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Why is Obama still in Hawaii?

President Obama wants us all to know he’s taking seriously the attempted terrorist attack of Christmas Day and that his administration is doing all it can to ensure our safety. But his words would be a lot more convincing if not delivered during time snatched between rounds of golf, swimming and sunbathing.

The president of the United States is never really on vacation. The responsibilities of the nation's highest office can’t be shed and, as the world’s most powerful leader, Obama can surely summon whatever resources he needs no matter his location. Nonetheless, there’s something unsettling about the president not wanting to interrupt his plans to deal with what appears to be the most serious threat to the nation’s safety since 9/11.

Part of the issue is symbolic. Returning to Washington would have sent the world a powerful message of a president willing to drop everything and roll up his sleeves -- someone who really means business. It also would have set an example for the federal officials and workers charged with carrying out our national security policy. I can’t imagine Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano initially being so sanguine about the system working if her boss had hotfooted it back to the Oval Office to personally check up on things. Work situations vary, sure, but in my experience there’s always a lot less pressure when the boss is away.

By staying in Hawaii, the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious, that things can proceed just fine until he’s back. And isn’t it that kind of reasoning that emboldens our never-vacationing enemies into thinking Christmas Day is the perfect time for them to strike?

By Jo-Ann Armao  | December 29, 2009; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Next: Are Republicans giving up on Massachusetts?


I agree.

This guy is all campaign.

No Performance.

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 29, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you expect the reader to take you seriously. Five will get you ten that Dubya played much more than Obama his first year. The Iraq War and Katrina didn't even interrupt his golfing, mountain biking, and faux "brush clearing" at his ranch. Have you considered writing political thrillers or comedy?

Posted by: soytaino | December 29, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Could it be he doesn't know what to do? Could it be that he's on the horns of a dilemma - do something strong and anger the left (and go against his own instints), or do nothing and anger America?

Well, he'll figure it out but given the track record it might take 4 months. W where are you when we need you?

Posted by: wjc1va | December 29, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I have no good words for Mr. Armao's comment so I won't say anything.

Posted by: dummy4peace | December 29, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Aramo, you are a jerk. What the hell is Obama supposed to do in DC that he cant do from Hawaii? You are just dreaming up stuff to write. Go get a real job. Worthless pseudo-journalist is not your forte.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | December 29, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Actually, if Obama had rushed back to DC, it would have sent the message that he was terrified by a guy who'd only succeeded in ensuring he couldn't procreate. The system broke down at some point, but nobody but the failed terrorist was injured. He can handle the situation from Hawaii.

Posted by: dkp01 | December 29, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

You make a valid point. Dubya was roundly criticized for similar choices. The President could easily return and let his family have the fun experience of commercial airline travel on their trip home later this week.

Posted by: wittyfromtheburbs | December 29, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

So, while you agree that Obama can do everything from Hawaii he can do from the WHite House, he should pay attention to the image and "hotfoot" it back to DC? Gee, and I thought everyone was complaining that the Obama Administration was nothing but image.

I guess there is no pleasing some people.

Posted by: jhherring | December 29, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense! This is not "the most serious threat to the nation's safety since 9/11." Airplane accidents will happen no matter how much we try to avoid them. There is no way on earth to insure perfect safety everywhere and all the time. This sort of hysterical article is what engenders overreactions of the sort we undertook after 9/11 and are still engaging in. Take a deep breath and put this into perspective will you?

Posted by: DOBRYDN | December 29, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I guess he needs a permission from stupid people like you.

Posted by: kevin1231 | December 29, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please. Are you looking for another Jimmy Carter type presidency? And I guess FDR should never have spent time at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel while there was a war going on.

Posted by: mxyzptlk1 | December 29, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

He's useless. Might as well stay there. Governing is not his thing.

Posted by: shewholives | December 29, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The man is on vacation! This event interfered with his vacation time. He should have spoken to the nation on Dec 24th....that is what a leader would do, re-assure the country.

Must have been in the way of the luau.

Finally, three days later he speaks. But, they were words, only words. You could tell he was not the speech took him away from his family vacation. What an Obamantion!

Posted by: theartbrifl785 | December 29, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Since Richard Reid attacked December 22, 2001, I would like to know where President Bush was for Christmas that year? Surely he stayed in town to protect us. You know he didn't. Why the double standard? You had no problem with W taking a month off every summer for 8 years. This guy isn't even allowed Christmas.
To be clear and fair, both these flights originated overseas and neither President could prevent them.

Posted by: Sharon1949 | December 29, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Please!? Return to the White House because some third rater couldn't set off a bomb on a plane? Because he evaded full security in another country?

Indeed, lets just go ahead and make this issue bigger than it is by overreacting.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | December 29, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, Hawaii was a state. Would Ms. Armao's panties be twisted if the president was vacationing at Camp David in Maryland? Get a grip. This is the 21st Century. The president can lead from any place on the planet.

Posted by: nashvillemykl | December 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Deterrence is in the eye of the enemy. Obama's VERY SHORT "update" 72 hours after the incident telling us things we already knew (although maybe it was news to him and thought he should share) sent the message that "this is no big deal." Terrorists are cheering his weakness and are no doubt gearing up for a return performance. Since he took the military option off the table, the US can count on being a continuous target for terrorists as there are no consequennces except some lackluster dribble speeches that mean nothing. Weak leaders like Obama are dangerous to the American public....heads up.

Posted by: powerange | December 29, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps he didn't drop everything and head to Washington because that would add more credence to this event and the idiots behind it than they deserve. Yes, this was serious, but at the end of the day the situation was averted and the criminal was held captive. We shouldn't call this 9/11 number 2, and we shouldn't let ourselves revert back to Bushianity over this. We will be fine. Yes, there was a big lapse in security at an airport that allowed this to happen, yes it should be fixed. Beyond that, what can we do? Relax and live.

Posted by: paperisthin | December 29, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I am going to ask because none of you "experts" responded. What exactly did W do when the Richard Reid incident occured?

Posted by: Sharon1949 | December 29, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, John, that's a helluva message to send to AQ or any other 2-bit terrorist group... if we can make the Pres drop what he's doing and run back to DC because of THIS..
If he had returned to DC the "image" would have been of a very frightened America; we're dealing with terrorists, so let's not validate their attempts to inflict fear, the terrorists ultimate goal.

Posted by: PeterPamZ | December 29, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey Sharon, Bush made us take off our shoes after the Reid incident. Since OBama is Bush III in so many ways, expect an underpants removal requirement soon. We can all enjoy watching Amateurs pretending to lead in the WHite House, but really they whine so much better than lead.

Posted by: powerange | December 29, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't anyone concerned that Sen. Demint is holding up the nomination of the new TSA head? Isn't that a glaring lack of seriousness about the threat of terrorism and it is all for political gain?

According to the rabid right Pres. Obama can do nothing right so he might as well do it any way he sees fit. And staying on vacation is one of them.

Posted by: AverageJane | December 29, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I have never heard of Jo-Ann Armao before and I am not surprised to learn that she is on the staff of the editorial pages, because the Washington Post's editorial pages are the worst of the major newspapers and are clearly infected by a Fred Hiatt-inspired pettiness. This column is petty and pointless. Nobody could take such remarks seriously. So why did the WaPo print it?

Posted by: gposner | December 29, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA and Napolitano have already agreed that they are not playing the "politics of fear." They've agreed to call these 'man caused' tragedies; and despite AlQueda's claims, they consider him to be a 'lone wolf.' So, why should HE interrupt his vacation? Criminal activity can be dealt with by the flying public and police and lawyers. OBAMA is in Hawaii' because he defies the "war on terror" he insistance on going to the gym and playing golf says, "what war on terror?"

Posted by: iphony | December 29, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the most ignorant articles I have read in years. How many similar articles did Ms. Armao post during the vacation-ladened Bush administration? Seriously, do you really think the president is taking this issue less seriously because of his geographical location. This old crap is boring and useless. we have serious problems that require serious thinkers. This does not qualify.

Posted by: eddie111 | December 29, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

actually the post ran an article not to long ago reporting that Pres. Obama played more rounds of golf in his first 11 months than Pres. Bush played in 8 years.

Posted by: sclarkbyrdparkcourt | December 29, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

He should use the incident as excuse to bomb the Republican Party's national headquarters.

Posted by: AverageJane | December 29, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

During Katrina, Rahm Emanuel, then a Democratic congressman, criticized Mr. Bush for not cutting his vacation short to return to Washington sooner. “He has to get off his mountain bike and back to work,” Mr. Emanuel said then.
Four years later, Mr. Emanuel is White House chief of staff for Mr. Obama, whose aides are making the same argument that Mr. Bush’s aides did during Katrina — that he is president no matter where he is and that he has been active behind closed doors, conferring with advisers and ordering action.

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | December 29, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Would it have killed him to put a tie on?

Posted by: wewintheylose | December 29, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

He is still in Hawaii, because he knows that American's are nothing but a bunch of scared, whiney, piss arses.

Especially, all of those on the Right.

Last time I checked, no one died when the terrorist caught his underwear on fire.

Can you hear them screaming above all of the noise, "The Terrorist are Coming!, The Terrorist are Coming".

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 29, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Armao, I suppose you'd like to see Obama security screening and checking baggage himself, for flights originating in a foreign country, no less. Just what exactly could he be doing in Washington that he couldn't accomplish in Hawaii. You make it sound like he's on the moon. Yikes, the terrorists are clearly winning the battle now.

And, well thought out jjcrocket2... excellent work, you've just compared a single 23 yr old man's failed attempt to bring down a plane with explosive Fruit of the Looms to the worst natural disaster in US history. Proud of you.

Posted by: j2Xe | December 29, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Sounds kinda like the John McCain approach to governing: drop everything and run back to Washington. The President has the full federal workforce at his disposal for this and other disasters that come his way. What more can he do while the FBI, CIA and other agencies investigate the issue to get more facts out there? Come back for symbolic reasons? Isn't that what we got out of Bush over the last 8 years and yet look at the mess he and the Republicans left us in? He should stay on vacation. You guys need to become conditioned to the fact that terrorists are always looking for ways to poke holes in our security blanket. Get over it and grow a spine.

Posted by: ATLGuy | December 29, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

When I first read this, I though, wow, just who is this Armao dude? Then I went to read some of his previous articles, one of the recent ones he was whining about how TSA unwrapped his mom's Christmas presents. Makes me realize he's just another conservative guy trying to impress his buddies.

Posted by: mike8 | December 29, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

It never ceases to amaze me how someone could actually be so totally vapid with their opinions. I have one question for you Armao. "Do you eat with that mouth??"

Posted by: billm32 | December 29, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

When the head of Homeland Security repeatedly demonstrates an inability to manage, as well as a peculiar ignorance of either mundane or critical facts, does she get sidelined? Not in this Administration.

How can someone this incompetent retain her job, and why has the task become so unimportant?

Posted by: JamesRaider | December 29, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I strongly disagree with you on this, Jo-Ann. A rush trip back to DC by President Obama would create an unwarranted sense of panic among Americans. And we're already too panic-prone as it is, particularly when we do not have all the facts in front of us.

Posted by: DRFJR | December 29, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

1. This White House is demonstrating a significant tone deafness that was not apparent on the campaign.
2. Bush gave up golf after 9/11 as he did not wish to give the impression that he was spending extended time in a leisure sport with the nation at war.
3. A return to Washington that is not rushed would be appropriate - this guy did after all smuggle a bomb onto an airplane. Arriving 3 days or so following the event to be briefed in person by those performing the investigation and evaluation would send the right message to the staff and to the public.
4. No you cannot substitute video feeds with in-person interactions.

Posted by: Lonald | December 29, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I hope you don't actually get paid to write this nonsense.

Posted by: patrick10 | December 29, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Hummm - comparing this to 9/11? when W was reading "My Pet Goat" (upside down) just very silly...Your article is misguided ...find another job.

Posted by: sgoetz1 | December 29, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Really folks this Obama in Hawaii stuff is BS. The President of the United States has all the resources he needs wherever he is in the world. That said Janet Napolitano should be fired. The stupidity, make that repeated stupidity of her comments show her lack of ability in understanding what happened and what her job is. It is one thing for Obama protecting his Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers (who should have also been canned or at the very least admonished) but it is quite another thing to let the Homeland Security Secretary be an idiot and openly look like one. I agree with the post by DRFJR, if Obama had rushed back he would have made it more than it is. But he should fire Napolitano for incompetence. Or if she had any brains, which is now questionable, she should offer her resignation and he should accept it.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | December 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The aim of terrorism is to instill terror and fear on the public.

If the President of the United States had dropped everything and hotfooted it to the White House to deal with a failed terrorist attack, that would have sent a very strong message that it is easy to intimidate, scare, and terrorize the American people. With a failed attack, no less!

The goal of the terrorists would have been accomplished with a FAILED ATTACK. That would have been embarrassing.

The Brits had the best reaction to a terrorist attack: deal with it and very quickly move on with their daily lives.

Posted by: scadolph | December 29, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

We're better off with him over there, trust me. In fact, I hope he stays there for 3 more years..

Posted by: wewintheylose | December 29, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ms Armao, thanks for another petty, partisan, absurd dig at Pres Obama. It's people like you who give me hope that the midterms might not be so terrible after all.

Posted by: rfitz_511 | December 29, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

obama is no leader

Posted by: factsmatter1 | December 29, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Just seems like Pro-Republican rant to me.

Posted by: vemi007 | December 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

What gibberish..would you have felt safer if he showed up and started inspecting passengers? Just another dumb media article in a blizzard of dumb media articles. This is not like Bush and the shoe bomber, or the Bush Administrations response to almost any whisper of terrorist events--thankfully. There we had a rush to the microphones, breathless claims that proved wildly inaccurate, bold and theatrical dumb statements, and hype--AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHh BE AFFFRRRRAAIIIIDDDD!!!!!
Enjoy the time in Hawaii, Barack, the Republican spin machine is gearing up once again to spew verbal diarrhea everywhere..

Posted by: bklyndan22 | December 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I absolutely agree. If he had been in Texas wearing a cowboy hat and boots we would all feel soooooo much safer...

Posted by: swazendo | December 29, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The intellectual level of the anti-Obamites is amazing...why would being in Washington mean anything? The president leads from wherever he is...every day, every moment...I think the bombs being dropped from predators says alot more to terrorists...more than showing up in Washington to wring hands and make statements...Gheez! Ever heard speak softly and carry a big stick...or would the writer rather we all stop being free, hole up in our homes and quit living free lives.

Posted by: gprudich | December 29, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

OBama has ticked off Micheal Moore'

I might actually go see his next film.

Jakarta Prince: Bombing his way to Nobel Peace

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Shhh! Everybody pipe down! We are all in danger of applying the same standards to Obama that we applied to (gulp) Bush. Sure, we used to climb all over Bush for occasionally "retreating" to his "secluded" ranch in the middle of one of the biggest states in the Union. But that is totally different from Obama disappearing for days at a time in a remote island halfway across the Pacific Ocean, at the same time as our country endures terrorist attacks. No one who isn't a Reich Wing ZioNazi would argue with that.

By the same token, we rightfully smashed Bush for his stupid "staying the course" on programs, while lauding Obama for "keeping his cool" by taking 4 months to make a decision about Afghanistan -- in which he ended up copying Bush's course.

Also, Obama went to Harvard, while Bush went to Harvaraphdsph*cough*.

For these reasons, among others, it is important to make sure we continue to treat Obama with the kiddie gloves he so richly deserves. Just like the Nobel Prize Committee, if we don't encourage him now, there's no telling how badly he could fuc- er, not enact the vaguely defined and subjective "Change" he puts out with a firehose.

As Homeland Security says, "the system works." I suggest we stick with it.

Posted by: zippyspeed | December 29, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Good lord. So you want the President of the United States to drop everything, fly half-way around the world and for what? To address an incident of failed terrorism? Come on, talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory! You are suggesting that the President validate this failed incident, and give Al Qeada something to REALLY crow about, by doing just what the RWNs out there scream he should do. Run around like his hair is on fire. Talk about giving Osama a late Christmas gift.

Posted by: Observer001 | December 29, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

So the President can handle this from Hawaii, but he should come back to D.C. to make you feel safer? I have some questions for you: (1) Where was your outrage when Bush spent 30% + of his time in Crawford, Texas? (2) Where is your outrage that the TSA has no full time administrator because Sen. DeMint,for political reasons, is blocking the appointment? (3) Where is your outrage that Cheney released the head of Al Qaeda in Yemen from Guantanamo to a Saudi crayon rehab program? and, (4) Followed to its logical conclusion, your argument for increased airline safety will require you in the future to fly NUDE?

Posted by: BBear1 | December 29, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

What is Obozo doing in Hawaii on the taxpayer's dime anyway? He has a perfectly good vacation place at Camp David.

Posted by: bnichols6 | December 29, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Chastise our president for not leaving his family and flying back to Washington as a symbolic gesture in the wake of a failed terror attack? What is wrong with you, Jo-Ann?

Posted by: zakany | December 29, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I will "Me Too" posters BBear1 and Observer001 and thank them for their intelligent comments. Seriously, when did it become an American virtue to act like a coward every time some idiot tries to harm us? Why don't you spend your time looking up the names of Republicans who voted against the Homeland Security appropriations bill and are now screeching about terrorism. Republicans: whiners, not doers.

Posted by: greyK | December 29, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Read Bruce Schneier's article today about Security Theater and repent. Obama sent exactly the right message: that a Loser with a capital L who failed to blow himself up isn't worth interrupting the President's vacation. Not invulnerable but indomitable.

Posted by: Bill64738 | December 29, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama's going on vacation will embolden our enemies? Why does the Washington Post run this crap?

Posted by: Linebacker1 | December 29, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, wing nuts are happy when their country loses the olympics, they are unhappy when their president wins a nobel prize, they attack their own government when a terrorist comes close to blowing up a plane. Well, it is clear what side they are on

Posted by: orange3 | December 29, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

The President is the President wherever he happens to be and that certainly doesn't have to be in Washington; as if he wasn't in permanent contact with his staff wherever he happens to be. This is not a 8 to 5 position where you have to clock in and sit at a desk to actually be working. If he had dropped everything, would you have said that he was panicking and dropping everything like McCain did by suspending his campaign to address the economy?! This is ridiculous.

Posted by: LisaWhite1 | December 29, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see so many people resisting the partisan attacks on the president. First of all, he has accomplished enormously valuable things in his first year in office, and has worked hard doing it. (Contrast this to his predecessor's many vacations.) the FIrst Family deserves this vacation, and Mr. Obama will be that much sharper for having had it.

Second, the president can do from Hawaii as much as can in Washington when it comes to this particular issue. He has his people working on it and will return to their reports. He will then take appropriate action.

We are living in an age of nonsense. It is so nice to see some commentators who express some sensible, calm opinions.

Posted by: j24w | December 29, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama's going on vacation will embolden our enemies? Why does the Washington Post run this garbage?

Posted by: Linebacker1 | December 29, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

If Mr. Obama had a permanent TSA chief, he'd have an easier job of it. That could have happened if not for Republicant Senator DeMint who has bottled up the nomination after two committees passed it to the full Senate. (DeMint is concerned that TSA might unionize...and this candidate thinks that it would be a good idea...but Republicants like DeMint put ideology above our country...but what was I thinking???)

But it sure looks easier to blame Obama. Oh, and doesn't anyone remember that Shrub stopped off in Arizona as Katrina left its deadly effects on New Orleans? He gave John McCain a birthday cake!!! And then there was "watch this shot" after Bush's press meet after 9/11. It goes on... hypocrites!

I'm sure that Mr. Obama, who is probably better aware of what's going on than Shrub ever was, issued the right orders to try to fix things. Then again, if he only had a permanent TSA administrator...

Posted by: BobfromLI | December 29, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see how the failed suicide of one Nigerian man constitutes an existential threat to America's security. Had this been an actual attack, organized and coordinated to some minimal degree of effectiveness, I might be more concerned.

Relax, Mr President, and come back in January, we have a lot for you to help us with.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | December 29, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Really? This is posted in 'postpartisan'? WTF? Just what is the Prez supposed to do in D.C. that he can't do in Hawaii? And there is simply NO WAY a single person can work 24/7 for 4 years straight. This is the stupidest column I've read lately.

Posted by: Mego1 | December 29, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

As I recall, Dubya was dubbed the 'vacation president'. Partied during Katrina. Sorry, Obama has worked harder in one year than Bush in 8. There was no reason for Obama to return to Washington. Either way, Repukes politicize whatever he does. But if they're now so concerned about Homeland Security, explain why 108 Repukes (including 'you lie' rep Joe Wilson) recently voted against the 2010 appropriation bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which included more than $4 billion for "screening operations," including $1.1 billion in funding for explosives detection systems, and $778 million for buying and installing the systems. Anyone? I thought so. Too much government spending, too much government spending, they said. Maybe now they'll change their minds. What is apparent is that Conservatives put Party first every time. They'd rather see Obama fail than Americans safer. They don't care about America one bit.

Posted by: muslit | December 29, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

This reads like Faux News. I think the WP has beeen infiltrated by the Republican's flag waving, color coding, terror squad.
Republcan hags can't spoil my holiday plans.

Posted by: hhkeller | December 29, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The last President was on vacation quite often, including during the Iraq War. Did you complain then? And yet, you say that when an incident occurs, he has to be in DC???? The STUPIDITY of this column is beyond compare. Your comments are dumber than anything Palin ever said!! And the folks who agree with you are syncophants who follow their bloggers anywhere, as long as it is negative. The Post should be ashamed for printing this simplistic tripe!!!! Idiot!

Posted by: alamo2 | December 29, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

fr j24w:

>...First of all, he has accomplished enormously valuable things in his first year in office, and has worked hard doing it. (Contrast this to his predecessor's many vacations.) the FIrst Family deserves this vacation, and Mr. Obama will be that much sharper for having had it....<

You are entirely correct. PRESIDENT Obama is doing a far better job than his predecessor, dumbya, and it shows.

Posted by: Alex511 | December 29, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't he personally screening baggage and patting down every mans junk who is trying to enter the US with a last name that sounds.. Islamic?
This isn't change we can believe in from our Islamo-Fascits/Marxist/Maoist/Socialist/Kenyan/Voodoo Witch Doctor/Teleprompter President Jimmy Carter Jr!
Also, he turned me into a newt!
He's just pure evil,
Oh, and we're all going to die
It's the end of America!
It IS! It IS! It IS! It IS!
Glenn Beck said so!
Or maybe that was Jeff Beck...
What's wrong with his eyes, BTW...he looks like a buzz cut version of Michelle Bachmann...why do all the good guys have crazy eyes...No! No!, I'm not going to think about...this is

Posted by: dijetlo | December 29, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please, wise one. Please tell me just what you think President Obama could be doing in Washington? Screening passengers?

Give me a break!

Posted by: repmisc | December 29, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Jeez. Others have said it better. What a silly, pointless opinion piece.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 29, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Hawaii is part of America, you know. It's been a state for 50 years. He hasn't left the country.

Bush stayed on his ranch a couple years of his Presidency. He was there while American forces were in action in Fallujah, while hostages were held, beheaded, etc. He was frequently there during events in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | December 29, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

What is Obozo doing in Hawaii on the taxpayer's dime anyway? He has a perfectly good vacation place at Camp David.

Posted by: bnichols6

Obozo! How droll! How witty! How erudite! How juvenile! Seriously, what did Bush do at Crawford and Kennebunkport?

He was born in Hawaii, genius. Most people like to go home on vacation.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 29, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Real journalists everywhere should be circling the wagons and pointing their spears outward, preventing Armao's attempts to join their ranks. I'm with eddie111 - this is a piece of uninformed twaddle. As many have pointed out, Bush spent more time on vacation than he did doing anything else, and was reluctant to interrupt his reading of "The Pet Goat" to take the reins following the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

A nice example of lower-cheek kissing in favour of Republicans who are trying to turn this into a big issue, but certainly a lame effort in every other respect.

Posted by: marknesop | December 29, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Please just take your roll of Duct Tape and plastic sheeting and crawl back under your bed, your input on this or any other matter is no longer needed.

Posted by: notthatdum | December 29, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I think we already decided that he cannot respond or think on his feet and needs time to collect himself. it however makes him look afraid on a gut level.

Posted by: JohnAdams1 | December 29, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

hawaii, which has one of the most sophisticated military installations in the world and, in case you were not aware of it, is still in the united states, means that with the technology available to him the president does not have to be sitting at his desk to handle this issue. the lack of understanding exhibited by these so called opinion writers is a good example of the opinion/belly button theory of significance, just because you have one does not make you special.

Posted by: fred17 | December 29, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is just another George Bush out on the green.

No change.

Posted by: mgd1 | December 29, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: cschotta1 | December 29, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

i bet my fortune that everyone proposing that obama keep sunbathing is a liberal and so is everyone who says bush took vacations to, liberals who werent on that flight of course because liberalism cant weather reality it only works in film and imagination

Posted by: harbinger317 | December 29, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Oops! I must have stumbled into the Fox "news" site by mistake.

Posted by: davemarks | December 29, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I love seeing the left try to defend the boy king. Unfortuantly their main defense is "Bush did it too".

Posted by: wmpok | December 29, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

How long before Obama's friends at the ACLU are defending this guy and giving him American rights? And all on taxpayer expense!!

See folk, voting democRAT does have consequences!!

Posted by: cschotta1 | December 29, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"Obozo! How droll! How witty! How erudite! How juvenile! Seriously, what did Bush do at Crawford and Kennebunkport?

He was born in Hawaii, genius. Most people like to go home on vacation"

Posted by: arancia12 | December 29, 2009 6:24 PM

Well first off the evil Bush's actually owned their property unlike Obama

Second I wish he would prove he was born in Hawaii...

Posted by: wmpok | December 29, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Aramao:

Which planet are you living on? Dubya was always on vaccation and the mess in national security, economy, and international relations that he created in 8 years, we will be paying with our taxes, jobs and international repute for years to come. Seems that you are one of those whining conservatives who have nothing else to say about the "State of our Nation" left by Dubya but try to create nonsensical editorials.

Posted by: nirjay | December 29, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

The only time G.W. Bush cut short his own vacation was the night he flew back to Washington from Crawford to make sure Terry Shiavo got a chance to live.
That sure was a national emergency, wasn't it. With 8 years in office, Bush was on vacation for 2 of them.
For ANY President to come rushing home from vacation, post-crises, sends a message to the people that they, too, must be in a panic.
The urgency with which Bush rushed back to Washington was purely a domestic political concern, done for domestic political reasons.
We, the people, and the President as well, have MANY capable people working of this latest security scare.

Posted by: cms1 | December 29, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

God must love the idiots who post on The Post's website. There are so many of them.

Just what is it that Obama can do about terrorism, this world-shaking crisis that has all America in a panic, that he can't do from Hawaii? Shut down all flights? Mobilize the National Guard? Invade a Muslim country? (Those are the things Bush did.)

If terrorists managed to kill a hundred Americans every day, that would be no worse than the number who already die in highway accidents. Who loses sleep over highway deaths? Right now, most Americans probably feel safer in their cars than in an airliner.


Posted by: donnolo | December 29, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

i began voting for republicans in 1968 with nixon. since around 2002 the party leaders have gotten fairly weird and i could not bring myself to vote for bush2. i voted for mccain in the primary but when he picked palin that was the end. at this point the GOP message is about nothing but beating the other side even if it hurts the country. so enough already, either be constructive or get out of the way and let the democrats govern. they may not be right all the time but at least they are trying. and if there is one thing i learned in the Marine Corps its to salute the leader and do your best to bring home the mission.

Posted by: fred17 | December 29, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I would say President Obama is still in Hawaii because the holiday is not over yet.

There's no satisfying the wacko right wing Republican psycho nut cases.

If President Obama were to run home, they'd call him an alarmist (and so would any would-be terrorists), and if he stays, he's complacent.

Geez, you can't imagine how tiring it is to hear these constant complainers who actually have nothing to complain about.

If the GOP were in power, we'd still be in a full blown war.

Get real people!

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 29, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

The "War on Terrorism" continues, while the Messiah "dithers" in Hawaii.

Barack Hussein Obama-"IN WAY OVER HIS HEAD"

Posted by: cschotta1 | December 29, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

If Obama came home all of America's security problems would be solved. Thanks for pointing this out.

Posted by: 4AbetterAmerica | December 29, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I expected Limbaugh or Beck or even O'Reilly to ask such a stupid question, but not someone at the Washington Post. Flash Alert! The president does not micromanage every threat or hostile action. If he was supposed to, he would never leave DC or the White House or even sleep. There are professionals who attend to the day-to-day details of threat assessment and response. Furthermore, we have telephones, real-time tele-conferences, situation rooms at away locations, etc. So, if we consider George Bush in 8 years of orange and higher alert levels from 9/11 on, 2 simultaneous hot wars and provocation of the "Axis of Evil", all while spending more away time than any president ever. He spent more time in Crawford, Texas clearing brush than he did "Presidenting", but he had Dick Cheney. That is why we now have a nuclear armed North Korea, a scorned and now nuclear seeking Iran, and no Osama. Also, we haven't "Mission Accomplished" Iraq or Afghanistan, thanks again to Bush. And don't even get me started on the shambles of an economy the GOP wonderkids left for Obama to try to save.

Posted by: wilsonjmichael | December 29, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Stupid partisan attack. If there were legions of soldiers streaming across our borders in tanks, yes. An airline attack by a lone guy? Not worthy of running back. You know what? If he did run back and held a meeting or two with his team, you know what you'd say? That he was grandstanding. Partisans are dumb.

Posted by: steveboyington | December 29, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Creating a sense of "panic" by rushing back to the White House? Yeah, like being Captain Obvious (after Napolitano's abysmal CYA comments) and saying the system had a "catastrophic failure" doesn't make us already a bit more uneasy about the ability of our government to keep us safe.

Maybe we should just make sure there's a Dutch guy on every flight who's willing and able to leap over seats and grab the guy trying to blow up the plane.

Oh, and at some point in the future, maybe a critical comment about Obama will not result in the chants about Dubya, Bush, and so on. There's nothing more pathetic than trying to make excuses for your guy by pointing to the guy you hate. Maybe we can make the one-year mark for Obama's presidency as the Official Expiration Date for Bringing Up Bush to Make Obama Look Better. We could even work out a negotiation where Obama defenders could gradually be weaned off mentioning Fox/Faux News when they read something they don't like in the Wapo.

Posted by: missyb1 | December 29, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

You know what makes me laugh the hardest? People comparing the decimation of a city and horrible relief effort to a goober NOT injuring anyone in a plane. Sure, they are equal. I am waiting for 200,000 people to be evacuated from the Detroit metro area after living in squalid conditions for a week or so. Partisans are dumb. Another thought: In 2008, over 11,000 people were killed in America when people worked themselves into a trancelike state then strapped on a ton of weapon and killed innocent people with no warning. They were drunk drivers. I wonder how many billion dollars went to security measures on THAT.

Posted by: steveboyington | December 29, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann, you're absolutely right. The reality is that Obama really doesn't love America and, as such, doesn't give a crap. We know his wife doesn't love America.

Anyways... I have this morbid feeling that when we ARE struck by terrorists again on Big O's watch, he won't have one sleepless night and his Administration will have no clue how to react.

Posted by: rpcv84 | December 29, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Mild criticism of the worst President in history by the Post.

Every so often, the Washington Post pretends it is a real newspaper.

Posted by: drsodaro | December 29, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

DICK Cheney will save us.

Posted by: hhkeller | December 29, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I, too, hope you don't actually get paid to write this nonsense. I only read this because I couldn't believe it was actually printed!

Posted by: paris1969 | December 29, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Obama's going to clean up the War on Terror like he cleaned up crime in Chicago!!

Posted by: cschotta1 | December 29, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

"By staying in Hawaii, the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious"

Absolutely, because it wasn't all that serious; not even a fraction of being even close to 9/11.

80g of PETN in a plastic bag and no real detonator cannot knock an airplane out of the sky.

Posted by: pikaart | December 29, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Gee George W Bush took more than 400 days of vacation over the years and our economy took a big dive, we have a housing crisis and are in two wars.

Where was Armao then? Oh yeah, praising W's reign of error!

Good work keep up the teabagging!

Keep inciting the whack jobs and birthers, and keep your foolish commentray to yourself!

Posted by: Badger21 | December 29, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

This Armao must have been dragged in off the street because there is no evidence of Journalism 101 coming his keyboard. To whine about our President not rushing back to "America" to save us all from a failed terrorist-wannabee, is something even a third grader would pass over. Armao must be someone's unsuccessful nephew who demanded a job at Wapo, at least it looks like a nephew. Grow up stupid, you're bringing Wapo farther down then it already is.

Posted by: papafritz571 | December 29, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with most if not all.
The incident was, in fact, a failed attempt to commit an ACT OF WAR. We should be doing an aggressive response like bombing the terrorist in YEMEN.
No, we're reading him his rights.
How pathetic!!!

Posted by: treefull | December 29, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

To the editorial board of the Washington Post:
While I admire your attempt to balance the reportage and political positioning of your editorial staff, I chafe at your going beyond the bounds of civility and polity by admitting rabble-rousers the ilk of Armao and Matalin. Your underwriting their extremism credentials them in a way Fox never could. I know it sells papers, but don't you have higher goals? The Fourth Estate has that special constitutional standing, and therefore, noblesse oblige, it must stand for something and forsake profits at all costs.

Posted by: johnmcmullen2 | December 29, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this is the single stupidiest piece I've read in the Post, but it's right up there in my top 5 list. Since something is always going on that requires the presidents monitoring and/or input your logic dictates he spends 24/7/365/4 behind his desk. Since we all know (or at least most of us do) the president travels on business and pleasure with a complete entrouage of communications equipment and adivsors he's never really out of touch to start with. So now you are left with an appearance argument. Are you out of your mind? No need to answer this question. Let's drop everything and fly him back on Air Force One. Cost: minimum $500K. Then let's send Air Force One back out to Hawaii in a week to pick up his family and those left behind. Cost: a little cheaper, but another $500K. OK, now we've spent a million dollars of our tax money and for what? So you can feel better? Exactly, what is the President going to do in Washington over this issue he can't do in Hawaii? That's right, absolutely nothing. So now we're down to the point where you want to blow a million dollars for nothing? Yup, this one makes my top list of dumb pieces in the Post.

Posted by: boblund1 | December 29, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty obvious. Listening to all of the fair and balanced reviews of Mr. Obama's actions on just about everything he and his administration has done...from the sorry state of the economy (which is of course all his doing) to his war's (They are HIS wars after all), to his socialization and destruction of our health care system...and now THIS!!! His being on vacation (none the less remaining engaged with the responsibilities of his office) while a madman terrorist attempted to blow up an airplane over American soil.

And of course we know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that he does not love America (We KNOW that he isn't even a REAL American!) and that his Wife does not Love America. And in fact, all Liberals do not love America and like Obama they want to see it fail.

The answer is really SO simple...He must HATE AMERICA! There is absolutely no other possible explanation.

Posted by: Bignose | December 29, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

This is one of those "do something, anything" arguments that makes media talking heads look ridiculous. If the sky is falling, then the least you can do is screw up the presidents R&R in his hometown. But if you want to restore some credibility, or at least consistency, let us know how often you got on Bush for being in Crawford. What a bunch of hot air.

Posted by: TKinTexas | December 29, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"Why is Obama still in Hawaii?"

Because he didn't take the entire month of August off like Bush always did...

Posted by: ddeebbee | December 29, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Uhm, no. Not at all.

Unless you want him to appear to be running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

Posted by: dadada | December 29, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

An article in the Huntington Post says Bush waited six days to discuss the shoe bomber, Richard Reid.

Posted by: emtyn1 | December 29, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Everyone takes vacations, even our enemies and George Bush. Vacations are necessary to keep people healthy and productive. Doesn't the author have something better to do than write knee-jerk, superficial blog posts?

Posted by: sternenator | December 29, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Who is this Armao Yahoo? WoPo, I realize this is the holiday season, but if this is the best you can do shut the doors and go home. Just for the record, this most recent attempt is just one of many since 9/11. Can you say shoe bomber?

Posted by: JD15 | December 29, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama is still in the United States. In which state would you prefer him to be?

Posted by: dunnhaupt | December 29, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks President Obama ought to run hither and yon chasing current events has no sense of what the Presidency is. We do not move on the timetable of terrorist events. Indeed, there was no ongoing emergency he could address other than the urgency of addressing the failure of the screening system. Mr. Obama addressed that quite fully in two live statement. He has a right to expect our government will respond with adequate gravity and correct the problem. And he also has a right to rest, as the entire elected body of American democracy is also doing.

Posted by: amreporter | December 29, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Bushing idiocy. We were safer through Bush's months and months of Crawford, Texas, brush-clearing and barbecues throughout his sorry eight years?

Armao has calculated a dangerous difference in response times between Crawford and Washington on one hand and Honolulu and Washington on the other? She's living in our era of modern communications?
This column is tomfoolery an embarassment to the Washington Post.

Posted by: jimsteinberg1 | December 29, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it time to stop comparing/refering to Bush all the time. While Obama has remained in campaign mode Bush moved past that early on. As for remaining in Hawaii, so? The larger issue is the fact that Obama has put terrorism and national security on the back burner while he deals with healthcare reform, global warming, carbon tax and trade, hamstringing small businesses and buying up bankrupt companies. Bad persons that want to do America in are keenly aware of Obama's naivette.

Posted by: countryfirst1 | December 29, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it time to stop comparing/refering to Bush all the time. While Obama has remained in campaign mode Bush moved past that early on. As for remaining in Hawaii, so? The larger issue is the fact that Obama has put terrorism and national security on the back burner while he deals with healthcare reform, global warming, carbon tax and trade, hamstringing small businesses and buying up bankrupt companies. Bad persons that want to do America in are keenly aware of Obama's naivette.

Posted by: countryfirst1 | December 29, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse


In the ever-increasingly competitive category of Most Inane Column bashing the administration for this foiled attack, Ms. Armao pulls ahead with an absolutely STUNNING 282 words of empty, self-contradictory criticism! The excitement is building as chagrinned Post editorialists wonder if they shouldn't play the Tiger Woods card again (famous mixed race guy plays golf while others suffer? Krauthammer? There's your cue old boy! Go fetch! Go get 'im!!).

There's nothing to inspect here, no drowned city, no collapsed Twin Towers, nothing that can't be completely conveyed to the president instantly and fully whereever he might be on the freaking planet. As Ms. Armao points out, before brushing aside her own logic in favor of something she acknowledges is irrational. Point? Who the freak knows.

REST ASSURED, if Obama had broken short his badly-needed break (of which George Bush took more than any president in modern times, to little note by this neocon rag), the Iraq War bunch here would be all over him:

"OBAMA PLAYS INTO TERRORISTS HANDS. Now Al Qaida knows that all they have to do to look important is send some clumsy kid on an airliner with something in his pants, and the president will jump..." snorts Krauthammer.

"Obama returns to DC a minute later than *I* think he should have..." sniffs Fred Hiatt.

"You wouldn't have seen George Bush sitting there reading a children's book after the worst attack on our soi-- oops, never mind..." mumbles William Krystol from his blog cubicle.

Yes, times are hard for the Post. And if they can't make money off of real news, they will make it off of drawing the Birthers and Freepers in to click on their ads.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 29, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

This entire article is a diversion from Obama's mishandling of national security and foreign policy. He is the disaster-in-chief where ever he goes.

Why did he ever appoint Janet from another planet? She is so inept... almost as bad as Waco Janet Reno setting fire to the Branch Davidians.

Obama is creating a 1000 new terrorists a day with his occupation of Afghanistan.

Posted by: alance | December 29, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann Armao wants us all to be afraid. Then we'll want mommy-government to take care of all us scared lil babies.

Republicans love big government. But they only want to share the terror, never the wealth.

Posted by: lichtme | December 29, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

This has to be one of the most neural-activity-free columns I've ever read, and -- believe you me -- I have read many a column.

Basically the thrust of this column is that you don't like Obama, so you want to find some way to make this situation about not liking Obama. If a drunken high school senior eggs your garage, perhaps you might write a column arguing that Obama's willingness to discuss his youthful indiscretions in his book has encouraged America's youth to run amok.

Just be glad Obama doesn't make all his speeches about what an incompetent columnist you are. He would surely be hitting much closer to the mark.

Posted by: jeffwacker | December 29, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he's still in Hawaii precisely because it's really not that big of a deal. It seems to me that the only people genuinely frightened by these criminals are Republicans and their lackeys. The President has responded just the way he should have. Would his critics rather he'd rushed back to Washington ? Wouldn't that embolden our enemies just as much as him staying on vacation? Sometimes the best way to deal with a problem is to acknowledge and move on. The people complaining the loudest about this seem to be the same people who are afraid of trying these criminals in court. Do these thugs have superpowers ? I think not. Give 'em a fair trial and then send them to rot until they die.

Posted by: grasonvilleed | December 29, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

We are all, even those of us who supported him in the election, waking up to the fact that Obama is a huge leadership failure. All style and zero substance......

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | December 29, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama is doing the job. Where was Bush when the memo came through that Al Quaeda was planning a major operation in the US in 2001? He was on vacation and stayed on vacation. Where was Bush when Hurricane Katrina headed for New Orleans? On vacation and planning a birthday party for John McCain. Bush spent over a year on vacation in Texas. Obama takes 10 days and the right gets nuts. He said what he had to say and that should be enough for anyone except maybe Michele Bachmann.

Posted by: moninga1 | December 29, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

For gosh sake, if there is any single person in the United States who deserves a vacation - it is the extremely hard-working President Obama.

Posted by: mhd51 | December 29, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. The guy deserves a little time with his family. He is working still from Hawaii, with the full contingent of equipment, staff, etc.

Posted by: LCL1 | December 29, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Obama is naive. He can speak better than Bush, but when push comes to shove, he doesn't have a realistic understanding of national security issues. He has been focusing all of his energy on health care issues and weakening our national defenses in the meantime as other countries begin to beef up theirs.

The media also has taken a frightening turn. Suddenly it's not okay to criticize the President, when yesterday it was. Bush received so much criticism, some of it deserved and others not so deserved. Obama can be criticized as well. Don't be blinded by the media hype.

Posted by: lucas80123 | December 29, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Y'know, Obama has at his disposal in Hawaii the same tools he has in DC. It doesn't matter where he is in terms of dealing with the immediate issues.

I find it hilarious that people who probably supported Bush, who took record number of vacation days, would criticize Obama for still being with his family during this holiday. As usual, what a bunch of hypocrites Republicans are.

Not to say that Democrats don;t have their hypocrisies, they surely do, Joe Lieberman being a great current example.

Posted by: mtnmanvt | December 29, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes, and yes. And well put.

Posted by: arrabbiato | December 29, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

So Pres. Obama _not_ running around aimlessly at full speed while shouting "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" in abject terror, but instead letting the proper authorities get on with their job while signaling that the security system will be properly reviewed, in your world equals emboldening terrorists? Good grief.

And aren't you the person who a couple of weeks ago complained about Transportation Security Administration workers tearing open your mother's carefully wrapped Christmas presents?

Posted by: sembtex | December 29, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

why is armao still breathing. will have to get coburn to offer a prayer for her.

Posted by: donaldtucker | December 29, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to your article, maybe more people will understand why I refer to this country as the United States of Arrogance. BO should have had his a-s back at the White House seconds after he learned of this incident. Instead, he pulled an elongated version of "w" responding to 911. We really do elect jerks to high authority. And they are bought and paid for. TFL, Ken

Posted by: kentigereyes | December 29, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding me. Why should the President give this any more dignity than he already has? This was a close call, but no one was hurt, except the would-be terrorist and the Dutch hero who burnt his hands.

America needs to get over itself. The bloodshed we are involved in around the world is bound to come home from time to time. If we don't have the stomach for a few domestic casualties, then we had better stop bombing people's homes in the Middle East and South Asia. In fact, that would be a good idea. We should treat international terrorism as what is - a criminal conspiracy to be fought by law enforcement and special units with very precise targeting. The "Global War on Terror" has turned us into a blind bull in a china shop.

Posted by: johnsonc2 | December 29, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, Hawaii was still a part of these great United States...I guess your perception is that proper governance happens only from DC.

President Obama has been working overtime from the day he was elected to lead us out of these incredible mess that he inherited. Please allow him a little pastime to recoup and recharge, before the next round of battles with the 'NYET' group.

Posted by: nmensah | December 29, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Whether he was in Hawaii or DC doesn't matter much. What does matter is that he waited three days to comment and when he did he mentioned the bomber as "alleged" and working alone. He should have got on the tube immediately and made a strong statement using the, gulp, "terrorism" word. Our enemies believe Obama is weak and they are right.

Posted by: mowjoe | December 29, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the dumbest commentator/opinion scribler WAPO allowed to cheapen its page. At least Obama was not AWOL like Dubya on 9/11. Another dumb writer from Time Magazine was fulminating why Obama did not go to a DC church on Christmas Eve. Can the guy have a life without being second guessed by third rate journalists who try to make much ado about nothing as he is capable to monitor the situation from Hawai and pray too when fancy calls for it.

Posted by: ere591 | December 29, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Why all the Bush comments? Obama is president and he should be evaluated on his governance. Using Dubya as a foil smacks of insecurity regarding Obama's performance. Well, that's ok, his performance makes me feel insecure too.

Posted by: mowjoe | December 29, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

This is an idiotic blog entry. Obama does not need to rush to DC for a failed terrorist attack. If another 9/11 happened, he would have left his well deserved vacation. He takes fewer of them than Bush and Reagan did. Presidents don't need to be in an oval office with a flag in the background to govern.

Posted by: NCDem1 | December 29, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

When George W. Bush was criticized for spending more time on vacation at Camp David and his Texas ranch than any other sitting president, Republicans answered that a president is never really on vacation; it's more like a working holiday. The same people would begrudge the hard working Obama a well-deserved respite in Hawaii?

Posted by: misterjag | December 29, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Um, hello? ANTHRAX?

Posted by: boloboffin1 | December 29, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

What are you, a high school student that hacked into the Post website? This kind of childish, inane, shallow writing has no place in a newspaper or even in a bad term paper. Hopefully the Post will snap to its senses and bounce you out the door before you can further damage it's reputation. What's next Captain Simpleton, a complaint that Obama doesn't frown convincingly? Go away. Now.

Posted by: notsodumb | December 29, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

What utter horse manure. A better question - why is jim demint holding up confirmation for heads of security agencies? Oh yeah -- part of a union busting ploy by the gop....

Or a better question -- why was bush on vacation for a month while reciving daily briefs with headings like al qaeda determined to strike inside US?

Hearing righties decry the brief vacation this president is taking after one of the most difficult years since FDR took office in 1933 is a joke. bush spent nearly 1/4 of his entire presidenecy on break. Good thing, too since we saw what a mess he made when he actually did things.

i for one do not begrudge the president this respite from the inane prattle of the party of no and the mountain of problems they left the nation with. I'm quite certain he is being briefed and is more aware while on vacation than bush was when he was in full WH office mode. We have not had a finer and better leader since the death of FDR. Get used to him. He is POTUS until 2017. Unless we can amend the Constitution to allow him a thrid term.

Posted by: John1263 | December 29, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Ummm lets us compare == hurriane Katrina, v. the underpants ninny. Hummmm...... just about the same right? An idiot psycho loner who can't even set his own pants on fire and a natural disaster that killed hundreds, devestated several states, and destroyed one of the oldest cities in the nation. Just about the same thing.........

Posted by: John1263 | December 29, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Why is he still in Hawaii? BECAUSE HE'S EARNED SOME TIME OFF, after a year of UNRELENTING attacks by the right wing. No honeymoon, no slack, nada. Give the guy a break, willya! Bush2 took a whole lot more time off, even when warned of trouble on the horizon. Obama never got the info on a possible attack. And he took a few days to quietly look into what happened, unlike Bush who was all huff and puff, followed by mistake after mistake. Bush was warned DIRECTLY about a possible attack prior to 9/11. His response to the briefer: ok, you covered your ass, now let's change the subject. At least we have a prez now who has a brain and uses it for rational examination of what happened before he opens his mouth. And the righties who are now blaming Obama for the attack? They've blocked funding of the Homeland Security and Obama's nominee to head TSA. Sheesh, what hypocrisy.

Posted by: hypocritebuster | December 29, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Comments here are so predicatable in that those Obama worshippers all come out naming Bush did the same or worse and how dare you say anything negative about Obama. You see the thing Bush did was deplorable and he wasn't being serious enough about terrorism if he didn't rush back to Washington but when Obama does it, he can be President anywhere and it would show weakness to those who deal in "man made disasters" and he can stay in Hawaii squeezing in security matters between golf, workouts and now snorkeling. Democrats will yell at republicans for holding up the Obama nominee for the TSA but never mentioon that it took Obama almost 9 months to even name someone to the post that dems now think is so important. I will still wonder if Obama would have said anything at all if Napolitano hadn't messed up so pitifully and had the media all over her that day and all the next for being so clueless. I have a feeling if she had spoken as expected, Obama would have remained silent.

Posted by: justmyvoice | December 29, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Why do all these angry lefties keep bringing up Bush? Again, they must feel very insecure about the poor leadership qualities of our current president. I don't blame them.

Posted by: mowjoe | December 29, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

While I don't agree with Obama's handling of the situation (and heckofajob Janet), this:

"with what appears to be the most serious threat to the nation’s safety since 9/11. "

makes me feel better. Seriously? Some idiot who can't even light his underwear on fire properly is the most serious threat to our safety? Maybe we should start worrying about bigger issues, considering that more people get struck by lightening than terrorists here.

Posted by: ihatelogins | December 29, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

You may want to ask yourself where Vice President Biden was when this episode of near catastrophe occurred on approach to Detroit.

Episode, great word; "Stayed tuned for the next episode of In Air Crisis, Terror in the Underwear". This of course after the next Micheal Jackson tribute following "Tiger Woods and number 19, Man in drag".

Oh well, could have been worse as Katrina indicated Whitehouse Press mouthpiece was in charge, and Karl Rove no doubt.

Posted by: truthhurts | December 29, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Those of you downplaying the seriousness of the terrorist attack might be singing another tune if he had pulled it off. 300 dead. He probably couldn't get the syringe to add to the explosive. This is why lefties worry me, they seem to be clueless about the threat that faces us.

Posted by: mowjoe | December 29, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

DOBRYDN This was not a PLANE ACCIDENT YOU M@R@N, this was an attempted terrorist attack. There is quite a difference from a plane accident and someone wanting to blow up almost 300 people. While I don;t think OBAMA should leave HAWAII Ai do think this should be taken as a very serious threat and it needs immediate attention, LIBS like yourself just sit back and wait. THis is what happens SLICK when you have a bunch of nimrods at the helm. NAPALOTANO should be relieved of her duties. She talks through both sides of her mouth. First she says the SYETEM IS WORKING, working for who? Surely not for the safety of AMERICANS, then after she is grilled she finally admits its broken. Do we want someone who can't make up her mind about the SAFETY OF ALL AMERICANS. Now the OBAMA administration
is chasing its tails, THEY DIDN'T SEE THIS ONE COMING, they have no idea what to do next. If this guy could get through, just how many more will succeed? And do we have to depend on regular Americans to save their own lives? We pay these people a lot of money we should DEMAND we get what we pay for and that is not SOMEONE $CREWING UP.

Posted by: itscc721 | December 29, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post a long response to this column, but the words of other writers seemed to cover the subject: Stupid, ill-thought-out, illogical and selectively amnesiac.

Posted by: lewfournier1 | December 29, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Why is Obama still in Hawaii?

It takes time to forge a credible birth certificate.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | December 29, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

How ridiculous is this columnist. How unoriginal and uncreative to reach for Republican talking points. The president is still human: he deserves some time off with his family. It seems very much in vogue now to dump on Obama. That the hateful republicans would do it, I can understand. But the left would be so short-sighted and confused as to try to bring Obama down is truly sad. Obama is too good for this stupid country.

Posted by: samiadodin | December 29, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Are you really as stupid as you write Armtoe? Why is th epresident still on vacation? Really?

You would have him fly to Amsterdam and work airport security? Really?

You understand these are the same security rules that have been in place for many years? Really Armtoe.

Let me guess, you didn't criticize Bush for continung to read as the World Trade Towers fell on 9/11? Really?

Dumb Arse!

Posted by: chucky-el | December 29, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought the you wanted him "out" of Washington DC

Posted by: notthatdum | December 29, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Most of the news media is useless. Since they like to keep things going, how come they are not asking Bush and Dick Cheney about the release of Saeed al-Shehri, a Saudi and former detainee at Guantanamo, who was transferred to the Saudi government by the administration of President George W. Bush on November 9, 2007? How about the republicans on fox news, cnn, msnbc, why are they NOT asking Dick and Bush about the releases? Where is the call for and investigation from republicans (McCain, Wolf and others thats been on tv, critical of Obama about anything and everything including the gate crashers. How about a congressional hearing into the releases that replenished Al Qaeda during the Bush years? The low life news producers of the networks, and writers like this one would rather waste the president's time for a standard soundbite about the latest incident, which is the only thing that he can give, because anything else involves national security. These so called "news" producers would rather "dog" a Tiger Wood's story, than do real news that concerns us all.

Posted by: MILLER123 | December 29, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Here's a real story from a real Journalist.


Posted at 03:56 PM on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009
By MARGARET TALEV - McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON -- An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration - if there was one."
(Staff writer Lesley Clark contributed to this report.)

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

As al-Qaida claimed responsibility Monday for the thwarted attack and President Barack Obama made a public statement about it, Democrats urged DeMint to drop his objection and allow quick confirmation of nominee Erroll Southers, a counterterrorism expert, when the Senate reconvenes in three weeks.

Posted by: MILLER123 | December 29, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, am glad that President Obama doesn't play into the hands of TERRORISTS by agreeing to play along and acting TERRIFIED.

For all the tough talk by Republicans, they're apparently ruled by fear--just like Al Qaeda wants them to be. Grow a spine, Ms. Amao--your entreaty for Americans to act like a bunch of quaking wussies is unappreciated.

Posted by: Plix | December 29, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Here is news you can use from a not so lazy writer than the one who wrote this article.


Posted at 03:56 PM on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009
By MARGARET TALEV - McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON -- An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration - if there was one."
(Staff writer Lesley Clark contributed to this report.)

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

As al-Qaida claimed responsibility Monday for the thwarted attack and President Barack Obama made a public statement about it, Democrats urged DeMint to drop his objection and allow quick confirmation of nominee Erroll Southers, a counterterrorism expert, when the Senate reconvenes in three weeks.

Posted by: MILLER123 | December 29, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations. You've managed to out-stupid the Post's other wingnut columnists.

Posted by: rashomon | December 29, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

What a STUPID column. Really, where does WaPo FIND the people to write this stuff? HOW does it improve the safety of Americans to REWARD Al Qaeda by having our President race back to Washington DC in order to ... uh ... say .... uh ... make a show of being very, very concerned about this ginormous crisis(?), uh ... incident? I mean, really, the incident (for that is what it was) was OVER. What would be the point of Obama racing home, and more to the point, why would you want him to do so when considering the tremendous boon it would give to Al Qaeda's morale to have the U.S. President change his plans just for them? Just for one of their FAILED efforts? Ms. Armao is a moron.

Posted by: Lawlady584 | December 29, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

This is your complaint? That because he's in Hawaii, he's totally disinterested? Do you honestly think he hasn't told all of his advisers to interrupt him if anything comes up? This seems like a stupid argument to me - what is he supposed to do here that he can't from Hawaii?

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | December 29, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the most stupid pieces I've read. Washington Post should stop posting any garbage it receives as "opinion".

Posted by: Sally6 | December 29, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Let's see: August 2001 bush spends a month in Crawford and 911 happens

August 2004 bush spoend a month in Crawford and Katrina happens

December 2009 Obama goes to Hawaii and a failed terrorist plot happens

Which of these two people should this writer be castigating?

Posted by: democratus | December 29, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

This is one of the dumbest if not the dumbest article I have read all year. Why shld the president leave his vacation when the alleged attack was botched and no one was hurt? This is grasping at straws just to have your name in the paper Armao.

Posted by: rbprtman23 | December 29, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

The President should abandon his vacation because someone caught his underwear on fire on a plane? Are you nuts - that is why the country to going to the dogs - no one has any common sense any more. Finds omething sensible to write, please.

Posted by: crp3 | December 29, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Some people are just so small-minded and takes delight in finding something to criticize. There is no reason for Obama to interrupt his much deserved vacation. I wonder if you ever found issue with W. taking so much time off during his eight years. It adds up to like more than a whole year!! He was flying off to Crawford all the time. But Obama goes to NYC one weekend, and of course people have to make a big fuss. Let's face it, you guys will find something to complain about, no matter what.

Posted by: hkim41 | December 29, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse


From Politico...
"Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber’s attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of September 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate."

Time for a reality check folks.

To the author of the posting...quit your day job, a high school reporter could do better work.

Posted by: NotFooledTX | December 29, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

DATED DECEMBER 24, 2009 abcnews
Sources tell ABC News that an air raid in Yemen this morning may have killed two top al Qaeda officials as well as an imam believed to have inspired the alleged Fort Hood shooter.

Those believed to have been present at the target in the eastern province Shabwa included the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Nasser al-Wahayshi, his No. 2, Saeed al-Shehri, and Anwar al-Awlaki, who was quoted telling Al Jazeera Web that Maj. Nidal Hasan, asked him "about killing U.S. soldiers and officers. His question was is it legitimate" under Islamic law.

Awlaki said the query was a year before the Fort Hood shooting, making him "astonished. Where was American intelligence that claimed once that it can read any car plate number anywhere in the world?"

The sources would not get into whether the air raid was conducted by US or Yemeni forces.

US officials are still seeking confirmation that the raid definitively killed the three men.

Earlier this year, al-Wahayshi, a Yemeni, called for shariah law for Yemen. "The time for the rule of Islam has come so that you could bask in the justice and tolerance it brings," he said. He described the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has cooperated with the US in fighting al Qaeda, as "an infidel and an agent ... and today he is using all forms of oppression with the pretext of preserving unity."

Last month al-Wahayshi called for attacks on Western airports and trains. Writing in an e-magazine Sada al-Malahem, al-Wahayshi told supporters, "You do not need to exert great effort or spend a lot of money to make 10 grams of explosives, more or less. Do not spend a long time searching for materials as they already exist in your mother's kitchen. Make them (bombs) in the shape of a bomb you hurl, or detonate through a timer or a remote detonator or a martyrdom-seeker belt or any electrical appliance."

Saeed al-Shehri, a Saudi and former detainee at Guantanamo, was transferred to the Saudi government by the administration of President George W. Bush on November 9, 2007. He went through jihadi rehab at the "Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Centre for Care and Counseling," where participants undergo a 12-step program to prepare them to return to society. Al-Shehri instead returned to al Qaeda.

Anwar al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico. He attended Colorado State University, earned a master's degree in educational leadership from San Diego State University, and worked on a Ph.D. in human resource development at George Washington University.

Former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant, told ABC News that "Awlaki is known as a senior recruiter for al Qaeda. He would be the spiritual motivator. Almost like someone you would go to and say, 'this is what I'm thinking about doing.' And they join in and encourage you and basically help you rationalize your behavior."


December 24, 2009

Posted by: MILLER123 | December 29, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

So you readers won't feel as though your time has been wasted reading this writer's stupid article I posted some worth reading.


Posted at 03:56 PM on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009
By MARGARET TALEV - McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON -- An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration - if there was one."
(Staff writer Lesley Clark contributed to this report.)

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has held up President Barack Obama's nominee in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union.

As al-Qaida claimed responsibility Monday for the thwarted attack and President Barack Obama made a public statement about it, Democrats urged DeMint to drop his objection and allow quick confirmation of nominee Erroll Southers, a counterterrorism expert, when the Senate reconvenes in three weeks.

Posted by: MILLER123 | December 29, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Also, why is someone like Mr. Armao given a platform by the Washington Post to express his petty views?

Posted by: hkim41 | December 29, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Are you out of your mind? What should the President do, go to the airport and inspect every bag and every passenger? That's not his job. Airport security needs to do theirs. Practice breathing so you can get some oxygen to the brain.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | December 29, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

is it special olympics week around the wapoop this week ???

where did you find this clown ???

is this supposed to be a thinly veiled attempt to equate Barack Obama with george w bush ???

remember that george w bush was on vacation on August 6, 2001 ???

did george bush rush back to washington ???

september 11, 2001 ???

after richard ried failed at the same crime ???

after Katrina ???

when exactly was it appropriate for george bush to RUSH BACK TO WASHINGTON

and do YOU, Jo-Ann Armao, realize what a foolish hypocritical hack you have revealed yourself to be ???

I don't forget a schlockmeister

trust is a valuable thing

and you just lost it

Posted by: nada65931 | December 29, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

This column and some of the responses are truly showing that conservatives lpve stupidity. What, instead of being in Hawaii Obama should have been in Amsterdam making body searches? Maybe inspecting everyone's luggage? Maybe if the republicans, like DeMint, wold quit playing party politics and act lilke they care about America, we'd have a TSA administrator who might have his people scrutinize th no-fly lists and other intelligence. And what's with all this no-necktie crap all of a sudden? Somehow now, that is being seen as some kind of Muslim wardrobe. I don't care what my president wears, a suit of armor or a sweatshirt, as long as he is doing something. And he is doing something while on vacation, caring about the USA.

Posted by: mikel7 | December 29, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Americans are obviously crazy!?!
this whole terrorism scare is a LIE
Why be afraid of something that will never happen to you? Perhaps a scared populace is one that is easily led and bled?
Consider the statistics and then tell me if you are still afraid...

Accidental Deaths per year on North American Mainland
(1981 to 1994)
100 on commercial flight
850 by electrical current
1000 on a bicycle
1452 by accidental gunfire
3000 by complications to medical procedures
3600 by inhaling or ingesting objects
5000 by fire
5000 by drowning
5300 by accidental poisoning
8000 as pedestrians
11,000 at work
12,000 by falls
22,500 at home
46,000 in auto accidents

YOUR ODDS of dying from:
Cardiovascular disease: 1 in 2
Smoking (by/before age 35): 1 in 600
Car trip, coast-to-coast: 1 in 14,000
Bicycle accident: 1 in 88,000
Tornado: 1 in 450,000
Train, coast-to-coast: 1 in 1,000,000
Lightning: 1 in 1.9 million
Bee sting: 1 in 5.5 million
U.S. commercial jet airline: 1 in 7 million
Terrorism: 1 in 8 609 815 (ten year average)

North American Mainland deaths from terrorism
1995 - 196
1996 - 0
1997 - 2
1998 - 1
1999 - 3
2000 - 3
2001 - 2987
2002 - 3
2003 - 3
2004 - 0
2005 - 0
2006 - 0
average for ten years (excluding this year) = 319.8

Posted by: jamesmmoylan | December 30, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

To Miller 123 -
Since you are being so creative here, I got a little creative with your made up article for a more balanced read.......


Posted at 03:56 PM on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009
By MARGARET TALEV - McClatchy Newspapers WASHINGTON -- An attempt to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day would be all-consuming for the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration - if there was one."
(Staff writer Lesley Clark contributed to this report.)

The post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., placed a hold in opposition to the prospect of TSA workers joining a labor union, in keeping with previous decisions. However, the post was in limbo for almost 9 months since the President did not find it necessary to put forth a name until then. Upon hearing of the hold, Majority Leader Reid felt it more important to proceed with the health care debate than worry about national security.

As al-Qaida claimed responsibility Monday for the thwarted attack and President Barack Obama made a public statement about it, DeMint reminded people he only wanted a limited discussion and a registered up or down vote and Reid could have allowed a quick confirmation of nominee Erroll Southers, a counterterrorism expert, while the Senate was in session weeks ago.

Posted by: justmyvoice | December 30, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Nonetheless, there’s something unsettling about the president not wanting to interrupt his plans to deal with what appears to be the most serious threat to the nation’s safety since 9/11.
What a stupid statement. A guy substituting plastic explosives for his balls is hardly a threat to the nation. He didn't even hurt the airplane let alone people on it.

Posted by: Emmetrope | December 30, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

actually, I'm impressed

you went from ZERO to totally fookin disreputable

all in a single column

that's gotta be the world's shortest journalism career

Posted by: nada65931 | December 30, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Keep a stiff upper lip, play another round of golf and take another dip.
These adversaries primarily smell and secondarily feed off of fear.
President Cool scares them. They know a bomber when they see one.
They love to see leaders panic. Republicans should keep this in mind.
Their fear lets the enemy know that they are being effective. That is why it is called terrorism.

Posted by: empireport | December 30, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Get serious, Ms Armao. The President does not have to hands-on fix every glitch in the Government. He should raise Hell with the Secretary of State, Homeland Security, and other assorted agencies and departments that dropped the ball on this. I think he can and has given them that message from Hawaii just fine.

Posted by: gjhinnova | December 30, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

The difference between this situation and Richard Reid is that there were warnings about this guy that were either unheeded or not communicated among agencies. The Reid incident occurred just a few months after 9/11, when there were at best only rudimentary watchlists and no benefit of 8 years of anti-terror measures. Also, Reid never admitted any connection to Al Qaeda or a larger terrorist network, unlike the Nigerian. And finally, the timing of this attack (and apparent statements from Al Qaeda) suggests that it was in response to the US attack in Yemen--in other words, a clear act of war. I don't know if all of this required Obama to fly back to Washington, but I think it merited more than Obama's brief remarks, three days after the attempted attack.

Posted by: AnnReid | December 30, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Is this the best mug shot you can come up with, Armao? You look like a hillbilly.

Posted by: angelas1 | December 30, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Obama scares me to death. But he didn't mishandle this situation.

Posted by: appaino | December 30, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

let's see

you get your panties in a wad when the TSA opens your mother's packages

and you get your panties in a wad when the President doesn't panic and act like a coward

I'm thinking you should stop wearing panties

problem solved

Posted by: nada65931 | December 30, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

The difference between this situation and Richard Reid is that there were warnings about this guy that were either unheeded or not communicated among agencies

sounds a lot like 9-11, except, you know, there was no Presidential Daily Briefing, like there was on August 6, 2001

that is the primary problem you and people like Jo-Ann DUMBO Armao can't get around

you want to criticize Obama for his "after-the-fact" actions

but you seem to have failed to criticize george w bush, who was presented "BEFORE-THE-ACT" evidence of a terrorist attack that killed 2750 people

and you offer foolish criticism amidst a SEA of foolish criticisms

hypocrisy is a ugly thing

and your face has hypocrisy smeared all over it

Posted by: nada65931 | December 30, 2009 12:53 AM | Report abuse

because everybody has to be somewhere.

Posted by: daphne5 | December 30, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

More Obama bashing. I don't think he needed to come back to comment on the failure of a system put in place before his administration. He needed to get away from the blatantly obvious lack of cooperation from those that are supposed to be helping him run the country. A lot of us could use that.
Oddly, it was tearing at the admin in place that alienated me from the Dems, now the Repubs are doing the same thing when they're already at the bottom of the popularity scale. Talk about poor judgement..I've seen doorknobs with better sense.

Posted by: ThePoliticalStraycom | December 30, 2009 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Its pretty clear reading all the above that we have received the government we deserve. The rancor, disrespect and rudeness launched by writers suggest that we are the reason congress can't get anything done, and until we all decide to pull the wagon in one direction, it will only get worse. Lets continue to attack our government and each other endlessly while things deteriorate further...the days of agreeing to disagree are its endless attack, defend, attack...sad and a poor legacy to leave our children. Boo to it all!

Posted by: gprudich | December 30, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Let's just posit that George Bush had all the information he needed before 9/11 to avert that attack and failed to do so. Does that make the Obama administration's actions in failing to heed the warnings about the Nigerian bomber and failing to put him on the no-fly list OK? Should we go easy on Obama for a tepid response to a potentially dangerous situation because the press went easy on Bush after Richard Reid? This has nothing to do with Bush and everything to do with Obama. I don't think he is inspiring confidence in his ability to deal with the Islamic terrorist threat--or even to take it seriously. I hope I am wrong, for all of our sakes.

Posted by: AnnReid | December 30, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Does that make the Obama administration's actions in failing to heed the warnings about the Nigerian bomber and failing to put him on the no-fly list OK?

what warning were provided to Obama, numbnutz ???

do you understand that there WAS NO PDB issued to Barack Obama warning of this attack ???

or are you too stupid or blind to understand that ???

george bush was warned a month before the attack

Barack Obama was NOT warned a month before the attack


Posted by: nada65931 | December 30, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

Obama may be highly egotistical and occasionally arrogant, but so were many of his predecessors. Give the guy a break, he is entitled to a vacation with his family.

Somehow I doubt if Obama will come anywhere near surpassing Reagan or Bush II in taking vacations.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 30, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

Hi folks,

It would be a relief to get some sanity back to governing, and avoid senseless political attacks.

I'm a Democrat, but a very conservative sort. I loved George W Bush when he was Governor of the great state of Texas, but I also wasn't a fan of his when he was President. But I never doubted his integrity. He was always my President, and I never doubted his heart and mind to govern the country through a crisis whether he was in Crawford or in the White House. It was just semantics and politics to argue otherwise (and I was always very pleased to tell the left-wing politicians to get their heads on straight). The President of the US lives with the responsibility 24 hours a day, not matter where they might be.

Same thing goes for President Obama. I don't give a crap that he's in Hawaii, the President of the United States always governs 24 hours a day. Get over the freakin politics, and be reasonable, please....please.

President Obama can handle it just as well from Hawaii, just as President Bush could have managed it from Crawford. So just get over it!

If in between all the stress of the job President Obama might enjoy a short moment of piece of mind while vacationing in Hawaii...good for him!! Whether playing golf or just hanging at the beach (I'm jealous...that sounds great!), then it's best for all of us.

Stop being political, and start being reasonable. I think I'm a "Main Street" kinda guy...and the more I read such trash the more I think that both right and left folks need to settle down.


Posted by: lcfa | December 30, 2009 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Oh you're just wrong about this, and full of crap to boot. Not freaking out is a pretty powerful message to the rest of us. Perhaps you should find some lesson there.

Posted by: Nymous | December 30, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

Ooops, some typos.

But you get the idea. Thanks, and let's support reason over politics. The issue is not that President Obama is in Hawaii, just as it wasn't the President Buch governed from Crawford.

Democracy poses challenges. But we're in this together, and I only wonder what it will take us to stop the politicians pulling us apart.

Common sense please....

Posted by: lcfa | December 30, 2009 3:03 AM | Report abuse

Ummm two reasons.
1. Nothing bad actually happened
2. We live in a world of modern technology where anybody can communicate effectively anywhere anytime.

It's not like he sat around reading "my pet goat."

Posted by: JRM2 | December 30, 2009 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the number of times the word "stupid" (specifically) has been used to describe the author in these comments rivals anything I've seen in the comment sections for Gerson, and that dude is dumb as a post. When you out-stupid Michael Gerson, it's time for a career change, or possibly a bib and a special helmet.

Jo-Ann Armao, this column is straight up idiotic. You have been afflicted with rampant partisanship, and it appears to have rotted your brain.

Posted by: Plix | December 30, 2009 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Obama has no idea what a President should do and seems unsure of how to handle any situation. His advisors seem equally naive and clueless. I wish he could have a permanent vacation so we could find a person who knows what LEADERSHIP means. Nobody expected him to cut his vacation short, BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PRUDENT OF HIM TO TAKE THREE MINUTES AWAY FROM HIS GOLF GAME TO PUBLICLY COMMENT ON A SERIOUS EVENT BEFORE THREE DAYS HAD PASSED!

Posted by: shar4 | December 30, 2009 4:33 AM | Report abuse

This all comes down to partisanship. Bush apologists will hit Obama every time they can in "get even" over the negative commentary that Bush incurred while in office. Now, if you look at this without an ideological slant, you'll see that regardless of what Obama does, the issue doesn't have a ready made solution. Those who seek to perpetrate a terrorist act will continue to do so. And so amount of screening will prevent it 100%. It matters little if Obama is in Hawaii or DC.

Posted by: Puller58 | December 30, 2009 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Memo to the clueless: The most serious security threat to the US since 9/11 is the increased power of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Second is the proliferation of Wahabi maddrassahs and imans brainwashing people into inhumane acts of terror. To me they are not human and should be exterminated like any harmful infestation. The writer should be calling for expulsion of all fundamentalist imans preaching in the west. They are far more dangerous than any single terrorist fake martyr by creating hundreds of the same. Dubya appointed Saudi imans (thanks Carlyle Group) in the prisons and military also should be purged.

Posted by: jameschirico | December 30, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

"By staying in Hawaii, the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious, that things can proceed just fine until he’s back. And isn’t it that kind of reasoning that emboldens our never-vacationing enemies into thinking Christmas Day is the perfect time for them to strike?"

"(E)mboldens our enemies....?" Really, Ms.Armao, I am typically a fan, but this line isn't worthy of you. As with our enemies, our President knows that the next Christmas is a year away.

If the President flew back to Washington every time something like this happened, wouldn't it just embolden our enemies that Washington is a fine place to strike immediately after dragging a red herring of a failed terrorist act on a plane....?
I am glad we have a President rather than one of Pavlov's dogs running the country.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 30, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

President Obama has a wife and two young daughters. He is an example of family values. Even though he is President, he still needs to be a father. Spending time with his daughters around the Holidays is part of his job as a father. Besides the White House is where the President is. It's not like he can turn off the phone.

Posted by: MNUSA | December 30, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

It is not necessary for the President to hysterically run before the cameras, ignorantly sputtering ... That is Peter King's job.

Posted by: craigjjs | December 30, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Re: Nonetheless, there’s something unsettling about the president not wanting to interrupt his plans to deal with what appears to be the most serious threat to the nation’s safety since 9/11.


You must have missed Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, and the anthrax letters that actually killed people.

If he did come back for it the conservatives would be chanting that POTUS is getting jerked around by some loser Nigerian that can't even put together a bomb right.

You also need to learn the definition of "threat". The "threat" was always there and is still there; it hasn't changed. Look up "vulnerability" and "risk" while your at it as well.

Posted by: James10 | December 30, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

That is a terrible picture of you in your byline. It makes you look rather shallow and stupid. Oh, no. Those are the words in the column. Sorry.

Posted by: timmat | December 30, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

What a steaming pile. Leave it to the Post to publish this dreck.

Posted by: par4 | December 30, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Why did Bush ignore the memo he received early in August of 2001, warning that Al Qaida was planning an attack within the US? Oh, right! He was at the "ranch", too busy clearing brush and riding his bike to bother about such a mundane detail as a planned terrorist attack on a grand scale. If that is not shallow and stupid, I don't know what shallow and stupid is. History di not start on January 2009. Did you not learn that in J-school?

Posted by: Gatsby10 | December 30, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

You can't be serious. And what about the opposite effect. A president racing back to Washington, for what purpose, and giving even more credence to the terrorists and the culture of fear.

Simple fact, the screening failures were in Europe and Africa and the President is unlikely to be able to fix hat over a holiday weekend.

This was a politically expedient, but poorly conceived and exploitative column. Shame on you.

Posted by: formerrepublician | December 30, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

OK, all you libs. Maybe he didn't need to rush home to DC. But seriously... It is acceptable not speak to the nation about it... for three days? Is that really the position you all are taking? And it would be nice if Obama would speak on the rumors that those who planned the attack were released from Guantanamo. If it's not true, say something. If it is true, tell us again why it is ok to release terrorists? Cheney said if Gitmo prisoners were released, they would plan to attack the US again. That seemingly happened, yes? Or is it a lie and those in Yemen were never in Gitmo? I wish Obama would let us know.

Posted by: shecallsmemoe | December 30, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

This is an example of really dumb reasoning. Are you trying to say that Hawaii is located in a communications limbo? That the President of the US, whoever he is, doesn´t have instant means of communicating with anyone anywhere? That DC during the week between Christmas and New Year´s Day is a beehive full of busy federal employees? Bush didn´t return to the White House when the shoe bomber incident occurred, and I don´t blame him. It would have been as senseless as Obama rushing back. The initial error in communicating with the public was committed by Napolitano and Gibbs, both of whom should be called on the carpet for their display of an utter lack of common sense.

Posted by: Aquarius1 | December 30, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse


I guess if he hung a sign like Bush did in Crawford-


Maybe PACIFIC WHITE HOUSE- whoudl that be ok with you?

WSJ/MURDOCH: Dumb it Down Mr President

Please Mr President- HANG a SIGN

That will make the DUMB DOWNS HAPPY!


Posted by: sasha2008 | December 30, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The right wants their President to act like a surrogate Dad that shows up on the scene and causes a fuss and maybe smacks somebody after somebody dented their Pinto.

The left wants the President to project calm, and respond with wisdom and provide a sense that, even though the body shop has work to do, all is on the path to normality.

Ms. Armao clearly wants her Daddy.

Posted by: FalstaffsMind | December 30, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

shecallsmemoe -

It was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid.

Posted by: kirsch59 | December 30, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Where should he be? With modern communications systems it really doesn't matter where the President is. D.C. has become simply a symbolic place for the President. Remember, they all run now as "outsiders". So, being IN Washington is no longer important.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 30, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Armano....your idiocy is the reason your meal ticket is going bankrupt. Hope you enjoy the unemployment line.

Posted by: kindness1 | December 30, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I keep returning to read comments and the theme never seems to change from the democratic Obama supporters:
Round One:
Look how Bush didn't respond over the shoebomber - how terrible that was - he kept vacationing - result:Bush terrible
Round Two:
Look how Obama didn't respond over the underwear bomber - just like Bush - he kept vacationing - result:Bush still terrible but Obama wonderful.

Funny when Bush does the same thing Obama did he was terrible but now Obama has done what democrats complained of years ago, his response is totally acceptable.

Conclusion:democrats in general point to Bush's bad reactions which are identical to Obama's but when a repub. does it is terrible and when a democrat does it is certainly acting presidential and all should stop complaining.
I have a question to ask:
When do Obama supporters start actually defending their President without merely quoting actions that Bush did?

Posted by: justmyvoice | December 30, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

We now know that this happened primarily because the CIA still have the same inability to function they had in 2001. So Bush had 7 years to fix it and failed; Obama has had almost 1. The big question is whether this problem is so intractable that nothing short of starting over to build a security agency may be the only answer. The CIA seems incapable of learning.

Posted by: withersb | December 30, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

As other have mentioned -- Richard Reid. I recall no criticism of Bush's actions after this from Republican or Democrats. Have you become more cowardly since then? You want somebody to hold your hand? What, exactly, would you like somebody to do for you? Unless you can point to similar criticisms of Bush I suggest you're just playing politics with the nations safety, and really have no place writing for a national newspaper, unless that has become the purpose of this paper.

Posted by: dickc2 | December 30, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Shoe bomber.
Army psychiatrist.

Posted by: joe6 | December 30, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey idiot! Do you have a day job or do you make your living producing such BS? Terrorists are equal-opportunity monsters. They kill muslims during their holy months, try to hurt christians during christmas season. Do you remember PanAm disaster, shoe-bomber episode etc.? All happened during this season. That's the way they are.
You short-term memory must be failing that you can't even remember how much vacation Bush had. If Obama had come back to DC as a "symbolic gesture" as you have mentioned & left the family back in Hawaii, you would call it photo-op & complain about, the ecenomic disaster due to 2 trips of AirForce 1 & the extra security details for the family in 2 different places. There is no pleasing you idiots. When it is a black president, it is damn you do, damn you don't.

Posted by: sarvenk63 | December 30, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Management by Panic (MBP) is common, but not very effective.

Posted by: gary4books | December 30, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Gee, Jo-Ann, is this what you said when Dubya, who was on vacation, didn't say anything about shoe bomber wannabe Richard Reid for SIX DAYS? Yeah, yeah, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds & you're a genius.

The Constant Weader at

Posted by: marieburns | December 30, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The most serious threat to our nation's safety since 9/11? Huh? Katrina was much more of a threat to many more people than the bomb on this one plane was. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been much more of a threat to our soldiers, government officials, and contractors than this one bomb. And the economic downturn, while not directly killing people, has been much more of a threat to many more people in this country and hinders our long term national security.

Posted by: tjs_dc | December 30, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Did this hit piece come from Weymouth-Murdoch directly or from scrap notes from Fred Barnes - Charles Karth-hummer that got rejected as too lame for their main-stream cluster-fox hit program lie-a-thon??

I can just see it now... you're sitting in your bathroom, picking your nose and writing this spew at the same time to make sure you hit a holiday deadline for newbees... and obviously wannbees... you turned out to be a nobody-gives-a-crap-what-you-dirt-bags-think-abee...

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | December 30, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This is not about Bush. It is about Obama. The CIA was warned about the Nigerian in November by the man's own father. At a minimum, his visa should have been revoked while the allegations were looked into. His travels to Yemen probably should have landed him on the no-fly list. There was a failure of major proportions here that, thankfully, ended without tragedy. Where does the buck stop in the Obama administration? Truman said it stops with the President.

Posted by: AnnReid | December 30, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

This is pathetic! Jo-Ann Arma, grow a spine. President Obama does not need to run home and hold your hand every time you get scared! Grow up, stop looking for excuses to criticize the president, and start trying to make this country better.

Posted by: mrp1975 | December 30, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

More proof that we need a real President, not a wind-up doll who repeatedly wets himself and knows only three phrases: "I'm corrupt" and "I'm incompetent" and "It's Bush's fault."

Posted by: Jerzy | December 30, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Ridiculous. This is NOT a bit like 9/11, it was a single incident, it was over by the time we knew of it, and there was no indication that there were dozens of these guys flying around, so what would Obama's flying back to Washington have accomplished?

Obviously the writer wishes to contrast Obama with Bush by bringing up 9/11. But maybe if Dumbya Bush had ever seen fit to interrupt his brush-clearing to fly back to Washington for more than a week at a time, he could have seen to the implementation of all the measures he promised...but he and Cheney were all talk and little action, as we now can all see for ourselves. If this is Republican "strength" on security issues, I'd hate to see their results in areas where they are weak! Oh wait, we already HAVE seen that - in the economy, health care, international relations, climate change, etc.--and it ain't pretty.

Posted by: threeoaksgone | December 30, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh spare us the cynical posturing! I don't recall Bush rushing back to DC after getting a report entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" or a major US city being devastated by a hurricane. The only time he rushed back to DC was to wrest control over the Schaivo family's gut-wrenching medical decision away to please conservative extremists.

The right never gets tired of cynically playing the 9-11 card. Now Perino and Matalin are out saying no terrorist incidents happened on Bush's watch, and Cheney is criticizing the administration for handling this episode...just like the Bush administration handled the shoe bomber incident.

I don't know what's scarier, the terrorists or the depths Republicans will sink to in exploiting fears of terrorism for their cynical, partisan ends. Thanks for enabling the worst elements of our society, Washington Post.

Posted by: aviate | December 30, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

No wonder, Wash-Post is losing subscribers and monies. Wasting space and ink on Armao and her types will drive anyone with a betz cell in his/her brain to cancel the subscription. Her comments are asinine. More so because she has forgotten what Bush was and did during 9/11, katrina etc. Atleast, this President has so far given the monies worth to the taxpayers by tackling so many issues, a task which was beyond the intellectual capabilities of both Dubya and Cheney.

Posted by: calexo | December 30, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

You mean the President is not entitled to a few days off during Xmas? I guess anybody writing a column during the Holidays would believe nobody should be relaxing and certainly not the President of the US who was elected to be on the job 24/7. This is the height of stupidity, only in the US is there a belief that people should not have vacations. Every day stuff happens that the President needs to be aware of, yet if you expect him to operate efficiently he still needs some time off to unwind.

Posted by: serban1 | December 30, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

This post can't possibly be serious. Is it April Fool's day already?

Posted by: celestind | December 30, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reality check James M Moylan. Wish everyone took note of the probability stats for terrorism vs real dangers we face daily. As for Armao, she should chill out in Yemen where she will face real danger vs imaginary ones. Have a great vacation, Mr. President.

Posted by: Edorampo | December 30, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Slowly, but surely, we are realizing what a joke we elected as president.
Even Ms. dowd is waking up.
Good by, Obama, good by Democratically contriolled Congress.

Posted by: texda | December 30, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

“The president of the United States is never really on vacation. The responsibilities of the nation's highest office can’t be shed and, ……, Obama can surely summon whatever resources he needs no matter his location……
By staying in Hawaii, the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious,(maybe to you) that things can proceed just fine until he’s back. And isn’t it that kind of reasoning that emboldens our never-vacationing enemies into thinking Christmas Day is the perfect time for them to strike?”

Well what is it? “whatever resources he needs no matter his location” or creating a perception?
Based on your comments; POTUS should announce a Christmas vacation to (pick a place) and then ramp up security to catch all the terrorists planning to catch the U.S. off guard. Is California, Alaska or Florida to far from D.C.?
I guess Obama could have hid out in Crawford TX, Camp David or better yet ..cheney's spider hole.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 30, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

A really stupid question. Try "why WASN'T FDR in Hawaii?"

Posted by: BarryOR | December 30, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Is Amaro a man or a women? You certainly cannot tell by the photo.

Posted by: wiatrol | December 30, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

“During Katrina, Rahm Emanuel, then a Democratic congressman, criticized Mr. Bush for not cutting his vacation short to return to Washington sooner. “He has to get off his mountain bike and back to work,” Mr. Emanuel said then.”

When the bomber failed was Washington D.C. washing out to sea as NOLA was? Will 2000 people die because of the failed bomb plot?

Billm32 wrote:
“It never ceases to amaze me how someone could actually be so totally vapid with their opinions. I have one question for you Armao. "Do you eat with that mouth??"”

Billm32 should have asked “Who do you know at the post who would pay you to write such a PUFF piece?”

To set the record straight, Ms Napolitano’s remark was -- "Once this incident occurred, the system worked," not “the system worked” which puts a very different spin on it?

Posted by: knjincvc | December 30, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

With all of the communications technology available, what would the president do in DC that he can't do elsewhere.

And for the record, no American has died in an airline terrorist attack since we got rid of the Republican chickenhawks.

Posted by: vinlander | December 30, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"Work situations vary, sure, but in my experience there’s always a lot less pressure when the boss is away."

So you say. Your boss must have taken off this week, for you to get away with posting this worthless piece.

Posted by: schroja | December 30, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao, what an an inane post. First of all, do you really think this is the most serious national security threat since 9/11? I would disagree. President Obama addressed the issue and agreed that mistakes had been made. what happened with the shoebomber? Pres. Bush responded 6 days later, and quite frankly, said little of substance. If your argument consists merely of the location from which he speaks, i am once again disappointed in WaPo printing such drivel. geez.

Posted by: klhood11 | December 30, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

And to think, just a few weeks ago you were complaining about TSA taking away your peanut butter - what a pathetic hack and waste of space you are...

Posted by: dwt301 | December 30, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's review the bidding. The actual oath of office says the President is supposed to protect the Constitution of the United States. Since 9/11 the public seems to have come to a general agreement that it's not about the Constitution at all, the President is supposed to keep the sheeple safe, whatever it takes. And now (Baaa!) it seems that since all safety is shown to be an illusion, the President's job is somehow to foster the illusion of safety, and make us feel all warm and safe *inside*.

Suck it up Jo-Ann. The President is a busy man. He can't come hold your hand every time you get a case of the willies.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 30, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What a silly commentary. Has the author never heard of delegation? Frankly, this is a relatively unimportant event for a country at war in two countries in addition to dealing with terrorism. Would he have the Commander in Chief reacting to every small event in a war. I doubt seriously that Churchill would have been focused on every failed bomb in the Blitz during the second world war.

Posted by: alistair3 | December 30, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Another, really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: stephenwhelton | December 30, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

This is the stupidest thing I have heard this year.

Armano, You have outdone Glen Beck!

There's only 1 more day for someone to top you. But, I think you will take home the trophy.

Posted by: manoak | December 30, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The thing that continually amazes me about Obama is that for someone who has gone as far as he has in politics, he really has a tin ear for it. Of COURSE he can do anything from Hawaii that he can do from DC, but should he? It's clear to anyone paying attention that he prefers to deal with New Deal-like domestic issues over national security. So when a terrorist attack happens,he goes golfing? Talk about his great speech making ability all you want, this man has a tin ear for politics.

Posted by: philster7656 | December 30, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm so fed up with the right wing crap being spewed at every opportunity. Jo Ann what was the message that Dick Cheney sent by ignoring all the warnings about Al Qaeda when the Bush administration came into office allowing for 9/11 to occur. There is NOTHING President Obama can do in Washington that he can't do in Hawaii. I actually think if he had run home to Washington it would look like he is "terrorized" by what just happened, thus giving in to the original intent of the "terrorist" attack. His cool, calm demeanor is what our country needs right now...not the cowboy drawing the line in the sand with his false bravado.

Posted by: robinred | December 30, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"By staying in Hawaii, the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious, that things can proceed just fine until he’s back."

Exactly! That's exactly the message he's projecting. I'm not sure why that's a problem for you. If you're worried about emboldening any enemies, you may want to refrain from your current strategy of pissing your pants every time they screw up.

Posted by: PBrazelton | December 30, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama is only pretending to be president. He might as well stay on vacation. Attacks will come regularly as the world becomes more and more convinced that the American government is no longer interested in protecting its people. I wonder how many Americans will have to die before someone gets angry enough to do something. You can compare events all you like to when Bush was in office (he's not there anymore for you liberals who can't think straight) but he isn't there now so it is time for the sitting president to become a standing one and put his change you can believe in a** to work. But alas, his agenda is to destroy the America that was founded in freedom and replace it with a government controlled dictatorship. Acts of terrorism only help his cause. Can the nation endure through the end of this one and only term? We'll see. If there is to be another change, Republicans better wise up and stand for something other than themselves. They haven't shown an ounce of courage since Reagan was in office. Even then, they hid behind him like scared rabbits.

Posted by: luigicorelli | December 30, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

This column is just another example of the pointless stupidity that dominates our political discourse. Sprinting back to Washington ("hotfooted" or otherwise) would have been the worst possible thing that Obama could have done. It would've created a climate of frenzy and panic, thus helping to terrorize the country even more (which is the goal, by definition, of Terrorists). The fact that Obama doesn't hysterically around like some sort of frightened chicken with his head cut off every time Al Qaeda sneezes (or swagger to the nearest camera to beat his chest and play the role of protective daddy-cowboy) is one of the most respectable things about him. As for Armao's "point" about how Napolitano probably took it easy because the "boss was away," and her belief that Terrorists will strike more on holidays if Obama isn't strapped to his chair in the Oval Office (as though he's the Supreme Airport Screener), those are so obviously stupid that it's hard to believe they found their way even into this paper.

What this column truly illustrates is that many people are addicted to the excitement and fear of Terrorist melodramas. They crave some of that awesome 9/12 energy, where we overnight became The Greatest Generation and (unified and resolute) rose to the challenge of a Towering, Evil Enemy. Armao is angry and upset because the leader didn't oblige her need to re-create that high drama by flamboyantly flying back to Washington to create a tense storyline, pick up a bullhorn, stand on some rubble, and personally make her feel "safe."

That's because Obama reacted as though this is exactly what it actually is: a lame, failed attempt to kill people by a fractured band of criminals. It's not the Cuban Missile Crisis or the attack on Pearl Harbor, as disappointing and unfulfilling as it is to accept that. It merits analysis, investigation and possibly policy changes by the responsible government agencies -- not a bright-red-alert, bell-ringing, siren-sounding government-wide emergency that venerates Al Qaeda into a threat so profound that the President can't even be away from Washington lest they get us all. As always, Al Qaeda's greatest allies are the ones in the U.S. who tremble with the most fear at the very mention of their name and who quite obviously crave a return of that stimulating, all-consuming, elevating 9/12 glory.

Posted by: routh | December 30, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Literally some of the stupidest stuff I've ever read in the Washington Post, even if I'm using "literally" incorrectly and even if there is no such word as "stupidest".

Posted by: lafusaro | December 30, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

There are two things keeping President Obama in Hawaii.

First, he's trying to figure out where his self-professed grade of B-Plus went;

Secondly, President Obama is wondering where his credibility has gone now that some baby-faced mass murderer failed to detonate his Old Ladies' Panties stuffed with explosives.

I'm sure his "Bluffers' Guide to the Presidency" will come up with some excuses and if that doesn't work, he can always blame Bush.

Posted by: AlongTheWatchTowers | December 30, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Guess what? Things aren't that serious. Or, rather, other things are serious, but the underwear bomber isn't.

There are two wars going on, there's a terrible economy, and there's health care reform to pass. The fact that some moron couldn't get his underwear to blow up is way down on the list.

No one died on that plane, but a lot of Americans were killed in Afghanistan today.

Posted by: JoeBuck1 | December 30, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh, another thing: the possibility that a terrorist will blow up a plane is not a serious threat to the nation's safety. It might be possible to kill a hundred people. But thousands of people die each year because of lack of access to health care, yet somehow the Post does not consider this much larger death toll to be a threat to the nation's safety. And making airplane travel so horrific that Americans abandon air travel and drive instead will result in hundreds of additional deaths on the roads. Nothing on your laps, no going to the bathroom. What a pointless excercise in security theater.

Posted by: JoeBuck1 | December 30, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

"...the president has sent the message that the situation really isn’t all that serious..."

Good. The situation ISN'T all that serious. Some guy tried to blow up his underwear on an airliner, and failed. Do you really think the President of the United States needs to react as if a major international incident occurred? Isn't that what our comically inept terrorist was hoping for in the first place?

Posted by: steambadger | December 30, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Reagan wouldn't have either lost sleep or left the ranch. It is hypocritical to urge Obama to do otherwise. A really dumb editorial.

Posted by: stevelaudig | December 30, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

If he kills his vacation and returns to D.C., haven't the terrorists "won"? I mean isn't this the whole point, to disrupt and scare us? President Obama is doing exactly the right thing, and Dick Cheney should be institutionalized

Posted by: katem2 | December 30, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

This has to be one of the dumber things I've read on the subject over the past few days. By all means let's get into a bed-wetting fit over the Undie Bomber. Good lord, the real terrorists must be laughing their a$$e$ off.

Posted by: tardis | December 30, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

No kidding! When Katrina hit New Orleans George Bush was there within a day.

When Richard Reid was arrested Bush went on television that day to reassure people.

Oh, wait. Wrong on both counts. Never mind. Carry on with the hysteria.

Posted by: ccates | December 30, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

And what, exactly, would be accomplished by the president cutting short his vacation?
Besides, or course, giving those "nihilistic dirt-bags"* in Yemen credibility by over-reacting to their botched attempt at blowing up an airliner? (* h/t to Rachel Maddow)
I am by no means a big fan of Mr. Obama, but I applaud him for not falling for the sort of fear-mongering that our corporate media thrives on. What boggles my mind is this: how, in this age of privation, high unemployment and massive foreclosures, can the likes of Ms. Armao actually draw a paycheck for writing this sort of drivel!?
Or maybe (editorial page editor) Fred Hiatt actually encourages it.
Is the beltway consensus really this morally bankrupt? Perhaps so... I suppose it shouldn't be surprising that nothing worthwhile happens in DC anymore, when the city's newspaper of record displays such ignorance on a regular basis.

Posted by: pointy | December 30, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Its vacation time in Washington too and the post had to call up Jo-Ann from the the practice squad to fill in. She is just upset that she is not in Hawaii. Of course the difference between this and Katrina is that people were dying and suffering for days when an alert president could have done something about it.

Posted by: Bowerguy1 | December 30, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Enough of the bedwetting. I see coward Dick Cheney has graced us with his presence... Talk about politicising an issue. Courage bedwetters! Life goes on even after failed terror attempts.

Posted by: wskytngo | December 31, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I disagree. Some idiot puts explosives in his underpants and the Prez needs to stop whatever and rush back to Washington DC to do WHAT? Buy some Balmex for the doofus? I like Obama's response (nothing but an idiot to see here, move on people), and wonder where you were and what you wrote when Bush and Condi ignored the August 8 PDB.

Posted by: catsmom | December 31, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree with nashvillemykl. The US President can lead from anywhere. He has the staff, equipment, and technology to help him execute his job from anywhere on the planet. In fact, Air Force One is his "Airborne Oval-Office". He has the capability of communicating to all critical people instantly including the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his Cabinet- while accessing the latest information (presidential briefs) at his fingertips.

"Hotfoot" back to DC...hrm. Kind of a waste of time I think. I think the President should just reassure the people that are trying to live peacefully that the US is doing everything in its power to ensure public safety on all flights and setting the standard for airline security for the rest of the world. We also should be developing new scanning technology to be used at airports across the US that can detect explosives and other dangerous materials using scanners that can "sweep" over crowds of people during the security check points.

Posted by: LongVo84 | December 31, 2009 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Even for The Post, Jo-Ann Armao is a stupid "writer".

Fred Hiatt has assembled the worst collection of war-loving alarmists ever assembled. Jo-Ann Armao fits so snugly with Fred Hiatt she seems like what Bill Kristol would be if he were a real woman.

Ms. Jo-Ann Armao, please retire. You are as stupid and pointless as Broder. How many nin-compoops does the Post need?

Posted by: wapoisrightwingrag | December 31, 2009 5:14 AM | Report abuse

WAKE UP!! We do not have a real president. Obama is NOT a leader of a free nation. He is a wannabe dictator of a slave state. He excuses the Muslims who want to kill us because he acts like he is one. If it walks like a duck, it is a duck! This imposter has almost completely ruined this country in just 12 months. He needs to be impeached!

Posted by: annnort | December 31, 2009 5:16 AM | Report abuse

George W. Bush was on vacation fully 35% of his presidency. Obama deserves some time off in a place he likes a few times a year, even if the racists and tea-bag morons don't like it.

Posted by: plantsmanfp3 | December 31, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

This article is beyond ludicrous. The Washington Post would have served it's readership better by having left the spot blank. Do you actually pay for this kind of drivel?

Posted by: LongBeachDave | December 31, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

What an ugly bag armao is but she is stupid as well. Apparently she doesn't know that moron w was on vacation during all of his 8 ill gotten years in office. Is this woman stupid or what as well as being ugly.

Posted by: davidsawh | December 31, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Vacations, something America needs to rethink. Maybe after we get the Employee Free Choice Act passed Americans will be on the road again, only this time in our hybrid vehicles. Enjoy your vacation Mr. President, your doing a superb job handling the mess that your predecessor left and there are many of us, the majority i'd bet, that trust your cool headedness.

Posted by: ajwftlauderdalefl | December 31, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

The Post has sunken to this. Pitiful. Like Obama or not, this reflexive drivel is pure
partisan bashing and not a thoughtful examination. To quote Salon's Glenn Greenwald:

"Scampering back to Washington -- "hotfooted" or otherwise -- would have been the worst possible thing that Obama could have done. It would have created a climate of frenzy and panic and thus helped to terrorize the country even more -- which, one might want to recall, is the goal, by definition, of Terrorists. The fact that Obama doesn't hysterically run around like some sort of frightened chicken with his head cut off every time Al Qaeda sneezes -- or swagger to the nearest camera to beat his chest and play the role of protective daddy-cowboy -- is one of the things I like best about him. As for Armao's "point" about how Janet Napolitano probably took it easy because the "boss was away" -- and her belief that Terrorists will strike more on holidays if Obama isn't affixed to his chair in the Oval Office, as though he's the Supreme Airport Screener: those are so self-evidently dumb it's hard to believe they found their way even into something written by one of Fred Hiatt's editorial writers."

Posted by: jb4362 | December 31, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

What would the soldiers that scampered, hotfooted up Omaha and Utah beaches think of our scared society today!

From Glenn Greenwald in Salon - "Scampering back to Washington -- "hotfooted" or otherwise -- would have been the worst possible thing that Obama could have done. It would have created a climate of frenzy and panic and thus helped to terrorize the country even more -- which, one might want to recall, is the goal, by definition, of Terrorists. The fact that Obama doesn't hysterically run around like some sort of frightened chicken with his head cut off every time Al Qaeda sneezes -- or swagger to the nearest camera to beat his chest and play the role of protective daddy-cowboy -- is one of the things I like best about him. As for Armao's "point" about how Janet Napolitano probably took it easy because the "boss was away" -- and her belief that Terrorists will strike more on holidays if Obama isn't affixed to his chair in the Oval Office, as though he's the Supreme Airport Screener: those are so self-evidently dumb it's hard to believe they found their way even into something written by one of Fred Hiatt's editorial writers".

Posted by: jgf0346 | December 31, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

And I'm sure the worthless bint who penned this crap was every bit as critical of GWB spending half his freaking presidency on his ranch, or hiding like a scared rabbit on 9/11. THAT was a marvelous show of leadership! The operative phrase for Ms Armao is STFU.

Posted by: jjcomet | December 31, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Right ! By the grace of God, Allah, the Force, the plane was saved. Not by any governmental action but by a brave individual. This individual was not federally subsidized, just a brave man. Had that bomb gone off his presidency was finished. I truly think that , that did not even enter his mind. He was thinking about another (206 to date) speech to assure the voters. He was clueless.

Posted by: tichy1 | December 31, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dear DRFJR------If you were on that plane I think you would not be treating it in such a blase' manner.

Posted by: tichy1 | December 31, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This woman MUST have a picture of someone high up at WaPo doing something funny with a duck in a closet to get her column printed.
Will her next column ask why Rush Limbaugh went to Hawaii to have chest pains.

Posted by: knjincvc | December 31, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

the stupid is so think on the Wa Post-Times editorial pages that I am shocked that the paper doesn't just turn to ashes. Following bush, who set the 8 year record for vacations in less than 5 years, this is just silly.

Posted by: durk2 | December 31, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The idea, the insinuation, that the physical location of the president could have any slight effect on anyone bent on trying to kill people, is absurd. Preposterous.

Running screaming through the hallways when there is a fire doesn't help anyone. There IS a fire. And allegedly the US is addressing that very fire, with more fire.

Every time a bomb intended to get "insurgents", kills and maims civilians, in Africa, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., the USA feeds the fire that creates terrorists. Lots and lots of them.

The day the US realizes that fact, is the day we will begin to address terrorism at its roots. Now, we're just playing musical chairs.

Posted by: redd_green1 | December 31, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ms Armao is as usual wrong about the President. She would find fault with his actions regardless of what they might be - that's a given for most republicans these days and Armao is nothing if not a good complainer for the right wing. There is nothing Obama can do in Washington about this situation that he can't do in Hawaii so I hope he won't be pressured by the right into chasing the ever elusive image. He needs his rest and a break. This is his second brief vacation in a year in office. By this time, his predecessor had over 4 months of vacation logged. In fact, Bush logged 992 days of vacation - the most ever by any president, beating the previous record hold (Reagan) by over 100 days. He averaged over 4 months a year of vacation every year. Let Obama rest.

Posted by: fahlstrom | December 31, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

No doubt the writer, and the other Post neocons, would be happier if Obama did more "manly" things like cutting brush on his vacations, in a less "foreign" place like Texas.
This is just more proof that the Republicans and their hangers-on won't be happy with the president no matter what he does (it is an insult to their world-view that he is president at all) so he may as well do just as he pleases and considers right. Let them whine. They lost.

Posted by: kstack | December 31, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann Armao doesn't like the quality of political theater coming from the Obama Administration? I guess we know how Bush/Cheney got away with such colossal incompetence all those years: their grandstanding was World Class, and Armao and her colleagues at the WaPo ate it up. Hawaii isn't D.C., and we all know those D.C. reporter/pundits hate it when the Center of the Universe crosses the Potomac, eh?

Posted by: eztempo | December 31, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama should have cut short his vacation and headed straight for Washington because some "terrorist" singed his own crotch? And what was Obama supposed to do in Washington? Tackle the guy? Apply a salve? But the "terrorist" had been flying to Detroit, not Washington, and somebody had already tackled the guy, and presumably salves have been applied since then. Not a lot left for a president to do, except maybe rally the demoralised victims. Oh wait, there weren't any.

Oh, now I get it. We have to act swiftly and decisively against "terrorists" who singe their own crotches because otherwise they'll all be at it, and then where will we be? Singeing crotches is our job, not theirs!

I put the word "terrorist" in quotes because a real terrorist has to be somebody who invokes terror. Are you really terrified by the actions of this deranged sap, or by the prospect that more saps might do the same? Do you really think that this "appears to be the most serious threat to the nation’s safety since 9/11"? Really??

Posted by: MTGradwell | January 1, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

DHS was totally disfuncitional BEFORE it formally became DHS. It is better today,but still broken.
The President can be anywhere and begin to force it's improvment. Being in DC would neither quicken nor improve the quality of that improvment.
Don't forget it was Congress which voted against funs for full body scanners.
We the electorate are the ones to blame for a lot of the cdurrent problem, which as I said will not be quickly solved since each agency has it's own culture and backside to protect.

Posted by: prescam1 | January 1, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Where does the Post find these idiots? What's Armao's claim to fame? Is she some ex-Bushie like Gerson or just a run of the mill loser like Hiatt?

Obama could have flown around aimlesslly like Bush after 9-11, but instead, he did what presidents do. Hawaii is a state, after all, and West Coasters go there, the way East Coasters visit Cape Cod or the DelMarVa. And Rush Limbaugh, that great GOP leader turned out to be there, too.

Posted by: thebuckguy | January 1, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

America has become a nation of spoiled, frightened, greedy little children willing to sacrifice their neighbors and values for financial gain or a false sense of security. This selfish childish behavior is exemplified by Jo-Ann Armao's high school girl response to a crime. Jo-Ann Armao and her fear-mongering ilk will hasten this once great nations demise.

Posted by: guzzgraphx | January 2, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

what world does this woman live on...really? How did she get to post a column - any column - with the Washington Post? The immediacy this particular terror threat is over.

The President has publicly declared that communications between several agencies broke down, declared that a review will be performed regarding what went wrong and how.

I resent the implication that running the US Government isn't much different from office politics where the boss comes in to put pressure on cubicle workers.

Where did the Washington Post get this woman? who is she?

Posted by: shiznaw | January 3, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

(This editorial was just reprinted in my local paper today.)

Funny, in your picture on-line you don't look like a 4-year-old, but you certainly sound like one.

Daddy rushing home is going to save you... how exactly?

Posted by: rgwilson | January 3, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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