Free Markets, Free People


Why experience and leadership count

Read the following two paragraphs and tell me which conservative publications editorial board had this to say about President Obama and the current political situation in which he finds himself.

Shellacked at home, shellacked abroad. President Obama’s Asia trip is extending a losing streak with the latest setback – a refusal by other major financial powers to follow his lead to revive the global economy.

The president’s nostrums, which began with a call for stimulus-style pump priming by other nations, had evolved into a plan to ease wild swings in currency values and overboard trade imbalances. But he got next to nothing in showdown meetings with other leaders of the G-20 nations, or major economic powers. U.S. leadership, once taken for granted, has all but vanished, and no one’s in charge.

If you guessed Wall Street Journal, Washington Examiner or Washington Times, give yourself zero points for this particular exercise. It was a trick question – the answer is the San Francisco Chronicle.

That’s right. Nancy Pelosi’s hometown newspaper, the paper of record for one of the most liberal cities in one of the most liberal states in the union seems to be acknowledging in fairly forthright terms the diminishment of the US political leadership both here and abroad.

They are also acknowledging something else that the left has been loathe to admit during these past two years. That diminished political stature is the result not just of circumstances but because of a real lack of leadership. When the Chronicle uses the words “no one’s in charge”, they’re not alluding to the financial situation being the problem, they’re making the point that the president is not exercising the basic leadership necessary or expected to do what must be done to maintain what was once “ taken for granted.”

There’s no danger of reading too much into the Chronicle’s two lead paragraphs. It is a very clear in its message. The President of the United States is not living up to expectations. And even his greatest supporters are beginning to see the results of that problem.

The administration likes to tout the fact that they have restored the good name of the US among the nations of the world after its purported decline during the Bush years. That’s a hollow claim if this is the result. “Good names” do not bring foreign policy success – only hard -nosed leadership focused on doing what is best for the country accomplishes that. And this president has exhibited far too little if any of that thus far.

If nothing else what this presidency should again establish as a guiding principle for voters in the next election is “there is no substitute for experience”. Experience is where leadership is developed and honed. Experience produces a record by which those who choose our political leaders can go for proof that a person is up to the job they’re pursuing.

The San Francisco Chronicle, among others, is learning that reality has certain rules that you simply can’t waive away. With Obama, voters did what speculators did during the dot-com bubble. They pretended that the law of economics no longer applied to that particular segment of the economy and it was alright to waive away conventional economic wisdom about P/E ratios and plunk down billions on companies who’d never made a dollar or sold a product.

Economic reality soon burst that fantasy with devastating effect and devastating losses.

Because of the same sort of thinking, we now suffer with a “leader” who has never led anything, never learned what it means to lead and is, frankly, out of his depth both domestically and on the foreign stage. The disastrous Asian trip simply reaffirms the point.

If we manage to survive the next two years under this administration there’s perhaps another very important lesson voters should take the polls when they next choose a president: the White House should never again be treated as an OJT position.

~McQ

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22 Responses to Why experience and leadership count

  • The real question is: Can the world survive two more years in a leadership vacuum from the US?  And if it does survive, what will it look like?

  • “Unexpectantly” Chicago ward boss meets with failure in real-world dealings…
    You know the old saw must be true: You get what we paid for. Or you vet, in this case.
    I thought he looked like a Post Turtle, I’m dying of surprise now.


     

  • OK, while I agree with your broad point, I’ll play a little devil’s advocate.
    JFK was never in an administrative position (I think).  (He was also a very mediocre president, and his re-election was in doubt.  Still…)
    A normal human being of above-average intelligence could be a competent POTUS.
    A deeply pathological person of whatever intelligence CAN possess impediments to learning that bar them from ever being a good POTUS, regardless of experience or that ethereal quality called “leadership” (which we will treat for brevity’s sake as ethereal…though it really can be nicely described).

    • JFK was never in an administrative position

      …well many not an “administrative position,” but he was an officer in the Navy which definitely qualifies as executive experience

      • ” . . he was an officer in the Navy which definitely qualifies as executive experience.”

        That also applies where LEADERSHIP is concerned!

    • I think it’s fair to remember that JFK’s inexperience led to his agreeing to a summit meeting with Khrushchev in 1961, where his atrocious performance gave the Soviets the confidence to push back when we discovered that they were putting nukes in Cuba.  We just managed to avert a nuclear exchange at the time.  Kennedy showed toughness, resilience, and resolve in standing up to Russia at that moment and thus we forget that it was his humbling at Khrushchev’s hands a year earlier that probably led to the situation in the first place.

  • More to the point, do you know of ANY modern Liberal who has Leadership qualities?  I can’t think of a single one.  Maybe one of those left wing Hollywood directors, at least they know how to give people orders and get something done.

    Otherwise I think that something about being a left winger tends to make you a dissembling pussy, but maybe that’s just me.

  • It’s what happens when you vet the opponents vice-presidential candidate more thoroughly, by orders of magnitude, than you do your #1 man.

    • They vetted Joe the Plumber more thoroughly than Barack.

      But we need to expect it.  Just look at all the scrutiny they gave to John Edwards.

  • This only goes to show that when the problems of the world are vast,
    picking a leader with less than the necessary experience leaves you with a government that is “half-vast.”

  • But he ran a brilliant campaign…
    snark off, I am not sure many presidents could have gotten the G-20 to agree about trade imbalances and currencies.

    • … but to mess up a trade pact with South Korea, a country that has every child learning Korean and English so it can be competitive in business markets.  Unforgiveable.

    • Though when you go around saying the US is just another nation, why shouldn’t you get “voted” down by the G-20.

    • I think the disappointment among the left is due to the feeling that Obama’s approach to world affairs would bear sweeter fruit after eight years of George Bush ‘damaging’ our standing with the rest of the planet.  There is a genuine belief that on the global stage, if you try really hard to be a nice guy, everyone else will follow suit.  Reality has, time and again, shown that this is folly, but some dreams die hard.

  • This is yet another clipping of the left expressing disappointment in Baracky to add to add to the file for comparison with their 2012 editorials endorsing him vs whatever evil (and stupid) Republican they nominate

  • The icing on the cake is that if Barry resigned today, we would have Joe Biden! to provide the needed leadership.
    For some reason, the Onion’s relentless portrayals of Biden sort of makes me sympathetic to him. If he were to screw up, it would be expected, so no big deal. Obama somehow exudes this air of super confidence so that when nothing happens, its annoying.

  • SFC – President Obama’s Asia trip is extending a losing streak with the latest setback – a refusal by other major financial powers to follow his lead to revive the global economy.

    McQWhen the Chronicle uses the words “no one’s in charge”, they’re not alluding to the financial situation being the problem, they’re making the point that the president is not exercising the basic leadership necessary or expected to do what must be done to maintain what was once “ taken for granted.”

    While I am not about to argue that The Dear Golfer has EVER demonstrated leadership (it would interfere too much with his golf game and make the wagyu taste funny), this particular case is one of the world looking at his plan in horror and rejecting it; all the “leadership” in the world wouldn’t make them agree.

    This is The Dear Golfer’s principle problem: his ideas are crap.  Hard-nosed politicians abroad understand this and, hence, do not take him seriously.  This may actually be a blessing in disguise: the rest of the world seems to be refusing to continue to pursue the Obama / Geithner / Bernacke plan of spending our way out of the dark valley of debt and default, but instead is starting to realize that fiscal moderation (dare I say “conservatism”) is the only hope of avoiding a worldwide financial collapse the likes of which we’ve NEVER seen.

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