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May 2, 2011, 07:38 AM ET
A death kills a meme

by John Gasaway

Every year the president fills out a bracket, and every year critics say what a terrible thing it is that our commander in chief “dithers” with such trivia while the world goes to pot.

This year was no different. On March 15, ESPN’s Andy Katz was in the Oval Office for the annual unveiling of President Obama’s bracket. But late last night we learned that the president also found time to do other things that week.

On March 14, Mr. Obama held the first of what would be five national security meetings in the course of the next six weeks to go over plans for the operation.

The meetings, attended by only the president’s closest national security aides, took place as other White House officials scrambled to avert a possible government shutdown over the budget.

If you want the best modern examples of presidents who never did anything frivolous, I commend to your inspection Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. The former was notorious for insisting that meetings with his aides continue while he sat on the toilet. The latter summoned the press to the beach for a “Look! I can dither!” photo op, only to be universally mocked for strolling on the sand in oxfords and creased suit pants.

If these are your exemplars of laudatory executive diligence, I wish you luck. As for me, every sane adult I have ever known dithers now and then. Let us have no more of this meme.

Twitter: @JohnGasaway. Contact: here.

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