(I have wrestled to the floor past urges to write a post like this, but this time, I think I have to.)
In May, I concluded a post about the “scandal trifecta” with this:
“Four years of hyperpartisan, arrogant, irresponsible, rudder-less and badly managed government have had the predictable result, and I will be stunned if we have yet seen the worst of it.”
I was not stunned, unfortunately. And we may see worse yet. We probably will.
May 2013 was far from the first time I noted the apparent vacuum of leadership in the Oval Office. Two years earlier, when the Administration was breaching security to take credit for Bin Laden’s death, I wrote, “To hell with “Hope and Change”…I’ll settle for responsibility and competence.” Of course, we have gotten neither, nor did I expect a different result even then. I didn’t expect a different result in January of 2009, to be frank. Oh, I hoped, as I think almost everyone but Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell did, that Obama would prove adept at the job he had the audacity to seek. Some Presidents with leadership credentials almost as thin as Obama’s have turned themselves into competent executives, though I suspect that those successes had the self-awareness and humility to know that they had some learning to do, as Obama does not. They also did not have a chorus of sycophants in the media and the public telling them how magical they were. It was quickly obvious, however, that President Obama’s concept of leadership was (and is) to give speeches, raise campaign funds, appoint loyalists, and sit back while they do the best job they can until they royally screw up, then express surprise and disappointment and let the same people have another crack at it.
And lie, of course. Can’t forget that.
Since May, this non-management, anti-leadership approach has brought the U.S. two or four more disasters, depending on how you count. The Syria botch continues to get people killed and embolden our enemies, particularly Iran. The NSA, we now learn, was spying on world leaders, and Obama’s head of the NSA, asked about the matter, diplomatically shrugged and said, in essence, “Yeah, and so what?” Of course, he still has his job. These embarrassments were pushed from the front pages by the ridiculous roll-out of the ACA website, which didn’t work and doesn’t work, and the realization that the President’s pledge that no one should fear his health care law because if you liked your doctors and current plan, you could keep them, was not merely a falsehood but a carefully calculated one.
And it is only 2013. There are three years to go. Obama’s approval ratings, according to some polls, are now as low as 40%. Good. That number is appropriate, and it is worse than it looks, including as it does a large sub-group which has made it very clear since 2008 that this President’s performance and demonstrated competence are irrelevant to their support of him, as long as he remains the right color. Maybe, since the White House is so poll conscious, the 40% will shock the President into doing what he had an obligation to do five years ago, and which is to try to learn how to be President. I could recommend some books, and some role models. But this is unlikely. And it is tragic.
I was moved to post an “I told you so” by a dispiriting piece today in the reliably liberal Los Angeles Times.
“We simply cannot afford to perpetuate a system in Washington where politicians and bureaucrats make decisions behind closed doors, with little accountability for the consequences … and where outdated technology and information systems undermine efficiency, threaten our security and fail to serve an engaged citizenry.”
Pretty funny, no? Or ironic…or infuriating. President Obama, however, simply believes that it’s what you say that counts, not whether your words have any nexus, intended or otherwise, to reality. Later, the Times’ reporters quote our very own Bob Stone, a.k.a. Ethics Bob, who often comments here. Bob tells the Times…
“It’s hard to see that the president has really had any interest in actually managing the government.”
I would argue, and perhaps Bob, a good Democrat who has often found me to be too critical of Obama, might finally agree, is that this is because he doesn’t have the skills to manage, or lead. Like most of us, Barack Obama wants to stick to what he knows, and what he is good at. Unfortunately for him and us, that just isn’t good enough if you are the President of the United States.
[Note: Of my many posts about the President’s adamant refusal to learn his craft, the most recent is here. You might also—well, enjoy isn’t exactly the word, since re-reading them now make me bang my head on my desk—want to revisit here, here, here, here, here, or here.]
Source: LA Times