Free Markets, Free People

Such a lack of leadership even Maureen Dowd notices

The political winds certainly seem to be shifting a bit as I watch pundit after pundit begin, every so softly for some, to come to the same conclusion Maureen Dowd has about President Obama.

The oil won’t stop flowing, but the magic has.

The other day, Dowd referred to Obama as “President Spock” and moaned about his inability to relate. He’s not an emmoter-in-chief as Bill Clinton was, she complained. Instead he maintains an aloof distance and instead of tackling the problems that come with the presidency head-on, seems more inclined to treat them as annoyances or distractions.

All this brought on by an oil spill that Barack Obama had nothing to do with, but which is now starting to define his presidency. Said Dowd in the previous editorial:

Once more, he has willfully and inexplicably resisted fulfilling a signal part of his job: being a prism in moments of fear and pride, reflecting what Americans feel so they know he gets it.

Again, to those of us who watched his progression to the Presidency while warning about his wafer thin resume, this doesn’t come as a particular surprise. Call it “I told you so” if you wish, but many critics found his lack of leadership credentials to be the most important reason not to elect the man.

And now, the Dowds, Carvilles and Matthews of the world are discovering this problem.

Certainly, he didn’t cause the leak. George Bush didn’t cause Katrina. But he’s responsible for the federal response, a precedent set by Katrina and the Democrats who demonized and pilloried Bush. Obama is the guy on the spot to make a difference when a disaster strikes. He is the person who must mobilize the federal forces necessary, remove the red-tape and get things headed in the direction they need to be headed.

Where is that? He’s visited the area twice. He seems to have no idea of what further measures might be possible or necessary. He’s delegated everything to others and doesn’t seem that interested in taking an active hand. In fact, it appears he’s only made an effor to look like he’s interested because people are beginning to talk.

Where is the leadership? Where’s Obama taking an active role, for instance, in federalizing some National Guard troops, training them up on beach and marsh clean up and getting them where they need to be? Is every possible boom available on site and either deployed or ready to go? Why isn’t he in using the influence of his office to remove the red tape wound tightly about the Corps of Engineers and helping the governor of LA get his barrier islands constructed?

Why isn’t he talking to Saudi Arabia about how they used supertankers used to clean up the horrendous spill caused by Saddam Hussein over here? How many supertankers are available. Why aren’t we chartering them, and moving them in the spill area?

Instead we see the deployment of the Attorney General to explore criminal indictments against BP, a commission to study the problem and this:

One little hole a mile down on the ocean floor, so deep it seems like hell spewing up its sulfurous smoke, has turned the thrilling saga of “The One” into the gurgling horror of “The Abyss.” (Thank goodness James Cameron, the director of “The Abyss,” came to Washington Tuesday to help the administration figure out how to cap the BP well. What’s next? Sending down the Transformers and Megan Fox?)

Seriously – James Cameron is somehow more of an authority on submersibles than, say, the thousands upon thousands of experts within the oil industry (not just BP) who work with them daily in the environment in question? Is it any wonder to see people like Dowd beginning to lose confidence in Obama’s ability to lead?

Barack Obama isn’t responsible for the leak, and he’s made it clear, and rightfully so, who is. But he is responsible for protecting this country from all enemies and problems – even evil oil slicks that threaten our coastlines and way of life in those areas.

And he’s failing – miserably. Dowd continues to pretend this is something that Obama can change and quickly if he’ll only step up.

This president has made it clear that he’s not comfortable outside whatever domain he’s defined. But unless he wants his story to be marred by a pattern of passivity, detachment, acquiescence and compromise, he’d better seize control of the story line of his White House years. Woe-is-me is not an attractive narrative.

His problem isn’t a story line that he’s deliberately, for whatever reason, allowing to unfold. It is the fact that he hasn’t the experience, the fortitude or the leadership to do what is necessary to address the ever growing problem.

43 days and Obama remains on his balcony, detached, annoyed and clueless. That’s not how anyone wants to see their President.

As he did many times in the Illinois Senate, he is again voting “present”.



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51 Responses to Such a lack of leadership even Maureen Dowd notices

  • Plenty of us saw the lack of leadership, and the excess of hubris, and saw it confirmed within a few months of his inauguration.
    His leadership style (nearly complete lack of) has been on display again and again.  It only took a couple failed terror attacks, a successful one at Fort Hood, a growing oil slick, a complete disaster in bringing a health care bill into being, a 6 month fumble with the plan for Afghanistan, a spend our way out of debt economic plan, appointment of crooks and villains to key government positions, a plethora of ‘Czars’,  a failure to deliver on nearly all his promises and a nearly opaque administration to finally bring them around to realizing – “Hey!  This guy!  Ya know, I’m beginning to think he’s not the Messiah!”
    Mmmmmm Kool-aid…goood……..

    • Sorry, crooks and villains is harsh – stooges and idiots is what I meant, except in the case of Secretary of the Treasury, I stand with crook on that one.

    • I have seen this leadership style before. It was when a charismatic liberal took over the local Rotary club. He then proceeded to try to do every thing through committees and consensus. All the while trying to remain aloof and above it all.
      Needless to say, absolutely nothing got done and we had nearly no activities and no interesting guest speakers for one whole year.  It is truly amazing how much Obama reminds me of that guy.

  • She wants an emmoter in chief?

    No wonder these idiots elected him. It’s as if it would all be better if he was more open with his emotions.

    He is demonstrating awful leadership, but that isn’t because he doesn’t emmote.

  • Certainly, he didn’t cause the leak. George Bush didn’t cause Katrina. But he’s responsible for the federal response, a precedent set by Katrina and the Democrats who demonized and pilloried Bush

    >>>> Schadenfreude feels good, even in the face of this eco-disaster.  Never has someone been more deserving of being hoist upon his own petard.

  • So, who’s the bigger rube?
    (A) Dowd, who supported Obama based on ideological similarity and his electability;
    (B) David Brooks, who had a near-religious experience after just one look at the crease on Obama’s pants? (Remember “Run, Barack, Run”?)

  • Don beat me to it:

    It’s as if it would all be better if he was more open with his emotions.

    O’ course, it wasn’t that way when Bush was in charge during Katrina.  By golly, the left then wanted RESULTS, and they wanted them yesterday.  Where are the helicopters?  Where are the thousands of trailers, waiting for displaced people to move right in?  Where’s the food?  The government debit cards?  GET GREYHOUND DOWN HEAH!

    With Imeme… Eh.  His problem isn’t a lack of results: it’s just a lack of pretending hard enough that he actually cares.

    • I think Dowd knows he’s screwed. She’s mostly looking for a formula which will elevate his poor image at the moment. She thinks a little of the Bill Clinton lip quiver might work in this case. Well, that and actually showing up for work.

      • McQShe’s mostly looking for a formula which will elevate his poor image at the moment.

        I think you’re right, and the cynicism behind the idea is deplorable.  Dowd – and lefties in general – are desperate to continue the charade of Imeme as the cool, competent, caring, post-partisan, post-racial, lightworking messiah they sold to about 53% of us in the last campaign.  In the final analysis, The Reality-based Community couldn’t care less about the Gulf and the damage being caused by this spill: it’s all about trying to save the tattered image of their product.

        I think that the phrase “at the moment” is also key: the left counts on the short attention span and short memories of the American people, and are hoping that if Imeme can just hold out until the spill is fixed, BP is firmly fixed as solely responsible, or people sort of forget about the whole thing (who’s ahead in Idol this week???), they’ll be able to repair his image and all will be well.

        It’s amusing (in a sick way) that the biggest problem with their ad campaign is their product: Imeme himself.  While they try so hard to portray him as engaged and caring, he alternately jets off to Chicago for a short vacation, hits the links, and makes hyper-partisan speeches about how all of this is the GOP’s fault. 

      • By God if Bush was still President the gol dang hole would be plugged by now cause he and Dick and the rest of his amazing entourage would have personally taken a submergible plug stuffer dwon to the bottom and jammed it in the whole.    “Oblamema” continues to rely on so called experts that don’t know s*&t from shinola.   Look at what Slim Pickens was able to do in Dr. Strangelove by simply riding that nucular bomb down to its target.   That is what us tea potters are looking towarge Oblamema for, is some real honest to goodness innovational leadership like action, and not continue to have so called experts trying scientific stuff.   What a waste of time!  I say we take twenty five large supertankers full of kitchen sinks and dump em over that gusher.      

  • According to Popular Mechanics analysis:
    “Bumbling by top disaster-management officials fueled a perception of general inaction, one that was compounded by impassioned news anchors. In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest–and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm’s landfall.”

  • The fact, of course, is that there is nothing any President could do about the leak.  BP has the expertise, equipment and money to try to fix it.  Anything the President could do would be symbolic at best.   Perhaps he could “emote” more, but Obama is not Clinton (and some of us prefer it that way), emoting is not his strong suit.  Ultimately, though, the real loser in this is the oil industry.  Most people are smart enough to know that there isn’t some kind of magic power the President has to fix something like this.   We will find out a lot of dirt about the secrets of the oil industry through investigations, hearings, and the like.  It is yet another example of too little regulation contributed to a crisis.   The era of deregulation is faith in markets is over.   Look where it got us — the biggest financial crisis in 70 years, and now ecological catastrophe.    I don’t think trying to blame Obama will work — the people aren’t that dumb.

    • We will find out a lot of dirt about the secrets of the oil industry through investigations, hearings, and the like.  It is yet another example of too little regulation contributed to a crisis.   The era of deregulation is faith in markets is over.   Look where it got us — the biggest financial crisis in 70 years, and now ecological catastrophe.

      Wow.  That is one of the most fatuous globs of piffle I’ve read in some time.  The real take-away from this is that government…as with the financial crisis…regulates people into irrational decisions, and into far riskier situations than they would otherwise willingly undertake.  Perverse incentives yield monstrous outcomes.  It is as certain as cause has effect.
      The Obamic leadership failure is also a matter of absolute predictability.  He is easily the most ignorant man ever to occupy his high office.  Couple that with what I call his HUGE-bris (as it transcends mere hubris), plus his disdain for the rule of law, and you have the disaster that is this administration

    • No doubt Obama will push for show trials.

      Obama will get the blame for piss poor leadership. Dowd’s issues with him seem silly to me, but Obama has done a poor job nontheless. Not allowing LA to move forward in its defense, sitting on his hands until it appears a “fix” is in the works, then “taking charge” only to distance himself when the “fix” fails.

      • Ain’t timing a bitch…!

        • Notice the about face by the O Administration? It went from an Award for Safety to Criminal Investigation? So, that means O’s Administration – what? Doesn’t actually investigate safety, it gives awards to it’s fat cat contibutors? What about those safety investigations that occurred less frequently lately? No, the Criminal Investigation is a lie to cover the previous lie about Safety Awards. And of course, the MSM no longer mentions the former safety award to cover O’s flank.

    • Look, they had inspectors forging documents, watching porn, and making dirty deals  under Bush, and doing so under Obama. So, why all this enthusiasm for regulation. Are you just going to wait for the next Messiah to put the right people in the job to avoid these perennial problems?  Maybe someone like Mussolini or Mao who has the power to shoot bureaucrats. Because so far, Mr. Obama of your party did NOTHING to reform the regulatory environment for oil drilling. So excuse me if I don’t buy your theory that better  regulation can “fix” things.
      Oh, maybe it can, but I certainly don’t buy Democrats from academia providing it.

      • sexypig[T]hey had inspectors forging documents, watching porn, and making dirty deals  under Bush, and doing so under Obama. So, why all this enthusiasm for regulation. Are you just going to wait for the next Messiah to put the right people in the job to avoid these perennial problems?

        Yep.  Imeme complained yesterday about the GOP’s “belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges”.  This is a peculiar charge to level after Bush’s NCLB and Prescription Drug Benefit, not to mention the general increase in spending (which caused deficits that the dems, including Imeme, decried as reckless and ruinous at the time) and ESPECIALLY the Patriot Act.

        But “more government” is the dems’ answer to every problem, as if having even more overpaid regulators in cozy relationships with industry (or surfing porn at work) would prevent all the problems our country faces.

        And note who will be paying for the BP spill: BP.  Other than a token resignation or two, there is no discussion at all of the regulatory failures and heads rolling in the federal government.  All those apparently corrupt regulators who were allegedly hired by Bush (you know: the guy who didn’t do any regulating?) will stay in their jobs without so much as a slap on the wrist.  Hey!  Maybe they can use Porkulus cash to get bigger monitors and faster internet connections to improve their online porn experience!

    • Can you point to ANY example whatsoever, of any de-regulation of the offshore drilling industry?  Because you are talking out of your ASS!  Furthermore to blame this on any sort of regulation or deregulation is totally besides the main point which is that IT IS THE FIRST ACCIDENT IN OFFSHORE DRILLING IN FORTY YEARS!!!
      Or, in other words, you are picking on an industry that has possibly the best safety and environmental record of any industry!  This just goes to show your ideological lunacy. You like to come on here and pretend to be some sort of centrist, but we all can see right through you. You are a silly ideolog with knee jerk reactions.

    • Plugging the hole was the only thing to be done?  Nothing about booms?  Nothing about the Army Corps?   Way to put on the blinders.

    • We’ve already, various posters, plus the bloggers, numerous times, NOT blamed the oil leak on the current President.
      It’s not his fault, he didn’t do it, he didn’t cause it.

      But ya know what bunky?  He’s sitting behind the desk where the buck stops (well, they used to, now Imeme  forwards them to George W. Bush).  How it gets handled, in as much as it’s the governments problem, is ALLLLLLL his. 

    • “The era of deregulation is faith in markets is over.”

      If you guys are going to keep using the meme for everything you really need to start showing some actual examples. Please tell me what exactly has been deregulated over the past decade, particuarly in finacials ervices? Thsi mythical deregulation does not exist. Last time i checked, the Federal Register has been growing quite briskly since the early 90s and total regulatory agency funding and personell have exploded since about 2000.

      Then tell me how well those regualtors did their jobs over fannie and freddie, or how did the regulators at FDIC do properly pricing risk of bank assets. They had complete power over WaMu, Countrywide, Indymac etc. Why do you assume more regulations are going to stop crisis when regulators failed so misserably to stop this one despite having great power.  Likewise, with this oil rig, the interior department has to authorize a drilling plan before the company can do so and there are tons or rules re how it goes about doing it.

  • I was told by all of my liberal betters that Pres. Obama would be more competent than Bush. (more transparent, and smarter, too, but I digress.) They also told me that regulation would be better under Obama and that government was needed to make sure that bad things did not happen.
    Now I find that bad things still happen (surprise!) and that regulation under Obama’s “right people” did not stop them, and the competence level of Obama seems very low indeed. But I am not supposed to blame Obama?
    Of course, his first actions are all legal related, as that is what politicians, and especially lawyers usually reach for as their first tool. In Obama’s case, as an academic with little executive experience, surrounded by academics with little executive experience, its maybe all he will do. Anything else will scare them in a lawyerly way – what if we do A and then it turns out bad? What if we do B and then we get sued. Best to do nothing and send our lawyers out instead. I am sure getting burned by coming out for offshore drilling right before this happened only heightens this  temptation to in-action.
    Great points about renting supertankers. How about letting Jindal throw up those sand banks?
    I wonder when Obama will give up golfing? Will he also give up basketball, or is that blue collar enough to get a pass. That’s when we know he is scared.

  • Is there a REASON whyhe seems so detached ?  THINK…THINK…THINK

    May be he IS kinda detached….from reality….
    in some way,hedoes not appar to be surprised by it.


    SHouldn’t somebody be investigating what really happened, not only on the rig, but within BP, who got the promotions into government positions, etc.?

  • I’m trying to figure out if you’re really wishing for an imperial presidency.  Didn’t this used to be a libertarian blog?

  • I know I shouldn’t be saying this because everyday the catastrophe is growing but I’m loving every minute of the world and especially democrats seeing the total incompetence of our boy president. He makes Bush look competent.

    • Uh, no John he does not make George W. Bush look competent.    They’re both ineffective, but one shudders at what Dick Cheney would have told W to do.   Probably keep all media 20 miles away and pretend it never happened while they erased all of Halliburtons tracks for starters.  And then they’d probably trying nuking the thing, hopefully that would do the trick.   And then go ‘watchyoutalkinboutwillis’ as the radiation blew inland.

      • Or perhaps they’d ask a Hollywood movie producer in to solve the problem, eh Pedro?

        • They’re both lame Bruce.   Obama just has a shinier veneer.  He was slow to respond and there’s apparently too much bureaucracy that’s also slow in responding to requests even now.
          I’m never shocked when Obama acts like a moderate Republican either (in everything but Healthcare and SCOTUS nominees) ,  just mystified at the extra dollop of venom that gets tossed his way by W supporters.  Not calling John one of those either BTW, but as a general rule it fits just fine.   Except for skin pimentation they’re pretty much birds of a feather.

          • Birds of a feather?

            Heh, no way, your current twit doesn’t have the balls to “Get Jets” like Bush did.  Different breed, all together.

          • That veneer is getting less and less shiny each day, Pedro. And I don’t see it being glossed back up any time soon, if ever.

          • ah looker they both just have different styles.  can’t imagine W struttin’ his stuff barechested on a beach.   he needed all those extra props.  i bet he had socks stuffed in that flight suit too.

          • definitely agree the losing of the luster bruce.  less sure about whether he can get it back.   he could, but he’d have to strap on a pair, a real pair, for once, and start delivering on his promises.  that would tick off the right, but they’re already as ticked as they can get.   he needs the slightly left of center crowd back,   right now we are also quite pissed off.
            for the moment just get the freakin’ cap on that oil.  i’m afraid i still don’t feel like he’s working with any sense of urgency.   that holder presser ticked me off.   time for that later,  right now we need more than symbolism and hot air.

          • Re: strap on a pair – there’s nothing to strap them too, pedro.

            But I’m with you on the oil. Carville is right – it is being treated as an annoyance, while he seeks criminal indictments and forms commissions to look like he’s doing something.

          • Hey, you want to talk about what the man looks like, socks, beaches…who gives a rat’s.   That’s not what makes a leader. – I want to talk about what’s inside of him, and that’s what the country needs.  

            Eloquent reading from a teleprompter, and skin color, and voting present won’t ever give it to him.  Besides he’s already full of himself, there’s no room for a leader in there. 

  • He is not President Spock, he is more like Sheldon on The Big Bang. Except without the competence.

  • Barack Antoinette – ‘Let them eat Oil!”

  • Don’t know if this link will be allowed.  But sums it up in a picture.
    NSFL (Not safe for liberals)

  • Obama  isn’t “cool” (though many of his admirers think he is);  Obama is indifferent .
    If it’s not about him, he simply doesn’t care.
    He’s bored by anything that isn’t about him.

  • As a Trekkie, I think the Obama-as-Spock meme is accurate.  Both have a certain dispassionate demeanor about them.  And both stunk as leaders.  “The Galileo Seven” is a perfect example.

  • Dowdie and the MSM FINALLY see that this inept socialist pacifist in the WH and his minions in the Dem Congress may, may just be making horrid policy statements. Statements? It is his policies for the last 17 months: Obamacare, dissing Israel, pol. bribes to drop races, amnesty, lack of border security, Cap and Trade, no domestic energy policies, tax and spending, debt, debt and debt and Dowdie and the Times finally think that this guy is over his head?? Yipe! Every one of these policies has killed American liberty, freedom, free enterprise and national security. If only the MSM would point out all of these failings, the Second Coming would be here! Oust all of them in Nov.

  • LOOK!!!