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America’s attention-deficit-disorder politics

“This is not theater.”

That was President Obama’s answer in Dallas this week to critics who pronounced he should have left to a limit to see firsthand a mass immigration of unparalleled minors that has unexpected seized Washington’s attention.

But a boss is wrong. The terror, abuse and pang of children shouldn’t be theater, though it is. All a domestic universe currently is a stage. Our inhabitant discourse has turn a array of one-act plays: Each runs for a week or two, a critics proffer their reviews of a president’s performance, and afterwards it closes usually as fast — perhaps, like Benghazi, Libya, to be regenerated for a second run during a after date.

This week, Washington’s thespians are chorusing about a limit crisis. Is it Obama’s fault? Has he mishandled it? The limit conditions will be many a same a integrate of weeks from now, though it’s a protected gamble that a domestic universe will have changed on to another one-act show. My nomination: Whether Obama is to censure for a torrent of assault in Israel and a Palestinian territories.

So it has been going for months. Two weeks ago, a uncover was about a IRS and Lois Lerner’s blank e-mails. A week before that, Washington was low in a clearly existential discuss about a terrorists who had overrun many of Iraq and Syria. Two weeks before that, a play was about a Bowe Bergdahl restrained barter with a Taliban. Two weeks earlier, it was about a veterans’ medical scandal. A week before that, a play was about a kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria. A week earlier, there had been a brief reprise of a Benghazi show, since a formerly different request had surfaced. Before that was a one-act play about Ukraine.

Such is a courtesy necessity commotion that has come to trouble a politics. Those Nigerian schoolgirls are still missing. The conditions in Iraq is each bit as grave as it was when Washington was profitable attention, and maybe some-more so. Ukraine is still flighty and veterans still aren’t removing a turn of use they deserve. But now we caring usually about either Obama’s disaster to revisit a border was his “Katrina moment,” after George W. Bush’s diseased initial response to a hurricane.

There are many (including a media) to censure for withdrawal Washington in need of a organisation rate for Ritalin. Republicans had for years spent many of their exhale on dual issues – stagnation and Obamacare – though both have mislaid domestic intensity now that pursuit expansion is accelerating and a medical law has stabilized.

Lacking another widespread issue, they’re perplexing a flavor-of-the-week approach. This drifting Congress (which creates no bid to set a legislative agenda) leaves a opening for Capitol Hill’s troublemakers to take adult issues usually to see what domestic repairs they competence cause.

Obama, too, has had a bit of an courtesy necessity problem. In a final integrate of weeks, for example, he has bounced in each direction, vocalization about, among other things, a border, a economy, education, immigration, a highway bill, executive actions, happy rights and veterans. The brag pulpit isn’t what it used to be, though a boss still can concentration a nation’s courtesy on a subject if he hammers divided during it relentlessly. Bush did this. Obama chooses not to.

As Washington drifts, a open follows. In final month’s Pew Research Center poll, that magnitude a commission of Americans following vital stories closely, a tip story was veterans’ healthcare, followed by Iraq and a IRS. None of those was among a tip stories a prior month, when a Nigerian abduction dominated. Before that, it was a blank Malaysian airlines flight. Before that: cold weather.

A decade ago, a Iraq fight customarily dominated open attention. In new years, a economy, and to a obtuse limit Obamacare, did a same. For a initial time in years, there’s no overarching predicament during home or abroad, and Obama can take some compensation in that. But a nation’s erratic courtesy will usually wear if Obama doesn’t try to assistance it focus.

A tip Obama advisor, justifying a preference not to send Obama to a border, told me this week that a hullabaloo would waste in a integrate of weeks, even as a crisis, and a administration’s response, continue. That’s substantially so, though it does a boss no good to piously evade theatrics. If he embraces his intensity as writer, writer and director, he can theatre a improved production.


Twitter: @Milbank

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Read more:

Charles Krauthammer: The immigration no-brainer

Fareed Zakaria: Obama caves on Syria

Greg Sargent: Mitch McConnell and a celebration of limit deportations

Dana Milbank: Where is Obama’s “lawlessness”?

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-americas-attention-deficit-disorder-politics/2014/07/11/ae12bd4e-0903-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html

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