I’m going to give President Obama some high praise for doing something one doesn’t often hear from people in high office.
He has acknowledged what he says is his “worst mistake.”
What’s more, he did it in a forum that is considered hostile territory.
The president appeared on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend and told host Chris Wallace the worst mistake of his presidency was failing to plan adequately for the fall of the late Libyan dictator/tyrant/despot Moammar Gadhafi.
When do presidents do such a thing? Did Richard Nixon ever say he erred by recording those conversations in the White House; has Jimmy Carter ever said his biggest mistake was ordering the mission to rescue the Iran hostages; did George W. Bush ever acknowledge the Iraq War was a mistake?
OK, so the president didn’t take the heat for the Libya mess by himself. He heaped some blame in British Prime Minister David Cameron for being distracted at the time of Gadhafi’s downfall.
I do give Obama credit, though, for admitting to a lack of planning as the world watched the chaos unfold in Libya. The so-called “Arab Spring” went into full bloom in Tripoli as rebels took over the government, captured the dictator — and then killed him.
It got worse, of course, as the U.S. consulate in Benghazi came under attack and four Americans died in the melee. Perhaps some adequate planning could have forestalled that event, yes?
The president’s greatest triumph? Without question, he said, it was his decision to jump-start the economy with stimulus packages upon taking office. I won’t argue with him on that. The economy was in free-fall and something needed to be done quickly.
It might be, too, that the president deserves props for telling all this to a broadcast journalist employed by a media outlet known as being patently unfriendly to politicians of Obama’s particular leaning.
I’ll give some to him for that alone.
Sure, there can be some debate on “worst mistakes” of the Obama presidency. Some might rank his failure to act on Syria crossing the “red line” when it used chemical weapons; others might rank the president’s unfortunate description of the Islamic State as the “JV team.”
The Libya coup aftermath, though, surely ranks as a critical error.
It’s just rare to hear a politician actually admit to making such a mistake.