Having encountered this immediately prior to last night’s debate among the Democratic contenders for the 2016 Presidential race, the praise heaped on Barack Obama’s abysmal record, repeated defiance of law and ignorance of basic leadership mandates—never honestly identified as such, of course—approached head-exploding levels of dissonance. It briefly subsided when Jim Webb, answering the question of what the candidates would do differently, so diplomatically delivered damning criticism that I doubt many in the room realized it. He said in part…
[If] there would be a major difference between my administration and the Obama administration, it would be in the use of executive authority…I have a very strong feeling about how our federal system works and how we need to lead and energize the congressional process instead of allowing these divisions to continue to paralyze what we’re doing. So I would lead — working with both parties in the Congress and working through them in the traditional way that our Constitution sets up…
Translation: Under Obama, the Constitution has been violated repeatedly because this President won’t deign to work closely with Congress, and has chosen instead to govern by executive fiat, which is not how the Constitution requires laws to be made.
He also said he would lead, which he undoubtedly would do. Obama, just two days earlier in his “60 Minutes” interview, demonstrated yet again why he can’t lead. He is incapable of accepting accountability for what he does, and what those under his authority do. Sometimes the utter awfulness of his values, usually because of his narcissism, makes me want to challenge his supporters to defend what is manifestly indefensible.
This is such a time.
Here is the section of the Steve Kroft interview:
STEVE KROFT: You have been talking a lot about the moderate opposition in Syria. It seems very hard to identify. And you talked about the frustrations of trying to find some and train them. You had a half-a-billion dollars from congress to train and equip 5,000, and at the end, according to the commander of CENTCOM, you got 50 people, most of whom are, are dead or deserted. He said you’ve got four or five left.
BARACK OBAMA: Steve, this is why I’ve been skeptical from the get-go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria.
Wait—what??? This was Obama’s policy! He was brushing off a massive and expensive failure by saying he never really believed in it in the first place! Can anyone point me to any previous President or competent leader of any kind (Robert E. Lee: “Yeah, I always thought that Pickett’s Charge thing was a bad idea.” Roberto Goizueta: “I wasn’t surprised that New Coke flopped…I hated the stuff, myself.”) who would so brazenly deny accountability for his own fiasco?
If you want to know why Congress, which Obama persuaded to spend a half-billion dollars for a policy Obama now says he didn’t think would work, doesn’t trust this President, here is your answer. Nobody can trust a leader like this.
So outrageous was this that MSNBC, which normally refuses to admit that the President is anything but perfect, was stunned. Host Willie Geist asked Washington Post foreign policy columnist David Ignatius, “It cost about $500 million for five trained fighters. And he said you know what, I didn’t really like that policy from the beginning. And Steve Kroft asked him, well then why did you go forth with it? Are you surprised at the way the president has talked so openly about his own disdain for that policy?
“It was weird to me, Willie, in that he spoke almost like a man vindicated when a policy of his own administration had collapsed in failure. And he was, he took the line almost of, see, I told you so.”
That’s exactly what he was trying to say. This is pathological narcissism. He cannot admit that he is fallible, or resist the impulse to blame others for his mistakes. Having such a person in a position of power is dangerous….as we are learning.