Politico Tries To Cover For Obama’s Brazil Trip

Unfortunately, for The Politico and Obama, the attempt by Josh Gerstein to defend The Reluctant President’s South American trip falls flat, as he spends quite a bit of time at the beginning explaining why he should not go, which is what people will remember

Some 26 months into Barack Obama’s presidency, Latin America’s moment has finally arrived.

Obama is set to depart Friday night on a five-day trip to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador – his first journey in the Americas south of Mexico. But with the crises brewing elsewhere, few outside the region may notice.

Foreign travel has been seen as a political liability for Obama; and with this trip, the pattern is likely to continue.

The worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl is unfolding in Japan, the United States and its allies are crafting urgent plans for a Libya no-fly zone operation that could mean air raids on Tripoli within days, and at home, Republicans and Democrats are in a standoff over a budget for the federal government, which administration officials say is being hobbled by a series of stopgap funding measures.

But in Central and South America, folks have waited patiently for more than two years for a prestigious and high-profile visit of the American president, and Obama seems determined not to disappoint them – whatever the other distractions.

I’m thinking that, if Gerstein is attempting to defend Obama, calling all those domestic and world happenings “distractions” might not be the best way to accomplish that. People will wonder if that’s the way Obama feels, and, based on his actions the last two years, and more specifically, the past few weeks, those things might be considered distractions to Obama. Furthermore

Some presidents, such as Richard Nixon, were famous for cramming in all the foreign trips they could when things were not going well at home. Obama seems to make his domestic political situation worse with his trips – not because of the trips themselves but because of their timing.

Nixon comparisons are probably not the greatest, either, even though people know that Nixon accomplished things while on many of those trips. On Obama trips, we get: an iPod to the Queen with Obama’s greatest hits, losing the Olympics for Chicago, and blowing off the King of Norway during his Nobel trip. Then there is….well, has he actually accomplished anything on the world stage, other than pandering to the Muslim world?

Of course, it is important that US Presidents show the flag around the world, make no mistake about that, even as things happen here at home and in other parts of the world. Presidents certainly work just as well from Air Force 1 as at the White House. The difference with Obama is that he rarely seems to be engaged in what is going on in the first place. There’s always some other distraction, party, sporting event, or policy care that makes him appear, and rightly so, divorced from happenings. Then we get

As with other foreign trips Obama has taken recently, the White House is planning to hammer away at the message that his Latin American journey is a kind of trade-mission-on-steroids aimed almost entirely at creating jobs in the U.S. This theme is intended to guard against criticism that Obama is sightseeing overseas or being toasted at state dinners while unemployment at home remains high and many Americans are struggling economically.

Pushing the jobs meme will only play well with his liberal base, many of whom have never worked a day in their lives. He’s basically beat that meme to death, and few will buy it.

Can’t wait for all the pictures of Obama having fun and attending parties to be released.

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