Free Markets, Free People

Lesson learned?

Simon Heffer of the UK Telegraph pens a fascinating look at the Obama administration’s problems.  Heffer finds the difficulties of President Obama and his team to be a result of their inability to manage “expectations”. The promise of the campaign has not translated into a promising presidency by any stretch.  And the reasons are legion.  But among the most obvious:

Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry, in which most of the media participated with an astonishing suspension of cynicism.

Heffer notes that the “sound of the squealing of brakes is now audible all over the American press”, but of course, it’s two years too late. Unlike the determined and concentrated “vetting” of Sarah Palin by the press, things that would have been headlines if it were her, were virtually ignored when it came to Obama. A giant FAIL for the press and the result is sitting in the White House, looking less and less capable every day. Has that lesson been learned or will we be treated to another liberal savior in days and years to come? I opt for the latter and will be interested to again hear the press lament its continued decline as a result.

However, you can bet the press will now try to make up for its malfeasance with a vengeance. And thus the analogy to “squealing brakes” as it stops and changes direction, hoping to salvage some semblance of credibility with the reading, viewing and listening public.

Heffer also notes the telltale signs of a disintegrating administration.

It is a universal political truth that administrations do not begin to fragment when things are going well: it only happens when they go badly, and those who think they know better begin to attack those who manifestly do not. The descent of Barack Obama’s regime, characterised now by factionalism in the Democratic Party and talk of his being set to emulate Jimmy Carter as a one-term president, has been swift and precipitate. It was just 16 months ago that weeping men and women celebrated his victory over John McCain in the American presidential election. If they weep now, a year and six weeks into his rule, it is for different reasons.

Despite desperate attempts to characterize the failure to pass any of its agenda items into law on the opposition party, the Democrats have had the power for a year to pass anything – anything – without a single GOP vote. The failure is not a result of Republican opposition or disagreement, but opposition and disagreement within their own party. And only now, at the 11th hour with the whole health care reform agenda circling the drain and having lost their supermajority in the Senate does Barack Obama step forward and try to lead.

Meanwhile, the infighting goes on, the scapegoat has been fingered (Rham Emanuel) if failure is the result, and the clueless advisers who’ve managed this mess to this point give us Alfred E. Newman’s best “who me?” For those of us who oppose the Obama agenda, it’s been a thankful reprieve from something we pretty much counted on as being inevitable. Some of us remember the Jimmy Carter administration – and not fondly. Again, thankfully, the Obama administration is turning into the Carter administration on steroids.

Speaking of administrations, Heffer points out that, Obama faces what another Democratic president faced with the possible loss of majorities in the mid-term elections. Bill Clinton not only faced them, but saw that possibility come true. Yet he managed to both weather that and successfully campaign for re-election. But, as Heffer says, Obama’s no Bill Clinton:

But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily.

In fact, the handicap Heffer speaks of has become so obvious it is a joking matter now. Certainly it’s dark humor, but the butt of humor none the less. It reminds me of Hillary Clinton during the campaign talking about Obama’s lack of experience in doing anything by alluding that the only thing he could bring to any situation wan’t experience, but a “nice speech”.   She was widely panned for the comment.  However, in every situation faced by the country thus far, that’s pretty much all he’s brought to the table, isn’t it?

Heffer goes on:

It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right. That wasted first year, however, is another boulder hanging from his neck: what is wrong needs time to put right. The country’s multi-trillion dollar debt is barely being addressed; and a country engaged in costly foreign wars has a President who seems obsessed with anything but foreign policy – as a disregarded Britain is beginning to realise.

Not only is Britain beginning to realize it, but so is the rest of the world. There is no coherent foreign policy plan. Gaffes are constant. Our South American strategy, for instance, seems to be to cozy up to dictators while ignoring or actively opposing our allies in the region – like Colombia and Honduras. Or dissing them – like Britain. As one expert said recently, Obama wants a “quiet world” so he can indeed ignore foreign policy and concentrate domestically.

However, he appears to be failing in both areas. The rest of the world is noting the diminished American diplomatic presence and leadership and beginning to react in ways not in our best national interest. Domestically the lack of leadership has had telling results as well – factionalism within the governing party that has all but ground Obama’s agenda to a halt.

Above it all, aloof and disconnected, is Obama who, it seems, was under the impression that he was going to be a ruler who merely had to suggest what needed to be done and power of his personality and vision would be enough to have his minions fashion the proper legislation and pass it by acclimation.

Leadership is a very difficult art. Oh certainly there’s some science too it, but for the most part it is an art. And an unfortunate “truth” of that art is you rarely get a second chance to establish yourself in a leadership role. First impressions are incredibly important and lasting. If you are perceived as weak, inexperienced and clueless that will constantly work against you as others attempt to exploit those weaknesses. One of the lessons of leadership in the military, for instance, is when you take a new leadership position, you come in hard, make your mark and then, if the situation warrants it, you can back off at a later date. But come in any other way and you’re likely to see you leadership questioned and challenged.

A variation of that theme is now playing out in Washington DC as Obama’s leadership, such that it is, is most definitely being questioned and challenged. The growing perception is he’s weak and ineffective. That his only strength, as Hillary Clinton alluded too, is a good speech. That he’s all talk and no action.

While that may be greeted as good news among domestic political opponents, it is bad news for this country internationally. And it could lead to all sorts of situations which a very detrimental to our national interest.

That takes me back to the initial lesson to be learned. Heffer talks about Obama “sycophants” (Axelrod, Jarret, etc) and how they’ve done Obama a disservice with their advice. In fact the largest and most complicit group of sycophants that I hold most responsible for the present situation are the press.

They did none of the hard and dirty work of vetting this man that they apparently delighted in doing with other candidates, most notably Sarah Palin. They completely abrogated their self-assumed and oft proclaimed responsibility to inform the public and became cheerleaders and propagandists. And they did the nation a horrible disservice. And because of their overwhelming backing of a marginal and mostly unknown candidate who they found attractive for various reasons and gave a good speech, they ignored his associates, inexperience and lack of accomplishment. He now sits in the White House, his inexperience and ineptness obvious to all.

If there is any lesson in this which should be internalized by any entity, it is the press who should now be doing some very heavy soul searching. Hint: this may also help explain part of your precipitous demise and growing credibility problems as well.



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17 Responses to Lesson learned?

  • Obama’s biggest failure, the systemic failure, is his ability to pivot. He hasn’t been able to pivot on anything.
    As a matter of fact, he is still operating with the same promises he made on the campaign trail before the current O’pression began.
    The only hint of a pivot came when the Democrats called their massive spending and payoff bill .. a “stimulus” .. and even that proved to be a mistake because it did no such thing.

    • If he’d approached the job in a practical way– taking stock of the situation and adjusting his plans accordingly– he would not have to pivot at all.  He tried to jam the square peg of his agenda into the round hole he encountered upon taking over the office.  He tried to deal with the problem by giving lots of speeches and leaving the issue in the hands of people like Pelosi and Reid.  By the time he decided that it was time to get his own hands dirty, he had two problems– it was too late, and he had no idea how to proceed.
      The media “vetted” the daylights out of a young and inexperienced candidate for VICE PRESIDENT, while celebrating the emergence of a young and inexperienced candidate for PRESIDENT.  The disconnect is as remarkable as it was ridiculous.  And it’s only even beginning to show some cracks.

  • What I’m suprised about is the number of ‘expert’s who are now suprised.

    A guy who’s never done anything is acting/performing like a guy who’s never done anything.

  • You actually think the press will turn on Baracky in an attempt to salvage credibility? If anything, they’re going to double down.

    PS- This isn’t the 1st gigantic media FAIL on a presidential candidate. Remember John Edwards? It was left to the freakin’ National Enquirer to do any reporting on that one.  They’d have happily seen that piece of trash in the WHite House (either as Pres or as Veep). 

    • Edwards also is an example of no experience. One Senate term, and otherwise he just chased ambulances. And it isn’t like he was just having an affair: he was sticking his bone in crazy.

      Consider how the MSM handled the whole Memogate thing. Or the current Climategate. This is not just left wing bias; this is outright lying or willingness to overlook facts to push an agenda.

    • I absolutely agree.  I don’t hear any hint of “squealing brakes” coming from MiniTru: rather, they are dutifully continuing to spin and cover up for that f*cking idiot and his gang of thugs and fools.

      Mr Obama benefited in his campaign from an idiotic level of idolatry

      Hmmm… Looks like Mr. Heffer has a thorough grasp of the American liberal mind.

      It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right.

      No.  The problem is that Imeme’s vision of America is very much at odds not only with our traditions and values, but even with our laws.  What’s “wrong” with America is that we’re in a war with a small but fanatical, loosely-affiliated gang of international terrorists while simultaneously reaping the whirlwind of years of growing government and unfunded promises of largesse to too many people.  I don’t think Imeme quite sees it that way.  I suggest that, in his mind, what’s wrong with America is that our country is just mean and greedy and refuses to give all the money that’s needed to pay for all that charity, while at the same time reaping the whirlwind of decades of American arrogance and imperialism that has people around the world rightfully angry at us.

      Obviously, the solutions to these perceived problems are very different.

  • “Obama’s big problem,” a senior Democrat told me, “is that four times as many people watch Fox News as watch CNN.” The Fox network is a remarkable cultural phenomenon which almost shocks those of us from a country where a technical rule of impartiality is applied in the broadcast media. With little rest, it pours out rage 24 hours a day: its message is of the construction of the socialist state, the hijacking of America by “progressives” who now dominate institutions, the indoctrination of children, the undermining of religion and the expropriation of public money for these nefarious projects. The public loves it …

    If this really was Obama’s “big problem”, he would be on Easy Street. The real problem is that while the Democrats try a political juxtaposition of “new citizen immigrants” for “seniors” in their electoral mix, their lack of real candor about their motives in passing HCR are being laid bare.

    • It’s the “big problem” according to Democrats. They prefer it to the real problems outlined in the article and post.

      • “Technical rule of impartiality”??  If he’s talking about the Beeb, that’s a laughable assertion

        • Indeed it is. But he did say “technical rule”, he didn’t even attempt to say it was something they tried to live up too. My guess is all of the media types who lent themselves to the “idiotic level of idolatry” would also claim to have a “technical rule of impartiality”.

  • … from a country where a technical rule of impartiality is applied in the broadcast media

    Missed this gem. The BBC is impartial .. on which day of the century ?

  • Have we no professors of political science?  No defenders of the faithful, believer in “the one?  ” who will stand for the man, no one to be optimistic?
    Ah, yes, those Brits, we’ve infected them and now it seems THEY have ODS too.  LOL, (chuckle).  Silly silly silly.

    • {chuckle} {eyes rolling} You dense righties only see what you want to see. You’re post-modernists, cherry picking just certain pieces of information that confirms your narrative, while I sit in my office and the faculty lounge gazing out over the political landscape with my godlike powers of political science, and see all of reality, spread out before me.

      Obama thinks like me. As I have been saying for a year, he said he was going to cut spending, and I think he will. So don’t start up about all that deficit stuff. Republicans ran deficits too, so they’re exactly the same. And that’s not either moral equivalence to excuse what wise leftists do ten times or a hundred times worse, so just shut up about that!

      And with his Christlike visage, Obama will get his programs through. You’ll see. Especially healthcare, which is on the verge of passing, and I’m all for that, even though I think it ought to be handled at the state level as I’ve said many times, and there’s no contraction in that, so just shut up about the whole contradiction thing. Those of us with godlike powers of political science know how to whip up a multiple truth for every situation, which means we never contradict ourselves.

      But, as I said, you’re the post-modernists, not me. And that’s not either projection, so stop saying that. It’s just that I’m rubber and you’re glue, so what you say bounces off me and sticks on you. So I can say that you have Obama Derangement Syndrome, and that you guys completely ignore the evidence on global warming, and that’s not either because I am projecting my own behavior onto you and trying to use cheap rhetorical tricks to score points. It’s just not. I decree it. The science is settled, and you all have ODS because you cannot appreciate the greatness that is Obama. Admit it. I’m calling you out. Besides, you doth protest too much. I decree it.

      I come here to educate you thick righties and give you the benefit of my vast experience in politics and international relations. Vast, I tell you, vast. Did you know I have advanced degrees? Have I mentioned that? And they’re from a prestigious graduate program. Really. So don’t start up with how they just gave me a degree because they were even more tired of listening to my nerdy babbling than you guys and wanted desperately to get rid of me. My work was stellar. I decree it.

      Just like my book, which is not either a pile of dreck from a vanity press that suckers social science academics, so you really should stop saying that. Just because I couldn’t find anyone important to write a blurb for it and had to use an old acquaintance doesn’t mean a thing. The important people were all very busy. And the fact that it’s down around 2,000,000 on Amazon’s list doesn’t mean a thing either. It certainly doesn’t mean that the only people who even cracked the cover were family and friends to whom I gave a copy. Why, I’m pretty sure Amazon sold at least twelve.

      Anyway, Obama is going to go down in history as a great president. He’s a great man, just like Jimmy Carter, so even if his presidency has some rough spots, he’ll still go down in history as a great man. I know my comrades colleagues over in the history department will see to that. So you guys can say anything you want about Obama. Your opinion doesn’t count. Suck on it. LOL.

      It doesn’t count about Iraq either, and I don’t care how many purple fingers you find. The only reason things are going well there is that Obama is now in office and his sheer force of personality is infusing the Iraqis with noble democratic goodness. Good thing, since without it those wogs don’t have a chance of governing themselves, as I said about a thousand times back in 2003-2008. Bush made the biggest foreign policy mistake in history in going in there, and thank goodness he finally listened to we wise leftist pacifists and co-opted the noble brown savage insurgents. He should have done that Day One. All the icky military stuff that came before that was totally unnecessary because wars are unhealthy for children and other living things.

      Anyway, Iran is going to come out on top there, you just wait. Any day now. And don’t you dare bring up the stuff about me saying Sadr won over Maliki. I was right about that! I was, I was, I was! Because I’m a brilliant foreign policy analyst, not a mediocre bloviating professor in a backwater cow college with a vanity book and pretentions of expertise! So stop saying that!

      You silly deniers and tea partiers just go on thinking that Sarah Palin will rescue you. {eyes rolling} Admit it. You are expecting her to come in and beat Obama in 2012. And when you guys sound like you don’t care about her that much, you’re just putting on an act, you don’t fool anybody. I know how much you pine for those full lips and ample bosom, and how you get a tingle down your leg when you see her wink through those naughty librarian glasses. Nobody on our side is like that. Well, there was the Chris Matthews thing about Obama, but that’s different. Because wise leftists are always right, and dense righties never are, basically. {chuckle} LOL {eyes rolling}

  • Oh, and I’m with Shark, no, there has been no lesson learned.  The double down will commence shortly.
    And Imeme’s entitled spoiled brat outburst and scolding for the country is overdue.    I expect we’ll be scolded by the wife in some way first.

  • Jackson Diehl:

    I recently asked several senior administration officials, separately, to name a foreign leader with whom Barack Obama has forged a strong personal relationship during his first year in office. A lot of hemming and hawing ensued. …

    “Smart Diplomacy” in a nutshell