Just because some of his most ardent detractors can’t walk and chew gum at the same time does not mean the president of the United States should be criticized for having the envious ability to multitask.

Let the media talking heads, inside-the-Beltway pontificators and particularly the clueless Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill remember that Barack Obama was elected to be the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, not to be president of an elementary school PTA.

He is expected to show leadership on a multitude of complex issues, and thank God he has the capacity and the energy to tackle those problems at a time when the nation is involved in two wars and wrestling with the most devastated economy since the Great Depression.

Obama’s intellect and his youthfulness are serving the country well at this crucial time in our history. Unlike some leaders in the past, he is not compelled to be in bed by 9 p.m. or in need of a daily nap to remain alert and focused on his ambitious and worthy agenda.

The president, who’s only been in office a few weeks, hit the ground running, and he hasn’t let up despite the lame attempts to ridicule him because he’s invited music back to the White House, has gone out on a date with his wife to attend a dance recital and actually appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.

How dare he have a relaxing couple of hours in the evening, much less actually laugh out loud on television during a time of national crisis?

Surely he can appear more dour when seen in public, some suggest. And the very thought that a basketball-loving individual, once he became president, would dare comment on something so frivolous as the NCAA playoff bracket at the start of March Madness is seen by critics as not only ludicrous but unforgiveable.

The naysayers argue that the president should devote all of his attention to the economic crisis and let all the other crises wait. Wait? For what? And for how long?

Folks, get used to it. This president is proving that he can lead on myriad fronts while undoing so much of the damage left behind by the past administration.

Obama is living up to his campaign promises of putting plans in place to bring our troops home from Iraq and close down the embarrassing detention operation at Guantanamo Bay. Those are things that could not wait.

He is moving forward with proposals to transform the nation’s healthcare system and to redirect the nation toward new energy sources, making us less dependent on foreign oil. By the way, these issues also are economic ones, so why wait?

With the stroke of a pen he undid the ban on government funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, renewed support for family planning programs in foreign countries and did away with torture of detainees, all things that did not need to wait.

The president, with a plate full of domestic issues, has let it be known that he will have an active role in seeking a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as trying to end the genocide in Sudan. Last week, he appointed retired Air Force Gen. J. Scott Gration, a man raised in Africa and fluent in Swahili, as special envoy to the trouble-plagued African nation. When people are starving and dying, why wait?

In addition, this administration has moved ahead with expansion of AmeriCorps by tripling the number of slots for the service program, and it is increasing the number of federal agents on the U.S.-Mexico border to confront the growing threat from the Mexican drug cartels. Neither needed to wait.

Besides all of that, the Obama White House has done something else that the Bush administration refused to do. Last week, according to The Associated Press, it formally endorsed a United Nations statement which calls for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.

“The United States was the only Western nation not to sign on to the declaration when it came up at the U.S. General Assembly in December,” the wire service said.

One shouldn’t wait when it comes to protecting human rights.

With all of that to deal with, the president still has time to hold town hall meetings, go to the NATO summit and, yes, appear on “The Tonight Show,” where he announced that the first family will make time and a place for a dog.

As he told Leno, “You know, they say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Luckily, this multitasking president still has a lot more friends than enemies in the country.

That infuriates his detractors. But so what?

They’ll just have to wait for eight years when a new president comes into office.