Former member of the Reagan administration, Robert Morrison, shares this quote from Winston Churchill on the eve of his tenure as Prime Minister of Great Britain. At a perilous time in history, when Hitler was marching across Europe, Churchill projected confidence and courage:
"Thus, then, on the night of the 10th of May, at the outset of this mighty battle, I acquired the chief power in the State. ... During these last crowded days of the political crisis my pulse had not quickened at any moment. I took it all as it came. But .I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed at about 3 a.m. I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. Ten years in the political wilderness had freed me from ordinary party antagonisms. My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail. Therefore, although impatient for the morning, I slept soundly and had no need for cheering dreams. Facts are better than dreams."
Contrast that to President Obama's interview with Steve Kroft on CBS 60-Minutes while on last week's "We're not really going to spike the ball" tour:
KROFT: I want to go to the Situation Room. What was the mood?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Tense.
KROFT: People talking?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, but doing a lot of listening as well, 'cause we were able to monitor the situation in real time. Getting reports back from Bill McRaven, the head of our special forces operations, as well as Leon Panetta. And you know, there were big chunks of time in which all we were doin' was just waiting. And it was the longest 40 minutes of my life with the possible exception of when Sasha got meningitis when she was three months old, and I was waiting for the doctor to tell me that she was all right. It was a very tense situation.
KROFT: Were you nervous?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes
Morrison says Obama needs to stop with the personal emoting:
"But contrast Churchill's reaction to coming to power in those sternest of days with the president's reaction to his own finest hour. At a time when the whole world should applaud his order for the killing of Osama bin Laden, President Obama spoils the effect of this splendid victory in the war on terror by going on Sixty Minutes and emoting about how nervous he was. 'It was the longest 40 minutes of my life,' he confessed.
Mr. President, with all due respect, pipe down! Don't spill your guts on national TV. In leading us against the terrorists, it's your job to spill their guts. "
He goes on to share a personal vignette about President Reagan:
"I had the privilege of drafting a letter for President Reagan to Congress when I served in the federal Education Department. The topic was the teaching of phonics. My draft included this line: 'Unless we teach the rising generation using phonics, I fear that they will lack the building blocks of literacy.' I was proud of that draft and shared my joy with my friends over lunch that day.
When I returned from lunch, my draft letter was sitting on my desk. The line that included the phrase I fear that was circled in a lurid red. In the margin, was this scarlet note: This president has concerns. He has no fears.
A quarter of a century later, I still cherish that rebuke. I want my president to have concerns, but not fears. I don't want him to go on television and kvetch. I want my president to walk with destiny."Americans want their presidents to be presidential. This president and his administration continues to give us amateur hour.