Free Markets, Free People


Dodd: Obama Must “Step Up”

Politico carries a story today quoting Sen. Chris Dodd saying President Obama needs to “step up” and give Congress “more of a framework to work with on health care reform”.

Or translated into common language that everyone can understand, Dodd is saying it is time for Obama to “step up” and lead.

There’s a problem, however – Obama has never led anything. He’s not a leader although he’s in the ultimate leadership job. His background, as many pointed out ad nauseum during the campaign, isn’t one of leadership. And when he was questioned about that fact, his claimed his successful campaign for the presidency proved his leadership abilities. If that’s not an acknowledgment of a paper thin leadership resume, I don’t know what is.

It has become even more obvious in this health care debate that he lacks the attributes of a leader. His first reaction to opposition was defensive. He and many in Congress attacked those who opposed him (and that continues today).

He then went into campaign mode, not understanding that doing so doesn’t constitute leadership on an issue. Unlike a leader, he’d literally outsourced his signature agenda item to Congress. Then, without apparently realizing it, his statements during his staged townhalls were diametrically opposed to what was actually in the House bill. It ended up hurting his credibility further.

Other examples of his lack of leadership experience and skills have been evident as well. He’s been dismissive of those who oppose him, preferring to wave away or ignore their criticism. He’s rarely involved himself in the nuts and bolts of legislation thereby leaving it to the liberal leaders of Congress to fashion the legislation in their own image, not his. Consequently he’s not seen as a strong leader even by his own party – thus the comment by Dodd.

I’ve heard people say that some people are born leaders. If that is true, Barack Obama isn’t one of them. Charismatic, intelligent and charming?

Yes.

A leader?

No.

My years in the military have convinced me that the vast majority of good leaders are made, not born. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I never served with one. However I have watched the development of good solid leaders throughout my career. In fact I was a part of the process, as it is the job of all leaders to train and mentor the next generation of leaders.

From the raw material of recruits and junior officers to Command Sergeants Major and Generals, these leaders were trained, tested, mentored and tested again. To gain the top rank they eventually earn they met the tests and gain the leadership experience necessary at every level to move on up the ladder one rung at a time.

Barack Obama has never been developed as a leader nor has he had to endure the tests a leader must endure. While I’m sure he’d deny it, he’s led a privileged life in which his charm, intelligence, charisma and a good helping of guile have been his primary means of advancement. And his political career has been perfectly tailored to take advantage of those attributes. Centered in the legislative branch where those are valued assets, he’s never been tasked to lead. Leadership in those venues is only vested in a few and with his short tenure at each level, leadership responsibilities were never vested in him. In general, it is one of the reasons that Senators rarely make good Presidents.

So he comes by his lack of leadership honestly – it is simply not something which was necessary in the track his life has taken to this point – but now finds himself in a real dilemma

He’s not a leader.

He really doesn’t know how to be a leader.

But he pursued and won a job that demands a set of skills he, to this point, doesn’t possess. That’s why reversion to what he knows – campaign mode – is his natural answer to “stepping up”. Given the attributes he does have, he feels that if he can just get in front of the media and the people, he can use his charm, charisma, intelligence and guile to convince them to back his agenda just as he was able to do during the election cycle.

What he doesn’t seem to realize is that’s not leadership. His days of uncontested speech loaded with glittering generalities and factual inaccuracies are over. “Feel good” transitions into “make good” when the presidency is won. Instead of talking about what can be, he’s now stuck with talking about what is. And “what is” can be fact checked.

He’s disconnected, not seeming to understand that it isn’t Congress’s job to read his mind and churn out legislation to match his desires. Instead it is his job to work with Congress to make that happen. He seems to want to reign, not lead.

As it stands now, Dodd is asking for something that Obama hasn’t the experience or ability to deliver. Of course Obama’s surrounded by smart advisers who must also understand this problem and are most likely working diligently to find some way to correct it. But again experience says leaders aren’t born or made overnight. And the presidency is far and away much to critical and demanding a job for someone to first be learning what leadership is all about and how to apply it.

~McQ

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

41 Responses to Dodd: Obama Must “Step Up”

  • I kinda feel bad for Chris Dodd. Come next year, he and his good buddies Harry “Dickless” Reid and Arlen “Switcheroo” Spector will all be unemployed.

    That’s a threepeat. And I look forward to the news shows that night (especially on MSDNC, the Comedy Network) having to announce that bit of good news, and that the Dems had their arses handed to them and Nancy Pelosi is out as Speaker.

    Anyone now care to predict the seat loss for the Dummies next year? I am up to 55 right now; am taking bets (no money – just pride) on the closest number to what really happens.

  • Of course Obama’s surrounded by smart advisers who must also understand this problem and are most likely working diligently to correct it.

    I have seen no evidence that Obama is “correctable”. Look at all of the protocol errors – it seems that he ignores the counsel of others, believing himself to know all he needs to know.

    Thus, even though he COULD be taught how to lead, and even though it would take a long time, I don’t think he realizes that he needs the lesson.

    He is unaware of what he doesn’t know – and this makes him, by far, the most dangerous man I think we’ve ever had in that office.

  • Thanks for the classic example of how people imagine traits to politicians they dislike. You make claims about Obama which are caricatured and in fact attributes that only those who know him intimately would really know about. No, you have an image of him, and you posit that image as reality, picking and choosing what to emphasize to buttress your pre-existing bias. People left and right do that all the time. You’re treating Obama much the same way the left treated Bush, Cheney and McCain. It’s imagination-driven motivated bias.

    I’m just finishing “Fight For America 2008″ about the campaign, giving inside details about the candidates. This includes John McCain’s horror at the mistakes made in Iraq, including his strong emotion when thinking about the families, civilians and children there, as well as his assessment that was a major strategic failure, one of the worst in US history. It includes real examples of how Obama leads, including Obama’s noting that he’s a “slow starter”. I suspect he’ll surprise you, and at some point this blog post will be a nice example of wishful thinking that’s been disproven. Time will tell.

    • Scott, you treated Palin very badly indeed, and she is a real leader. Yet you defend Obama, who has no actual leadership experience. And you have the gall to lecture others.

      You would think that an attribute like leadership would be well known in a presidental candidate, yet in order to know anything about Obama’s leadership yoou need to be a toady reading details of his campaign!?

    • “… attributes that only those who know him intimately would really know about.”

      Thanks for the classic (and amusing) example of Erb idiocy. If Obama is keeping all those leadership skills, charm, charisma, experience, etc. hidden so that only his intimates know about them he is much dumber than anyone thought.

      ” giving inside details about the candidates”

      Well, they aren’t so ‘inside’ anymore, are they? Do you think perhaps that only you have access to this ‘inside’ information?

    • Scott, at this point, Obama has shown no leadership. He let Congress develop the “not so much” stimulus, the energy legislation, and a health care bill he gets wrong. That is what McQ is pointing out.

      When Obama went to the teleprompter to give his standard stump speech, I doubt it was his idea. I suspect his handlers were afraid he would get off topic and commit the “gaffe” of actually telling the truth. In spite of the Baltz-Haynes book, we really don’t know how much Obama was involved in developing the campaign strategy. We do know the results of the only leadership position he ever held, the Annenberg Challenge, is hidden behind closed doors.

      Rick

    • The other thing, Scott, is that you have very little to offer besides ad hominim attacks. Provide some example of real Obama leadership, instead of claiming it exists.

      Given that Obama let himself become distracted in a healthcare press conference by a despute between a cop and some radical left professor of hate shows a serious lack of basic leadership skills. So far, he has shown no real leadership that I’m aware of, and his handling of pretty much everything has been a disaster.

    • Thanks so much for having no confidence in Our Dear Leader. He is obviously a man after my own heart, having done everything right so far and nothing wrong except making the traitors in this country angry at him. You are treating him badly because you don’t know of him – you don’t know his heart, or his smooth skin, or the way he chuckles when you stroke underneath his chin.

      I am just finishing “Barack Obama: He Can Do No Wrong” by Karab Amabo, one of, I believe, the finest writers in America today. His “Ted Kennedy: A Man for All Americans” is now a bestseller, as was his “John Kerry: A Real President for Our Ages” (2004). I remember one of the first books of his that I read, “Michael Dukakis: He Will Be a President the World Will Cheer” (1988). I still cry when I think of how this nation was denied the leadership a Mike Dukakis would have brought us.

      This newest book details how John McCain ran a terrible campaign in the face of one of the greatest by Obama, and that, as Amabo writes, that some Republicans clearly maneuvered the vote to deny Obama at least three states which should have been in his column. So, when we hear these fake polls that Obama is sinking in popularity, one has to take them with a grain of heavy salt. Obama is not just popular – he is loved, by all Americans, even me, Snott Disterbed.

    • You’re seriously offering the argument that we can’t tell from here whether or not Obama is a leader? Seriously? What, is he doing stealth leadership? “Hey, guys, keep this on the down-low, but we really need to go this way and here’s the plan to get there….ssshhhhhh! don’t tell anyone!” It’s leadership so good you can’t even see it! It’s so good it’s not even there!

      If there’s any attribute we can see from here, it’s whether or not he’s a leader. Is he leading? No. He’s clearly not leading. Therefore, he’s not a leader. It doesn’t matter what smokescreen of words you put up, and even the mighty word-twisting power of postmodernism isn’t up to the task of making Obama a “leader”. He’s not a leader, because he’s not leading.

      • Ott Scerb…….WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!

        • Thanks for the classic example of how people imagine traits to politicians they dislike. Of course, we on the left never do that. Bush was every bit the odious, Hitlerlike figure we understood him to be, and I still don’t understand why you dense righties had anything good to say about him.

          You make claims about Obama which are caricatured and in fact attributes that only those who know him intimately would really know about. Stop laughing! Leadership is a very private thing, and Obama might be the best leader since Lincoln. We’ll have to wait and see. But no, you have an image of him, and you posit that image as reality, picking and choosing what to emphasize to buttress your pre-existing bias. People left and right do that all the time, except me, of course. You’re treating Obama much the same way the left treated Bush, Cheney and McCain. It’s imagination-driven motivated bias. And McQ’s years as someone who trained on leadership and then evaluated and others doesn’t count. I decree it. Because it was all done in the context of the military, and at least a third of those types have permanent psychological problems, as I’ve talked about before.

          So such people are obviously unfit to disagree with my judgment. And I have lots of direct experience with leadership. Besides my extensive pizza management experience, I have led the political science faculty here, working to gain consensus on such complex issues as what percentage of Marxists vs what percentage of wise pragmatics like me we should have, and what variety of coffee we will put in the faculty lounge coffee machine. So I easily outtrump anything that basket case McQ has to say on the subject of leadership.

          I’m just finishing “Fight For America 2008″ about the campaign, giving inside details about the candidates. It’s written by a wise leftist, of course, and includes John McCain’s horror at the mistakes made in Iraq, including his strong emotion when thinking about the families, civilians and children there, as well as his assessment that was a major strategic failure, one of the worst in US history. Yes, I’ve told you all along how Iraq was our biggest mistake, and the fact that McCain’s public stance was unwavering support for it just doesn’t count when a wise leftist author claims he felt otherwise.

          Now where was I before I went off on Iraq for no particular reason except that I’m a touch obsessed by it? Oh yes. It also includes real examples of how Obama leads, including Obama’s noting that he’s a “slow starter”. Yes, he’s going to start leading just any time now, and the whole thing about squandering his honeymoon period and losing the confidence of the American people doesn’t mean a thing. I decree it. I suspect he’ll surprise you, and at some point this blog post will be a nice example of wishful thinking that’s been disproven. Just like all the stuff you dense, ex-military basket cases post here.

          Time will tell. That means if I’m wrong and the GOP beats Obama like a drum in 2010, I can reply, “Well, I didn’t really say Obama was going to stage a dramatic turnaround, I just said I suspect he will surprise you.” That way, I’ll never have to admit that I ever got anything wrong, because except for an occasional thing that’s blatantly obvious to everyone like admitting the stimulus I pimped so hard for was misguided, I find it really hard to admit that I’m ever wrong. When you’re as brilliant as I am, that’s understandable. And I’ve been working with technique for a long time – back in 2007 I used pretty much the same rhetoric in claiming that the whole Beauchamp thing might be true and you nasty right wingers were jumping to conclusions. And then I never said anything about it again, which worked quite well. And just shut up about the Palin smear thing, just shut up about that! She was unethical and corrupt, and I didn’t either smear her with unfounded accusations from a left-wing site!

          Now, John Kerry, there was a leader! He was a war hero and a shining knight who completely told the truth about everything, and all the stuff those fifty guys said about him were lies. I decree it. So does Wikipedia. So if you dense righties hadn’t smeared him, maybe we would have had a real leader since 2004. But noooooo, you had to use his own words to make him look like a weak, ineffective leader. Couldn’t you have shut up about the “for it before I was against it” thing? I worked in DC, and that’s just the way things work there, which of course you thick righties are just too dumb and inexperienced to understand. That’s why I have to come here and lecture to you, and it’s not because I have a gnawing need to find someone to feel superior to so I can salve my own doubts about self-worth, so stop saying that! I never doubt my self-worth! I’m brilliant, and I have advanced degrees and many important accomplishments such as a book that is not either from a vanity press! So just shut up about that whole obsession thing! Besides, it’s mean!

    • Obama’s been hiding his true leadership level.

      His actual level is OVER 9000!!!!!!!!!!

  • The thing with Obama is that his chance to learn and trun things around is slipping away quickly. Clinton was able to tack right and go on to win re-election, but there is no evidence that Obama is willing to do that, and I think he wouldn’t be able to anyway (Clinton ran as a moderate, but the left feels that Obama is their bitch).

    2010 will be much harder for Obama. In 2011 he will not have the Democrat advantage he now has. Soon, his option for radical efforts will be forign policy and EOs, and his legislation will freeze and popularity plummit if he continues on his hard left tack.

  • Obama reigns, he doesn’t rule. It almost remainds me of an old Robert Redford movie, ‘The Candidate(?)” where, after winning the election, he asks his advisors “What do we do now?”.

  • Obama might be better off in 2010, if Republicans do make significant gains. I think that one of his dilemmas right now is that he doesn’t have anyone to effectively demonize when things don’t go as planned. He’s tried demonizing health care providers and pharmaceutical companies, but both have been willing to support his plan or cut deals with his administration. He’s tried demonizing doctors, even as he tells us that health decisions will be in you and your doctor’s hands. He’s tried demonizing people who are genuinely concerned over the changes that are being proposed, and has appeared vexed at the response.

    Obama in 2011 probably won’t get much of his agenda passed, but if Republicans have control of congress, he’ll be able to demonize them more effectively. Maybe it saves him in 2012, maybe it just guarantees that he’ll be a one-term President. But I bet he’ll sleep easier knowing that he can point fingers at someone other than a fellow Democrat.

  • He really doesn’t know how to be a leader.

    I disagree.

    The problem is just that he has no Earthly idea how to be a(n) good/effective leader. Therein does lie the devil of the details.

    • That doesn’t make any sense, Scott – unless you know what leadership is and how apply it, it is a given that you can’t be either good or effective at it. Show me anywhere in his career where he’s had to lead.

      Leadership isn’t something you can read about and then expect to do. It is something you have to learn and practice, and learn from your experience and practice some more. Even those who aren’t great leaders can sometimes be effective leaders in certain situations. He’s shown me absolutely nothing that would indicate he even understands the tenets of leadership. There’s no question then that he’d be either “good” or “effective” at something he doesn’t understand and has never practiced.

  • To govern is to choose. That is a lesson Bill Clinton learned as a governor and re-learned in the wake of 1994.

    Has the President learned that lesson? His campaign was predicated on easy solutions to difficult problems. Nobody was going to have to eat spinach, except “the rich”, “evil corporations” and “lobbyists”.

    Leadership is hard enough without setting yourself up for failure by mischaracterizing your solutions as easy.

  • But Obama has led stuff. He led about 15 mindnumbed robots at a community organization event to protest something.

    Surely that gives him loads of experience to be President. At least according to the press and left. Oh that experience and the fact he is a democrat. Of course that last part is all they need.

  • It was in the fifth year of his presidency, after he had shown a strong capacity for leadership, that Bush committed what I regard as the most singular mistake, leading to his most singular failure, as president. He punted the ball to Congress on Social Security reform after having staked two presidential campaigns on “touching the third rail.”

    He gave Congress nothing to work with and they returned it to him in the exact condition it had arrived.

    Maybe Bush will tell us why he did it that way in his memoirs, but I doubt that he’ll ever really explain it. Unless he foresaw the coming of a huge market correction that would negatively warp understanding of a market solution to Social Security reform, I can’t think of a good excuse not to propose something bold and something that common sense would tell us could work.

    That was the failure of a leader who had already shown that he could lead.

    Obama walked into a nearly identical failure not in his fifth year, but in his first six months. And not just with health care.

  • The Clown’s™ Economic Projections: 10% unemployment in 2010!

    http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/6720/ombeconomicprojections2.jpg

    Figures. Obama is just a POS halfwit thug politician who is lucky he got elected. Bt once elected, he has had absolutely no idea what to do but blame his predecessor for his problems and punt the ball when it comes to everything else.

  • The Annointed One’s biggest leadership problem is his unwillingness to accept responsibility. He has no problem making decisions. One could also say that he was simply delegating when he let SanFran Nan, Dingy Harry, and the other fools in Congress (BIRM) draft Porkulus and the health takeover plans; the president doesn’t need to be intimately involved in drafting legislation, which is the Congress’s job anyway.

    However, he can’t stand criticism, and so does anything he can to avoid responsibility when things don’t go well. So, we get treated to spectacles like Gibbsy trying to explain that Porkulus was never intended to “stimulate” the economy, or claims that the AG is an independent official who made the decision by himself to pursue prosecutions against the CIA, or that TAO hasn’t even bothered to read the health care bills and hence has no idea what’s really in them (and is therefore not responsible for anything that people might find objectionable). We also get a steady stream of efforts to pin EVERYTHING on somebody else, whether it’s Bush, Wall Street, the insurance companies, banks, etc. I’m sure we’ve all seen “leaders” like this, whether in the military or in civvie street: if things go well, they take the credit. If things go badly, it’s ALWAYS somebody else’s fault.

    As for Dodd demanding that TAO “step up”… TAO HAS stepped up. He’s been campaigning hard, joining in the other dems as they smear opponents, astroturf support, and try to convince people that anything bad they’ve heard or read about the takeover is a lie planted by the insurance industry, the GOP, and Rush Limbaugh. What more does Captain Countrywide want? It’s not LEADERSHIP that the dems want from TAO: it’s for him to work his fabled magic so they don’t get clobbered in the midterms. They’re watching a historic opportunity turn into a historic debacle that may cost many of them their phony-baloney jobs, and they’re desperate for somebody to make it stop.

  • Rahm won’t let Barack lead .. and Barack is OK with that.

  • Now that Teddy is dead Dodd is my vote as biggest radical, limousine liberal, disingenuous dirtbag in congress.

  • Scott ERb

    Your comments are laughable.

    For folks who have served in the military for any decent length of time (especially in leadership positions) the traits of a good leader are evident.

    Obama doesnt have them.

    Some folks come into their own after being thrust into a position to do so. Sadly Obama has shown no growth in that area.

    Of course some folks in academia (like yourself) believe leadership is something that is shown at a staff meeting by deciding what liberal textbook will be used in history class.

    • Heh … well said, RM. It’s always fun being lectured on leadership by someone who’s top leadership responsibility had to do with the making of pizzas.

      Your point, however, is correct. As we both know, the military prepares you for leadership and then gives you all you can handle in practical experience. And that gives you a perspective on the subject of leadership those who’ve never led have difficulty understanding or appreciating. In my case, 28 years of leadership positions coupled with developing and evaluating leaders (and writing their efficiency reports) makes one pretty handy at identifying good leaders and good leadership traits. I’m seeing none exhibited thus far in this presidency.

      Leadership is an art that is developed, practiced and learned over many years through experience with increasing responsibility. Obama has none of that sort of experience. The presidency is literally leadership OJT for him.

      Who knows – maybe he’s a fast study and has some natural talent for leadership. If so, all of that is well hidden at the moment.

  • Having been privileged to know one Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, knowing real leadership when you see it isn’t that difficult. Obama doesn’t qualify.

    I also studied the emergence of leadership among young adults in a task-oriented group, and what I found was an extremely strong correlation between leadership (there defined as achieving one’s policy goals) and the ability to observe not just one’s own followers but the followers of one’s opponents. The most effective “leaders” were very aware of the followers of other “leaders” and made their pitches and adjustments apparently based on what they learned from that observation.

    When was the last time anyone believes Obama paid any attention to his opponents’ followers (say, Tea Party protesters) and actually learned anything from them, let alone changed his behavior?

    • JorgXMcKieThe most effective “leaders” were very aware of the followers of other “leaders” and made their pitches and adjustments apparently based on what they learned from that observation.

      Excellent point.

      TAO was billed as some sort of “post-partisan politician”, a man who would heal all our divisions and lead a united people to some sort of non-partisan utopia. IIRC, he claimed that his great skill was sitting in a room with people arguing amongst themselves, listening to their opinions, and bringing them all together.

      Horsesh*t.

      TAO is a politician like most of the rest. If there is any appreciable difference between him and the other wardheelers in DC, its that he has a particularly virulent mean streak, a willingness – even eagerness – not only to disagree with his critics and opponents but to outright villify them as morally corrupt and not worth hearing. Consider as evidence his recent complaints that people who oppose the health care takeover are “bearing false witness” and that his opponents “shouldn’t do any talking”. This isn’t a man interested in persuading his opponents or even reaching a compromise with them: this is a man who wants his opponents to be ground into the dirt.

      That liberals still buy into the mystique of the post-partisan, messianic Obama… Well, these are people who deify Ted “The Swimmer” Kennedy, so what can we expect?

  • Oh. And I was thinking of that “step up” remark as in “step up to the plate” and demonstrate one’s skill in baseball. A metaphor for demonstrating one’s ability as it were.

    Unfortunately for Dodd, Obama is no Alber Pujols or Derek Jeter, but more like Eddie Gaedel or Mighty Casey.

  • “I’ve heard people say that some people are born leaders. If that is true, Barack Obama isn’t one of them. Charismatic, intelligent and charming?

    Yes. ”

    You forgot “pandering”.

  • Obama is not even a MANAGER.

    Just about anyone with a days training can “manage” something simple, like a very small department. Look at the 18 year-olds that are “Management Trainees”.

    LEADERSHIP is something else entirely. Management is essentially clerical or administrative; leadership is getting the best people then getting their best performance via PERSUASION.

    Obama is a thug who panders to leeches invoking force against the leeched.

  • Leadership is not the same as popularity, which I assume makes it a very difficult concept for most politicians to understand. I do believe there are some born leaders, but most people are not; good leaders mostly develop through experience and the guidance of others. Obama certainly does not have the former, and I am not sure he has the humility to accept the latter.

    Probably the singular most important aspect of leadership is setting an example and, when possible, sharing the sacrifices of those led. The little things make a huge difference. Just an example, off the top of my head, is when Obama cranked up the thermostat in the White House. Not a big deal, except for a guy who actually said “We can’t … keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times” and is pushing a cap-and-trade agenda. I do not believe that a good leader can live by double standards. In the military, soldiers see through that, and they despise it more than anything else.

  • As for Cooper and health care, HR3200 is more a bargaining chip than a bill—and a bad idea, at that. It forces Democrats like Cooper to take unnecessary votes on provisions like the public option and taxes that can come back to haunt them—especially when those provisions won’t be part of the final bill.

    Exactly how does Joe Klein know what will be in the final bill ?
    Perhaps Joe could tell us what will be in the final bill .. so at least then we that take aim at a meaningful target instead of this amorphous cameleon of a bill which always seems to make everybody wrong when criticizing it.

michael kors outlet michael kors handbags outlet michael kors factory outlet