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Being Presidential

We, along with the rest of the world, seem to have lost all understanding of what it is to be the President of the United States.

I noted with interest (and disgust) the news stories criticizing the U.S. government for lack of high-level representation at the impromptu march in Paris. It seems that there was some expectation that the U.S., on short notice, send the President, Vice-President or, perhaps Secretary of State. Ridiculous.

First of all, the charge is objectively false: there was high-level representation in the person of the U.S. Ambassador to France — the President’s personal representative. He was prominently visible and, after all, high-level representation in France is the ambassador’s raison d’être. So, let’s stop repeating the lie that the U.S. did not support this event appropriately.

Perhaps what bothers me most is the arrogant presumptuousness of the rest of the world. Sure, the President of France was there, but that’s not a proper comparison — being president of France is nothing like being president of the U.S. (and he didn’t have to travel). Using GDP as a measurement, being president of France is more like being governor of California in terms of responsibility. Similarly, in the context of criticizing the U.S. President, much was made of Prime Minister Netanyahu making the effort to attend. Again, his position is similar in scope and responsibility to being Mayor of New York City. In spite of this, it is really the ridiculous ignorance of reasonable security that I find most amazing. There is no emergency, foreign or domestic, that could ever justify placing the President of the United States in a short-notice, open-air event. Preposterous.

Regardless, of how we feel about the person holding office, we seem to have lost perspective and sense of the office.

 

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