In times of crisis and tragedy, leadership means setting the right tone. Nowhere is this more true than the American presidency. A president must be firm but not incendiary, empathetic but not saccharine and above all able to convey the message that he is in charge and will control his emotions in the national interest. Mitt Romney had an opportunity to display such skills in response to the murderous attacks on our embassies, and carried himself well.
I am one of those optimists who believes Barack Obama may mean well. But a crisis in leadership always occurs when the president’s policy directives are perceived to be linked to the crisis. The incumbent president, like Jimmy Carter before him, suffers from the fatal delusion that the Middle East will respond to his idealistic visions. But that volatile region never does, and if the president had written less and read more during the formation of his political career, he would understand why the Founding Fathers never trusted mobs.