On Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama delivered an address to a joint-session of Congress in the hopes of strengthening public and legislative support for his health care reforms, but shrewd Republican Capitol Hill researchers note that the President’s carefully-crafted speech was missing one important element – namely, the troops.
While the president consciously rallied fleeting progressive support and attempted to dispel myths surrounding the legislation, he wholly neglected to mention military personnel, becoming the first wartime Commander-in-Chief to do so since former President Gerald Ford in 1974.
With public approval of the war effort in Afghanistan dipping, the case could be made—and with little difficulty—that the decision not to mention the troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere was a conscious, deliberate one.
Obama’s progressive base is rebelling, raucously in some instances, on everything from the public option to LGBT marriage equality. As it stands now, the President’s political house has been beaten and battered, and a commitment to the Afghanistan War just may be the big, bad wolf to come blow it all down. And this is not a risk the White House is willing to take.
The collapse of public resolve for the ongoing but unmentioned efforts in Afghanistan is symptomatic of the Administration’s timidity with fully committing to the war. Americans look to their President in times of war for leadership and guidance. Our President’s silence can mean only one thing, and it surely is not victory.