Hugh Hewitt: Obama can't talk away these problems 

President Obama has never been in this situation before.

Professor Obama could expound and explain, then close his casebook and leave the University of Chicago law students to marvel at his eloquence.

State Sen. Obama could vote "present," and colleagues on both sides of the aisle could nod at each other and mark him down as shrewdly planning a political future four moves out.

Candidate Obama could wow 'em in Boston in 2004, and then go on to thump the substitute candidate Alan Keyes.

Sen. Obama, D-Ill., could barely show up for work, pass little, but start a long-shot campaign for the presidency that, mightily assisted by a Beltway journalism elite deeply admiring of words, rode a financial panic into the White House.

The first 18 months of his presidency were all talk as Nancy and Harry and Rahm handled the details of which friends to layer $900 billion upon. Health care "reform" was more talk among Democrats, with almost no immediate consequences until 2011 and most years beyond that. The show went on.

But unemployment didn't begin to abate, and voters did not begin to cheer Obamacare.

Then suddenly an oil platform explodes, Israel's enemies stage a provocation, the jobs don't arrive, the Iranians push ahead with their plans, and Obama finds himself pushed by events to decide hard things and do more than talk.

These unpleasant, unprofessorial moments have arrived before but were mostly avoided. When the mullahs were mowing down the pro-freedom Iranians last year, the president waited out all the calls for action.

When Gen. Stanley McChrystal requested a troop surge, the president delayed and delayed until approving a slimmed-down reinforcement was the only option left that could be checked without evoking laughter from the world and scorn from the home front.

The oil spilling into the Gulf won't yield to delay, though the Iranians are even more adept at talking than he is, Israel's enemies are demanding the opening of Gaza, and the widespread rejection of Obamacare shows no signs of abating.

Faced with challenges that demand action, the president is turning to words yet again, telling seniors last week that -- despite the voluminous record to the contrary -- their Medicare Advantage benefits will be fine.

Reality a political problem? Then the president will wish it away.

Those bland assurances won't survive his new law's first contact with the seniors he and the congressional Democrats have bled, of course, but his faith in his own smooth delivery is undiminished.

He is also assuring us and the world that a new set of U.N. sanctions is leaving the Iranians "isolated," which, while risible, permits him to tell at least himself that he is working on the dire prospect of Ahmadinejad with nukes. He is leaning on the Israelis to come up with something that allows him to proclaim progress on the Gaza front even though Hamas has not budged from its position on the need for Israel to vanish from the planet.

He will try and wait out both crises even as he tries to wait out the employment disaster that his economic "policy" has brought about.

The oil just keeps pouring out, though, indifferent to all rhetoric, and the stories accumulate that he and most of Team Obama have hopelessly fumbled the response. It is such a monumental failure that it has begun to put in focus all the other failures since January 2009, and if not to define, then certainly to underscore the growing recognition that the Oval Office is empty of leadership.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

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Hugh Hewitt


Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at

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