I spent today at a medical education conference, reviewing and updating my knowledge base on low back pain, workman's compensation, and behavioral signs related to musculoskeletal issues. I know, sounds like a hoot. But as the opening salvo of lectures was ending the moderator called for questions from the audience, and one of the more well known attendees stepped up to the microphone.
He didn't ask a question, rather, he solemnly informed everyone in attendance, in case they were unaware, of the terrible events at Fort Hood of November 5th. He gave the tally as 13 dead, 38 wounded, and then asked for a moment of silence for those who lost their lives. The room fell fully silent. When he was much younger this physician had been a military doctor, and he obviously felt a strong bond, an affinity, for those in uniform and for what this meant.
The President also spoke yesterday about the shootings at Fort Hood. Compare, and contrast.
Obama's Frightening Insensitivity Following Shooting
The White House was notified immediately and by late afternoon, word went out that the president would speak about the incident prior to a previously scheduled appearance. At about 5 p.m., cable stations went to the president. The situation called for not only his trademark eloquence, but also grace and perspective.
But instead of a somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion, viewers saw a wildly disconnected and inappropriately light president making introductory remarks [video]. At the event, a Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian affairs, the president thanked various staffers and offered a "shout-out" to "Dr. Joe Medicine Crow -- that Congressional Medal of Honor winner." Three minutes in, the president spoke about the shooting, in measured and appropriate terms. Who is advising him?
Anyone at home aware of the major news story of the previous hours had to have been stunned. An incident like this requires a scrapping of the early light banter. The president should apologize for the tone of his remarks, explain what has happened, express sympathy for those slain and appeal for calm and patience until all the facts are in. That's the least that should occur.
The real question isn't who is advising him. Rather, I believe we should wonder why this man should need such advice.
11/7/09 1335: Oh, and the Congressional Medal Of Honor winner mentioned by the President? Not.
This is not a mistake the TOTUS would have made. ... Maybe next time he won't just wing it. And as Newsbusters notes, if Bush had been this inappropriate and poorly prepared we would have heard of nothing else.
Add it to the list.