Don’t you people get it: If he doesn’t go golfing or doesn’t attend a baseball game, the terrorists win:
President Barack Obama’s decision to attend a Major League Baseball exhibition game in Cuba following terrorist attacks in Belgium that left more than 30 dead drew the scorn of Republican presidential contenders Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. But Obama said canceling his appearance is precisely what the terrorists responsible for the attack — most likely, the Islamic State — want.
Speaking to ESPN commentators during the top of the third inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team Tuesday, Obama said, “It’s always a challenge when you have a terrorist attack around the world, particular in the age of 24-hour news coverage.… The whole premise [of an attack] is to try to disrupt ordinary lives.”
Kasich called upon the President to return home…and do what exactly? This wasn’t an attack on American soil.
This reminds me of the (political) criticism leveled at Bush for sitting in the classroom reading The Pet Goat instead of flying from his chair to take decisive action; or when Bush was ridiculed for “telling” America to go shopping; or the terrorists win.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A lot of you remember the tragedy of 9/11 and where you were on that day.
And President Bush did some smart things at the outset, but one of the opportunities that was missed was, when he spoke to the American people, he said, “Go out and shop.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you know, bashing President Bush for everything is nothing new for Democrats, but going after how the president brought the country after 9/11 is something else. Even his harshest critics praised him for that at that time.
And, as for his message at the time, to just go shop, well, let’s go to the videotape and see what he really said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NOVEMBER 8, 2001)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This great nation will never be intimidated.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BUSH: People are going about their daily lives, working and shopping and playing, worshiping at churches and synagogues and mosques, going to movies, and to baseball games.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Steve Forbes says, President Bush’s message at the time was the right message for that national crisis and for today’s financial crisis.
Steve, it always bugs me when I hear it summed up, he was just telling us to go shop. That is not what he was saying. It was part of a larger thing he was saying about try to get on with your lives.
What do you think of the way it has been misconstrued since?
STEVE FORBES, PRESIDENT & CEO, FORBES INC.: Well, it is natural, in a political season, that they would just focus on a few words and leave everything out.
You could take Winston Churchill and make him look like a blithering, superficial idiot by taking some of his rhetorical, great speeches in the dark days of World War II, where he rallied the nation, rallied Western civilization, by picking out two or three words.
When you hear, as you did playing that tape, what President Bush was saying is, we have got to pick ourselves up, get about our lives, and show the world that these terrorists can’t cow us, that we’re going to move ahead, we will deal with them, and we will also move ahead with our lives.
It was an inspiring message at a time of a great crisis.
CAVUTO: And one of the things I remember, too, at the time — beg me if I’m wrong on this, but Barack Obama was talking about the sacrifice we needed to make at the time. I think we had lost 3,000 of our friends, colleagues and fellow Americans. We had sacrificed a great deal at that very moment.
FORBES: And he does specify what kind of further sacrifice he had in mind. Did he mean increasing the military? Well, he has been a foe of military buildups in the past.
Did he mean pointing more troops in Afghanistan? Well, he didn’t say that at the time. Did he mean going after Iran? I mean, he never specifies these things. But they always pick on — as you say, President Bush is a favorite target. He has done a lot of things wrong.
But, as you also pointed out, on that one, he got it right. We got back on our feet. We showed the world that we could not be cowed, we were not going to be knocked down, we were not going to be demoralized, and the world will rally to our leadership.
CAVUTO: You know, no one criticizes FDR’s suggestion in the middle of the Depression to go out to the stores and have a good time.
FORBES: Well, happy days are here again.
FORBES: People say, boy, what a great theme in a tough time. If George Bush did it, they would say, boy, this guy is really out of touch.
President Bush didn’t call on Americans to run up their credit card bills.
He encouraged them go on living their lives as they were used to doing. And he expressed concern about a nation and an economy paralyzed by fear of terrorists.
“I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy,” Bush said in an address to the nation on Sept. 20, 2001.
“Terrorists attacked a symbol of American prosperity. They did not touch its source. America is successful because of the hard work, and creativity, and enterprise of our people. These were the true strengths of our economy before September 11th, and they are our strengths today.”
Bush did not, at any point, use the word “shop” in that momentous speech.
Nor did he ask anyone to “go shopping” in a speech one week later.
“When [the terrorists] struck, they wanted to create an atmosphere of fear,” Bush said at a Sept. 27, 2001, speech at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. “And one of the great goals of this nation’s war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry.
“It’s to tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America’s great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.”
One of the only references Bush made to shopping at the time was on Nov. 8, 2001, when he said he had seen signs of a courageous people in the aftermath of the attacks.
“This great nation will never be intimidated. People are going about their daily lives, working and shopping and playing, worshiping at churches and synagogues and mosques, going to movies and to baseball games,” Bush said.
The word “shopping” also turns up one more time. On Sept. 17, 2001, Bush addressed the fear some Muslims had of a backlash.
“I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated,” Bush said.
“That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind. And they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.”
I don’t begrudge President Obama his baseball game. I mean, would you feel any safer were he in Washington to eat his hot dog and Cracker Jacks?
Way to show the terrorists, MR. President. Winning!