The White House Says Being Decisive Is Overrated — They Didn’t Used To Think So

Not that long ago. posted on

Pool / Reuters

The White House says President Obama not being decisive on Syria isn’t a bad thing and one the American people appreciate.

“I would simply say that when it comes to being commander-in-chief, I think that the American people, at least in my assessment, appreciate a commander-in-chief who takes in new information and doesn’t celebrate decisiveness for the sake of decisiveness,” said White House Spokesman Jay Carney at the Thursday press briefing.

“And in this case, the president’s objectives are clear,” he continued. “And he believes that the American people would certainly support the proposition that if there’s a diplomatic opportunity here to remove from Assad’s control these chemical weapons stockpiles, that we ought to pursue it. And that’s what he is doing.”

The White House has, however, has been quite fond of boasting about taking decisive action in the past. A search of WhiteHouse.gov returns 218 results for the phrase “decisive action,” 29 results for “decisive steps,” and eight results for “decisive response.”

“We, of course, asked Congress to support a limited but decisive response to the use of chemical weapons,” Jay Carney said Tuesday to reporters of the case the Obama administration made to Congress over Syria.

“It does remind all of us that we need to take decisive action on the things that we can control. And one of those things we can do is take action on measures that can grow the economy and create jobs,” said Jay Carney on Nov. 28, 2011, of the economic crisis in Europe.

“As I said at the top, we were in severe dire straits economically in this country and globally when the president took office. And he took — working with partners in Congress as well as other stakeholders — decisive action to stem the bleeding, to prevent a Great Depression, to put us back on track towards economic growth, and to give the middle class some tools so that it could feel more secure as we emerged from the recession,” Carney said on July 22 of this year about President Obama’s action to avert the financial crisis.

“The administration promised and took decisive action, making considerable changes in travel and remittance policy for Cuban Americans as it relates to Cuba. If there’s going to be discussion about next steps, I think as the president said, the ball, so to speak, is probably in a different court,” said former White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs on April 17, 2009, of the Obama administration’s Cuba policy.

“The Obama Administration has taken decisive action in critical areas aimed at helping vulnerable Americans through the economic crisis and strengthening the economy,” says an October 2011 fact sheet on the economy.

“Because of the President’s leadership and decisive action, the American people will have a consumer watchdog fighting tooth and nail on their behalf,” wrote White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer in January of this year on President Obama’s appointment of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“The Obama Administration has partnered with tribal leaders and taken decisive action to support infrastructure and workforce development to drive economic growth,” wrote senior policy adviser for Native American affairs Kimberly Teehee in February 2012.

“The time for decisive action is now. The American Jobs Act provides law enforcement officers and other critical public safety officials with the support – and the resources – they desperately need,” wrote Attorney General Eric Holder on Sept. 9, 2011, of the need to pass the American Jobs Act.

“The Administration is taking bold, decisive steps to cut red tape and modernize processes,” says a White House report on flexibility for state and local governments.

“As we emerge from a historic economic recession, my administration has taken decisive action to accelerate growth and remove barriers for entrepreneurs and small business owners to grow, hire, and prosper,” said President Obama in a presidential proclamation for National Entrepreneurship Week in November 2010.

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