Presidents differ in their styles when it comes to receiving the daily intelligence briefing. Reportedly, George W. Bush liked a face to face briefing where he could ask questions. Bill Clinton preferred written reports and sending questions back.
Word is that Barack Obama also likes to receive written material. He’s clearly not keen, however, on getting in-person briefings and has attended just 42.1% of such meetings since taking office according to a Government Accountability Institute report.
How a president gets his information is not nearly as critical as whether he understands and absorbs what he’s receiving.
Intelligence personnel assert that Obama learned the extent of the growing ISIS threat eighteen months ago or at least that’s what they thought. Just because they sent him all the information doesn’t necessarily mean that he read it.
As a mother, I’m constantly reminding my children that it’s not just good enough to carry a book around in your backpack. You won’t do well on the test unless you actually read the material. Fortunately, I have kids who heed this advice but not everyone does.
That gave me an idea.
If President Obama insists on receiving written intelligence briefings why doesn’t the intelligence community take steps to verify that he’s actually perusing these reports?
It’s pretty simple.
They could just attach a quiz at the end of each report. He could fill it in and return it for grading.
The quiz wouldn’t have to be long or full of trick questions. Even the most basic queries could at least assure that the president is on the right track when it comes to future terrorist threats.
For example, there could be a question about the estimated number of ISIS terrorists. How many of these are Americans? Nothing needs to be too difficult. Just ask enough to make certain that the president knows what’s going on and can’t claim later that he had no idea all manner of evil that was happening under his watch.
A quiz is just one way to accomplish this goal.
Every year, my younger son needs colored pencils for school for the sole purpose of coloring maps. So how about this idea? Each week, the intelligence community could also give President Obama a map of Syria and Iraq and ask him to color the map to show what territory is controlled by ISIS and which sections are in the control of the Kurds or Bashar al-Assad.
If it makes him happy, he could color the ISIS areas in red since he already associates that color with something evil.
Reportedly, Obama likes using his IPAD. Several apps allow you to color on maps and pictures with your finger. If he feels that colored pencils are too juvenile, maybe the map could just appear daily on his device and he could fill it in with his finger or a stylus bearing the presidential seal.
Educators always say that you shouldn’t reward students for good work with some form of bribe so offering him, for example, a new golf club for exceptionally good work may not be a good idea. Then again if things get really desperate, I wouldn’t entirely rule this out.
Obama is described as a genius by his fans, so this should all be very easy for him and give citizens confidence that he’s really doing his job.
At this point, anything is worth a try.