By: Chris Riley

Definitions of “leadership” vary among the many volumes that reduce leadership to bullet-points by authors hoping to debut on the bestseller list. But implicit in any definition–no matter how erudite, no matter how basic–lays this simple truth: a leader must demonstrate basic awareness of the most pressing issues.

Barack Obama, with electrifying platitudes and purposeful ambiguity, earned a reputation for saying nothing despite saying much–a trait evoking Voltaire’s classic line: “men use speech to conceal their thoughts.” Yet, on those occasions where he actually does say something, it ain’t all that pretty.

In an unusually specific campaign video, Obama promises to “slow the development of future combat systems.” He vows that he will not weaponize space and will instead “cut investment in unproven missile defense systems.” And, in Mondale-like manner (I once thought no one would ever duplicate Mondale), he will “not develop new nuclear weapons” and will “reduce our nuclear arsenals” by negotiating with Russia. (You can view the video simply by visiting our website here.)

So much for peace through strength.

In the waning days of his indolent presidency, James Buchanan introduced himself as the “last president of the United States”–a tacit acceptance of the confederacy to come. He said nothing while the House tabled a resolution authorizing the president to call out state militias. He acquiesced when the Senate requested funding reductions in the War Department. He failed to see the most pressing issue of his day. And

nearly three percent of the nation’s population died in the four years that followed.

Obama demonstrates similar aloofness. At a time when Iran daily rattles its sword and insists upon nuclear missile production–at a time when we remain engaged in a vigilant (and distant) war on terror–at a time when the world’s dangers are multiplying, he wants to cut resources devoted to national security.

Thanks for the specifics. But what about a little thinking to go along with it?

Memorial Day presents the sadly annual occasion for us to remind ourselves that freedom isn’t free. Freedom comes with a heavy price tag–both in lives and money–because of the many who, for their own reasons, want to take it away. Obama’s commitment to discount shopping for national security proves that he doesn’t fully understand the issues. And it proves, more vividly than any missing lapel pin, that the man isn’t ready to be a leader.

Chris Riley, an Indiana attorney, is the St. Joseph County, Indiana Republican Party Chairman.  The presence of this guest, or any other guest, does not indicate their endorsement of every view expressed on this website.