Free Markets, Free People

Obama fails “Leadership 101” – again

You are President of the United States.  All 57 of them.  And you have a challenge in front of you.  The public is alarmed by the level of government debt and sharply rising deficits.  Of course, being a “Constitutional law professor” you know that any action on this must be initiated by the House of Representatives since by law they are charged with the budget and appropriations.  But because of a lack of confidence in the leadership of your party, as they held majorities in both chambers of Congress, the House was reclaimed by the opposition party who now enjoys a solid majority there.

So as a leader, you must address the reality of the situation, tone down the partisan rhetoric, make overtures to bipartisan cooperation and attempt to bridge the partisan gap that you and your party have helped create these past two years.  Leadership 101.

Instead we got this – POLITICO lays it out for you:

President Barack Obama extended a fiscal olive branch to Republicans on Wednesday.

Then he beat them up with it. Obama’s long-anticipated speech on the deficit at George Washington University was one of the oddest rhetorical hybrids of his presidency — a serious stab at reforming entitlements cloaked in a 2012 campaign speech that was one of the most overtly partisan broadsides he’s ever delivered from a podium with a presidential seal.

I differ with the analysis – it wasn’t a serious stab at anything.  No details were present.  Just a “framework”, which is Obama’s usual way of laying off responsibility or outsourcing his job to others.  His entire first term, to date, has been about grand and nebulous words left to others to flesh out.

But back to the point – as someone, I believe it was Paul Ryan, said, instead of building bridges with his speech, Obama went about poisoning wells.

What he essentially acted like was a Senate back bencher throwing verbal bombs at the opposition.  And, of course, if you recall, that’s precisely what he was until he managed to fool enough people into electing him president.

How stupid was it to act as he did this past Wednesday?

But the combative tenor of Obama’s remarks, which included a swipe at his potential 2012 GOP challengers, may have scuttled the stated purpose of the entire enterprise — to start negotiations with Republicans on a workable bipartisan approach to attacking the deficit.

And it didn’t build much goodwill ahead of upcoming fights, especially the looming battle over raising the debt ceiling.

That’s correct – the looming fights have now been made partisan by a president who set the tone.   Donald Trump called him the worst president ever (well, unless Donald Trump were to become president that is).  I have to agree – and I lived through Jimmy Carter who now seems almost competent in comparison.

Carter at least tried to be a leader.  This man makes no attempt at leadership.  He’s a hack politician in way over his head and seems to thrive on political one-upsmanship, partisan bickering and playing politics with everything.

Leaders lead.  Sounds trite and clichéd, but as was said about porn, you know one when you see one.

I’ve known many leaders in my day, and Mr. Obama is no leader.


42 Responses to Obama fails “Leadership 101” – again

  • The Collectivist thug in the expensive suit ™ fiddle-footed his last opportunity to solve any damn thing budget-wise.
    He has pissed Ryan off, and that Irish lad is more than a match for the MEEEEsiah.  Watch and see.

    • You assume he WANTS to solve the problem rather than exacerbate it.
      Hint: Cloward-Pivin.

  • Did you consider Mao a leader, Bruce? Maybe your prefer the term “destroyer.”

    Whichever you prefer, leader or destroyer, you’re watching an American Mao, and he couldn’t give a rat’s a$$ about your bourgeois notions of leadership.

    During the first two years of his rule, I pointed out here repeatedly that every time the economy looked poised for recovery, he threw another monkey wrench into the gear box. He’s not a bourgeois leader. He has increased the contradictions, he has been trying to break the economic system, and his goal is to get down to the bedrock of class struggle.

    The worst liar you could even imagine looks like a boy scout next to this man. Everything about him is a lie, including his “ahs” and “uhms.”

    That is where you have to start with Obama. Any attempt to grasp him with normative terms cedes ground to him that he does not hold and by normalizing him gives him a victory. He is the very inversion of every standard and value that you hold dear, and he laughs at every attempt to judge him by those standards and values.

    He is not incompetent. He is not an empty suit. He knows exactly what he is doing.

  • The crime here is this whole debacle was so predictable.
    I wish I could find that sound byte of Senator Øbama, less than one week before his clandestine meeting with George Soros, where he outlines all the reasons why he could not possibly run for president. A week later he has a campaign offices in every state and a war chest unrivaled by peers or opponents.

    Anyone remember that? Bueller?

  • Is the Ryan guy the same one who voted for part D, of the Medicare Modernization Act and now is the GOP point man on deficit reduction?   There appears to be quite a bit of hypocrisy in that.  If Ryan is really worried about passing debt along to our kids and grandkids, he needs to be at least talking about fixing Part D.  Strangely, he is not.  Oh well it just amounts to trillions over time. see page 148.

    Ragspierre, don’t get me wrong, something has to be done, it is just weird to me that Ryan is the point man for fiscal conservatism given his penchant for championing Part D.

    • Obama and the Dems were against the debt ceiling being raised, and now they are for it.
      I guess that means they can’t be point men either.
      Does anybody meet your strict criteria that they cannot have voted on something several years ago when the economy was growing, unemployment was low, and our deficit was large, but not unmanageable?

    • At points in the 1920s, Churchill was thinking fascist economic policy looked pretty shiny.  So…???
      Chester A. Arthur was a stoned Tammany Hall corruptocrat.  He became a reformer as President.
      People DO learn.  I’m hoping Ryan is one.

  • Not my strict criteria, it’s the GOPs.   He has appointed himself, with the GOP’s blessing to be the expert spokesperson face of fiscal responsibility. Just seems the GOP would have picked a more fiscally responsible tea partier to be their leader given the trillions in debt Part D will give his kids and grandkids (and ours).    Hey I am glad it’s Ryan.

    • “Not my strict criteria, it’s the GOPs.  ”
      As of when.   The GOP has collaborated all along – the difference between them and the Democrats for a fair amount of time has been they want the train to pull into Hell a little before 5:00 PM, whereas the Dems were hoping to get there by 1:30.

      • Well said Looker. 

        I am thinking the train actually pulls in way ahead of schedule. 

        • You reminded my the guys that I haven’t trusted for a while are the guys who I’m relying on to save us and that I preferred the 5:00 PM arrival only because it gives us longer to put the train into a siding from which we can maybe back the damn thing up.

          • Yep.  My fear is nothing gets done, because nothing gets done.  

            I guess Scerb doesn’t post here anymore.  I am confident he can make a compelling case for increased deficits being a great thing for the US.

  • Obama is playing for re-election, pure and simple. He needed to shore up his base — for without them he cannot be re-elected next year — while continuing to fool Americans remaining in the middle.

    The speech played well with liberals, who were prepared for their idea of the worst: Obama making any sort of deals with Republicans. It was essential to kick Paul Ryan and his proposals to the curb, and Obama did just that.

    Of course this isn’t leadership or looking out for America or bipartisanship, unless one assumes that getting Obama reelected is the top priority and somehow the others follow later.

    • He’ll play for re-election, but he’s going to do significant damage, equal to or worse than the first two years, just in case. He had already laid in a generation’s worth of damage before the midterm election. The sheer malice of this man toward our country is barely conceivable. Yet the hypnotic trance of the liberals, forget about the far Leftists for whom no degree of overt hatred toward the U.S. is enough, reminds me of the ardor for Hitler among the German working classes, nearly to the end. I visited a doctor who I’ve used for over a decade, and he spoke of “Barack” with such affection that I nearly said something even with him about to work on my teeth. I was afraid to risk it. This is one of the nicest fellows you would ever want to meet, well up into retirement zone, just ready to gush about “Barack.”

      A friend of mine told me that lately he’s had access to only the mainstream media and he said he was dumbfounded to hear not even a hint of criticism of Obama. It was as though none were permitted. Those of us who live among the conservative and libertarian sites and blogs see something entirely different than the average American. That’s why Fox News had to be so demonized, including by the White House itself, because it doesn’t keep the Party line.

      Yes, we can still say what we want. But this society is pressurized with Obama glorification, sufficient at least to keep a good sector of the population completely oblivious to the meaning of, for instance, his politicization of the fiscal dilemma. He does not care. And there are people out of work, with their economic arms and legs falling offs, who cannot shake the operant conditioning that “Barack” is wonderful, and who still blame Bush for the economy. Go check that number at Rasmussen and you’ll fall over.

      This is the worst m**********r to come on the scene in the last century, precisely because he is here, in power, in the United States.

      • Martin: As you know,we disagree on this. I consider Obama more deluded than malevolent — though of course his delusions are damaging the country. If he was truly trying to damage the country, as opposed to remaking it according to his puerile college radical ideas, I’m sure he could and still have plenty of time for golf.

        Obama is like most of the people I know in the ultra-blue city where I live. He’s also like most of the upper ranks of the Democratic Party these days. Unless one is willing to argue that all these people intend to damage the country with malice, it seems an overreach to say that of Obama.

        Your dentist notwithstanding, there’s little love or glorification for Obama these days. Many progressives are hopping mad and some even plot to defeat him in the next primaries. The media protects him because they are liberal and they are invested by their big bet on him in 2008.

        Obama has a long row to hoe for re-election. He must reconnect with his base and doing so comes naturally enough, I’m sure.

        • Huxley, I lived in Manhattan for 25 years. I was always a regular reader of the Village Voice and the New York Times. I know liberals. I know hard Lefties. From study I know the Left’s song and dance from early last century to today. Who Barack Obama resembles is not clunky fringe party commies or Upper West Side liberals or community activists from the East Village.

          Barack Obama resembles V.I. Lenin and Mao tse Tung. He is a full-blown Marxist, well-trained, seriously committed. He might indeed be deluded, but that would be beside the point.

          Listen to the things he and his wife have said. Look at the church he attended. Look at the way the media has lied down for him, and the way it lies for him.

          This is not an amateur. Everything he does is done with intent, and malice. And he doesn’t care about being judged by bourgeois principles.

          • Barack Obama resembles V.I. Lenin and Mao tse Tung. He is a full-blown Marxist, well-trained, seriously committed.

            How? If Obama is working tirelessly and fiendishly for the Revolution, it has escaped my notice. Mostly he gives increasingly ineffective speeches and lets others do the heavy lifting.

            Obama can’t even inspire  his base anymore, let alone the rest of us. He let his OFA troops wander away. World leaders don’t take him seriously. He promises things he can’t deliver. He is a terrible military commander. He and his family are constantly making PR mistakes. Aside from the pyrrhic victory of Obamacare, he has no wins. Things aren’t going well in Afghanistan or Libya. The economy is stagnant and will likely end his presidency.

            Obama might imagine himself as a world leader on par with Lenin or Mao but other than winning a fluke election Obama has nothing on those guys.

          • How? By using the available resources of power to distribute nearly a trillion dollars as political payoffs within weeks of taking office. By throwing monkey wrench after monkey wrench into the gear box of the economy as it tried to recover on its own. By placing one-sixth of the American economy under a massive federal bureaucratic network that will cause it to break down and fail and has already caused every business to stall in hiring in the midst of mass unemployment and will involve itself even further in the most intimate areas of the life of every individual American. By creating a financial reform that will further distrubute advantages to those who can cooperate while creating more uncertainty in an uncertain business environment for those who cannot. How, you ask?

            The U.S. is still recognizably itself, but these are all efforts to further collapse its economy, aimed at it while it continues in a state of weakness long beyond a normal Post WWII recession. The currency is being debased. Favored rentseeking corporations are being rewarded while small business start ups are collapsing and existing small businesses are paralyzed with regulation and the health care malignancy. Price signals are being distorted througout the economy.

            Citizens who oppose the regime are attacked as racists and extremists. Media sources and individuals who don’t hit the mark and maintain the line are under continuous attack. There are political operations that work fulltime to silence any significant voice in opposition.

            This is serious business, my friend, and it’s all done with the applause of the mainstream media, which acts as a combination of Izvestia and Pravda.

          • Huxley, I just wanted to add so that I can emphasize it again: You are assessing Obama in terms of “bourgeois principles,” the normative standards of success or failure in statecraft. That is precisely what I’m saying Obama does not care about. To him, that is just a mist that he will lie his way through. The “objective truth” that you observe from the standpoint of bourgeois principles is of no interest to him. To him that is an illusion that hides the bedrock reality of class struggle. That is how a real Marxist thinks. Any type of deception (such as the “popular front” effort by the Soviets in the ’30s or the “community organizing” schtick of Obama’s adult years, both of which conceal the underlying Marxist intent) is allowable to grease the wheels of history, which true Marxists believe must turn according to the laws of scientific socialism. So, Obama will run for re-election based on the premise that he made a bad situation better (“if not for us, think of where this country would be”), when he has clearly made the situation much worse and did so with malice and intent.

  • McQ[A]s a leader, you must address the reality of the situation, tone down the partisan rhetoric, make overtures to bipartisan cooperation and attempt to bridge the partisan gap that you and your party have helped create these past two years.

    What [The Dear Golfer] essentially acted like was a Senate back bencher throwing verbal bombs at the opposition.  And, of course, if you recall, that’s precisely what he was until he managed to fool enough people into electing him president.

    And before that, he was a “community organizer”, i.e. rabble-rouser.  The man’s lifetime modus operandi has been to find some convenient whipping boy, make much of himself “taking it on”, and laugh all the way to the figurative bank.  In this he is no different than The Justice Brothers (Jackson and Sharpton) or just about any other demagogue in history that you care to name.  Lead?  That’s not his bag.  There’s no gain but, rather, a great deal of work and risk in “leading” people.

    [T]the combative tenor of Obama’s remarks, which included a swipe at his potential 2012 GOP challengers, may have scuttled the stated purpose of the entire enterprise — to start negotiations with Republicans on a workable bipartisan approach to attacking the deficit.

    Cynic that I am, I suggest that was the intent.  Let’s remember that MiniTru will not hold The Dear Golfer responsible for anything.  Therefore, if he starts a fight and the other side actually fights back, THEY will be blamed.

    An alternate explanation is that he is merely shoring up his base, which isn’t happy with him over Gitmo, Iraq, Libya, “losing” in the recent budget battle, and generally being “too nice” to the GOP.  What better way to get back their support than picking a fight with the people that they REALLY hate?  He can throw all the bombs he wants, confident that, at the end of the day, he holds most of the cards.  For one thing, he is still the president, and any budget has to have his signature at the bottom.  He can also decide what people / departments are “essential” during any shutdown, allowing him to hold people like the military hostage to get what he wants.  His odious party still controls the Senate, which will deep-six any significant cuts.  Finally, you don’t REALLY think that the GOP is serious about deficit reduction, do you?

    The most cynical explanation is the espoused by (among others) Martin McPhillips: the son of a b*tch is doing all of this on purpose to tear down the country.  From that perspective, he is no more serious about “attacking the deficit” than Charlie Sheen is serious about pursuing a life of celibacy.

    • In Radical-in-Chief Stanley Kurtz, in bland detail, describes exactly where Obama is coming from and explains that his purpose is indeed to crash the economy to open the way to a socialism. His main overt effort as president has been in the health care sector of the economy, where the Left has been slowly working its way for decades. But, as Kurtz makes clear, Obama was on board all along with the plan to crash the housing sector: it started in Chicago with ACORN (on the back of the Community Reinvestment Act) and then got a toehold in the lending standards of Fannie and Freddie in the 90s. That’s how a periodic housing bubble became a malignant and catastrophic housing bubble and collapse. The lending standards were debauched.

      This was the work of “community organizers.” That’s what they did and what they do. They are Marxists who work inside marginal and working class communities, eschewing Marxist vocabulary but instilling Marxist ideology by stealth (it is in fact a variant of the “popular front” approach used by Moscow in the 1930s. That was the framework through which Obama structured his political career after Columbia. If you don’t understand what the Left is doing with community organizing you cannot understand Obama.

      But the next point is that to fully understand Obama you have to get that he is an orthodox Marxist, who thinks his thoughts in Marxist terms. He’s not simply a generic Leftist, who has a tendency toward Marxist principles, which can in turn be watered down by “bourgeois” concerns. Obama is a straight up class struggle Marxist, who has no use for bourgeois principles and could care less about being judged in terms of them.

      And the United States was not called the Main Enemy by the Soviets for nothing. It was and still is the pillar of capitalism. It was the bone in the throat of scientific socialism, which is why Leftists are trained to hate it so.

      Because he was mentored as a young man by Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the CPUSA when that meant something (i.e., that you were a direct agent of the Soviets), the collapse of the Soviet Union in ’91 was probably one of the most traumatic moments of Obama’s life (he was about 30 at the time). He was already locking in with the community organizing schtick when it happened, but it must have been an incredible blow to his sense of identity as an orthodox Marxist, who had already learned from American Marxists like Frances Fox Piven to keep his real views cloaked in community organizing. Ten years earlier when he was at Occidental, Obama was still being open about his faith that the revolution would come.

      Orthodox Marxists, who think their thoughts in Marxist terms, are on the other side of the looking glass from where they reach back through to manipulate our “false consciousness.” The point is to “increase the contradictions” that burn within capitalism so that the system collapses, the fog of “bourgeois ideology” lifts, and the bedrock of class struggle takes charge and history is restarted, moving forward again according to the laws of scientific socialism. In other words, the worse the better.

  • Kevin, I (as we all) did lots of really seriously stupid, dangerous, moronic things in our teens, 20s, 30s… Does that mean that we cannot do our best to prevent our children from doing them? When I sometimes have flashbacks of some of the deadlier things that I survived, I am even more determined to keep my children from attempting these. Ryan screwed up with Med D but he appears to have learned from the experience.

    • TheOldMan absolutely we should do something about the deficit, no doubt about that.  But should’t he (Ryan) address Part D?  He leaves it out of his debt solution?  If he seriously wants to fix things and since his choice was to pile on the debt in past years, make D a part of the solution.  If Ryan indeed learned his lesson, then he should be speaking to that as well.  I think that since he voted for it, he now can’t address it, or won’t. 

      And speaking of stupid, dangerous, and moronic things in our teens and twenties, I could tell legendary stories of myself and McQ.  But that should wait for another day……..

  • Donald Trump called him the worst president ever (well, unless Donald Trump were to become president that is).

    This should make for a potentially good bookmark.  Because if Trump is serious, and he is not making some kind of publicity stunt (which is entirely possible), his chances at securing the nominee aren’t as bad as most might think.
    Personally, if Trump continues with his current meme, I give him one chance in three.
    All of the viable candidates for 2012 aren’t running – Rubio, Christie, Ryan, Jeb Bush, and others.  And why should they?  Much better to keep your powder dry for 2016, when beating the Dem nominee will be that much easier.  Defeating an incumbent is usually left to sub-par candidates (remember Dole and Kerry).
    So why give Trump one chance in three?  Just look no further than QandO’s own commentariat (and to a lesser degree, even it’s front page).  Full of conspiracy theories – to include this comment thread.
    So when the otherwise reasonable and cogent analysis usually witnessed from these untainted waters fouls into diseased springs of hysterical conspiracy theories, then what would you expect from the typically stagnant wells from which a political party’s base employs to bring its fruit to harvest?
    So it is not hard to imagine a proliferate weed like Trump to strangle out an otherwise more desirable crop?

    • Obama is a worse disaster than Bush.  Haha there I actually said that 🙂
      The country can’t wait another term for this character to do any more damage to the country.  Someone sensible better step forward soon.

    • Full of conspiracy theories – to include this comment thread.

      Where?  Was that you Friday DTs talking?

  • I think Trump to be a very fine candidate for the Republican nomination.   If he then can pick up a strong VP to help him promote Donald Trump the Republican Party it’s in the bag.  He would be the first president with cantilevered hair.  I predict a Trump Huckabee ticket.

    • I think Trump is a joke.
      We shall see…

      • I thought Obama would be buried at midnight by Hillary and Bill.  This game has gotten weird and at this point I have to wonder if Trump running isn’t like Kinky running here in Texas – it’s certainly gotten to the “why the hell not” stage.



      For a few months, Trump hashed out a policy agenda. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to fill a quickie book: The America We Deserve, published in January 2000. The Trump of 11 years ago sounds a lot like the Trump who has taken over cable TV and the Huffington Post top banner these past few weeks: He’s against immigration amnesty. He’s worried about terrorism. He’s rending his hair over America’s economic decline. Oh, and there were a few other things.
      “We must have universal healthcare,” wrote Trump. “I’m a conservative on most issues but a liberal on this one. We should not hear so many stories of families ruined by healthcare expenses.”
      The goal of health care reform, wrote Trump, should be a system that looks a lot like Canada. “Doctors might be paid less than they are now, as is the case in Canada, but they would be able to treat more patients because of the reduction in their paperwork,” he writes.

    • That would be akin to a Schumer/Pelosi ticket on Democratic side, huh brow? Glad you’re havin’ fun.

  • RgsP, I think Donald is the real deal.  I think America needs his Health Care Plan.  If not his plan then RomneyCare might be the ticket.  “He’s rending his hair (cantilevered, sorry mine) over America’s economic decline.”

  • yep McQ this is fun.  Ryan being the fiscal conservative and all, except for Part D.  But it’s just trillions.

  • Why are you going on about Medicare part D? Do you think the Democrats wouldn’t have pushed through a worse program in 2007, that would contain price controls on drugs?
    The costs can be justified if you believe $1000 spent on some Lipitor today will prevent $50000 in heart surgery in 10 years.

    • I am going on about Ryan talking his tea party fiscal conservative money saving mantra when in fact he has voted for trillions in debt for Part D and voted to raise the debt limit many, many times.  But suddenly he has become the GOP face of fiscal discipline.  Just seems ironic, that’s all.   But many who post here claim that Ryan is a changed man.  No more crazy spending from him and the rest of the conservatives. 

      • Sometimes you gotta choose between the lesser of two evils.  Given the alternative is to let Obama and his “plan” run its course – I’ll take Ryan,, Part D and all!

        You got a better alternative?

        • Nice comparison, and a very accurate one, the lesser of two evils.  The stark reality is that Ryan’s plan faces (and Obama’s as well) a gut check.  Don’t know what will emerge from the two plans but clearly Ryan nor Obama get their way.  So, i will wait for the real alternative, the one that gets fleshed out.   Glad you like Part D and Ryan, both fiscally very conservative.

          • Think ‘siding’ on the train Kev, maybe more conservative forces will nudge Ryan in that direction.
            In the meantime, as it has been now for FAR too long, Republicans are only the lesser of two evils.

  • I’m going along, reading the post, and thinking the author has half a clue.  Then I come to that throw away line about Obama being the worst President, {except for Trump}.  And whatever credibility he earned he threw away with a single sentence.
    Trump would be far and away a better President than any Democrat.  And that’s just a no-brainer.
    No one will, or could, be a worse President than the guy we have now, some ambiguous, anti-American type from God knows where.

    • Trump would be a disaster and anyone who actually follows politics knows that.

      The good news is he’s got very little chance of becoming president whether he runs as a Republican (unlikely), independent (more likely) or a Democrat as he used to identify himself (unlikely).

      Unlike several potential Republican candidates, Trump does not suffer from a lack of name recognition. Instead, he suffers from high unfavorable ratings. Most voters (53%) offer an unfavorable opinion of the reality TV star and businessman, including 29% with a Very Unfavorable view of him. Only 39% offer a favorable assessment, with 10% Very Favorable.

      Of course if he ran as an indy he’d pull votes from the GOP candidate and absolutely insure a 2nd Obama term.

      Speaking of credibility and all …

      • That Rasmussen poll isn’t actually that bad for Trump.

        His “very unfavorable” is ten points lower than Obama’s.

        The favorability could break his way if and when voters get the sense that he’s serious, if he is serious. So he’s not in terrible shape, given that he’s an unconventional candidate who is well-known but not in the role of a political figure.

        What I’m interested in about Trump is how unafraid he is to take it to Obama. He’s basically using the vernacular: Obama stinks; he’s destroying the country. After Trump is done with him, will Obama be better or worse off? What do you think? So, there’s something to be said for Trump as the first guy through the door.

        Now, as for down the road, primary voters might be thankful to Trump, but unwilling to go with him because he’s not cut from the usual mold (and, boy, do we need more of that; gosh, let’s nominate Jeb Bush!). On the other hand, I’ll be curious to see how serious Trump can be and whether he can get into a serious policy discussion. I have my doubts, but if he can do that it would be interesting to see what happens. But in terms of Obama, Trump could very well do significant damage to him, simply because he’s totally unafraid of offending anyone, especially Obama.