Is the President a French Ladyman?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 22 2011 8:19 AM

Is the President a French Ladyman?

John Dickerson wraps up and analyzes the lazy critiques of President Obama's Libya response: the French did it better (Pawlenty), he was led on by women (Lindsey Graham), he was too slow (John McCain).

Certain interventionists in the GOP may be unhappy about Obama's pace, but most Americans are not anxious for a protracted Libyan intervention. And there's no Republican challenger whose foreign policy credentials are so sterling that this moment provides a rationale for their candidacy.

And the cautious Obama is actually the one voters chose in the 2008 election—a president who would be deliberate, focused on international cooperation, slow to take military action, and wary of a longer commitment. Voters seem to sympathize. Republicans have attacked Obama regularly as weak, but voters give him his highest marks on handling foreign affairs and the war in Afghanistan when asked to rate him on his domestic and foreign policy performance. Republicans criticized his handling of the protests in Egypt, but the voters did not .

Advertisement

Yeah, this important point keeps getting lost. Washington does not want for very loud, erudite-as-hell voices for foreign policy intervention. But Americans aren't in a hurry to intervene unless -- this is important -- they are convinced by a serious information campaign that many lives will be lost if they don't. This has been the case since World War I (in terms of mass media leading to a public opinion shift), and the opinion on Libya is so one-sided right now because Qaddafi is still infamous here for his actions in the 1980s.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Naomi Klein Is Wrong

Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads

Television

See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 1:38 PM Mad About Modi
 Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.

  Business
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
  Life
Education
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 12:42 PM How to Save Broken Mayonnaise
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 11:55 AM The Justice Department Is Cracking Down on Sales of Spyware Used in Stalking
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.