Obama's Ferguson Critics Are Off Base

Criticism that he's too wishy-washy about shooting is misguided: pundits

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 21, 2014 11:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, President Obama has taken flak for not speaking more forcefully—or more personally—about it. (Eric Holder, for instance, has recounted his own troubles with police as a black man in America.) Well, the president's critics are wrong, writes Charles Lane at the Washington Post. The last thing we need is more "emotional rhetoric." Pundits are free to say what they want, but Obama "has actual responsibilities, of which the most pressing are to keep a highly dangerous situation from getting any worse and to supervise an impartial investigation of the horrific event that led up to it."

At the Root, David Swerdlick makes a similar case, arguing that the president's measured comments have been "exactly right" so far. "Although there are a lot of different voices that can underscore the racial injustice that surrounds Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown, there’s only one person who can direct FBI resources and order the Justice Department to investigate a civil rights violation: Obama," he writes. "And I’d rather see someone who does understand black anger fulfilling that role rather than focusing on making speeches." Looking for a rebuttal? Maureen Dowd would love to see Obama flash some black anger. "Why should the president neutralize himself?" she asks in the New York Times. "Why doesn’t he do something bold and thrilling? Get his hands dirty? Stop going to Beverly Hills to raise money and go to St. Louis to raise consciousness?" Click for her full column, or Swerdlick's, or Lane's.

President Obama speaks at the White House on Monday.
President Obama speaks at the White House on Monday.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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