one could conclude from the latest international rankings of patents of new inventions — you should meet Luis Von Ahn....

    April 1, 2014

Video
Facebook