Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dowd on Obama's "Leadership"

This is excellent. She has nailed Obama's problems as "leader". Here is a bit from Maureen Dowd's NY Times op-ed column:
Our president likes to be on both sides at once.

In Afghanistan, he wants to go but he wants to stay. He’s surging and withdrawing simultaneously. He’s leaving fewer troops than are needed for a counterinsurgency strategy and more troops than are needed for a counterterrorism strategy — and he seems to want both strategies at the same time. Our work is done but we have to still be there. Our work isn’t done but we can go.

On Libya, President Obama wants to lead from behind. He’s engaging in hostilities against Qaddafi while telling Congress he’s not engaging in hostilities against Qaddafi.

On the budget, he wants to cut spending and increase spending. On the environment, he wants to increase energy production but is reluctant to drill. On health care, he wants to get everybody covered but will not press for a universal system. On Wall Street, he assails fat cats, but at cocktail parties, he wants to collect some of their fat for his campaign.

On politics, he likes to be friends with the other side but bash ’em at the same time. For others, bipartisanship means transcending their own prior political identities. For President Obama, it means that he participates in all political identities. He does not seem deeply affiliated with any side except his own.

He was elected on the idea of bold change, but now — except for the capture of Osama and his drone campaign in Pakistan and Yemen — he plays it safe. He shirks politics as usual but gets all twisted up in politics.

The man who was able to beat the Clintons in 2008 because the country wanted a break from Clintonian euphemism and casuistry is now breaking creative new ground in euphemism and casuistry.
Obama was elected under the banners of "hope" and "change you can believe in". But he is delivering the same old back room political dealing and the kind of cynical half measures which makes people want to puke when they think about politicians:
As a community organizer, Obama developed impressive empathetic gifts. But now he is misusing them. It’s not enough to understand how everybody in the room thinks. You have to decide which ones in the room are right, and stand with them. A leader is not a mediator or an umpire or a convener or a facilitator.

Sometimes, as Chris Christie put it, “the president has got to show up.”

With each equivocation, the man in the Oval Office shields his identity and cloaks who the real Barack Obama is.
Obama lied his way to the top. He sold himself as one thing and delivered something substantially less. He is still far superior to the idiocy that the Republican party puts on offer, but his indecisiveness and vacillation leaves his administration in a muddle. Instead of leading America out of the Great Recession, his half measures leaves the country mired in a mess. It will take a new president either 2 years from now or 6 years from now to finally grab the country by the ears and yank it painfully out of the quagmire it is in. In the meantime tens of millions will live blighted lives because Obama can't be decisive.

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