June 17 2014

Night and Day: Mr. Obama's Busy Schedule

Charlotte Hays

One of President Obama’s favorite expressions is that he will not rest until…whatever crisis has popped up is settled. In the past, for example, he liked to say the he would “not rest until everybody has a job.” In a similar vein the president said last week in a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that his “team is working around the clock” on the Iraq debacle.

With the "will not rest" meme fresh in my mind, I hit upon White House Dossier’s presidential schedule for today:  

10:00 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
10:50 am || Departs White House
Noon || Arrives Pittsburgh
1:25 pm || Tours TechShop Pittsburgh
1:45 pm || Delivers remarks and answers questions; TechShop Pittsburgh
3:25 pm || Departs Pittsburgh
4:35 pm || Arrives New York City
5:25 pm || Attends a fundraiser for Senate Democrats; Intercontinental Hotel, New York
8:05 pm || Deliver remarks at a DNC LGBT fundraiser; Gotham Hall, New York City
9:00 pm || Attends a DNC fundraiser; private residence, New York City
10:40 pm || Departs New York
11:50 pm || Arrives White House

This is the schedule of the president of the United States in a grim week that feels as consequential as—say—the fall of Saigon to many Americans of a certain vintage. These are catalclysmic times (as summed up in a brilliant essay by Frank Buckley).  

I don’t doubt for a minute that the White House goes where the president goes and that it is possible to work anywhere. But this is the schedule of the man who is at the center of history but doesn’t quite see that history is very busy this week. President Obama likes to talk about the "arc of history." It's the events that he doesn't get.

The president's schedule for today puts me in mind of the English politician who had a famous letter published in the Telegraph. It was about walking through a London park on the first day of spring and seeing the crocuses in bloom.

The next day Czechslovakia was invaded.

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