Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Unprepared President

The more behind I read about behind the scenes in the White House the more I think that Barack Obama's background left him utterly unprepared to be president.

Obama made it clear during the campaign that he saw differences in opinion as something that could be easily smoothed over. That was the basis of his offer to meet with the leaders of hostile countries without precondition. Domestically, Obama believes that all political differences can be resolved by getting people together. If they meet in good will and with the country's interests at heart then they will come to a reasonable consensus. It never occurred to him that instead of coming to a consensus, their views might harden and become non-negotiable. This has happened within his own cabinet.

I suspect that what Obama really believes is that a gathering of well-intentioned people will eventually come around to his way of thinking and is mystified when they do not. This leaves the President totally unprepared for the concept of principled opposition. Since he does not understand it, he attributes it to base motives. When Republicans opposed the stimulus and tried to explain their position, he lectured them about listening to Rush Limbaugh. When the Tea Party formed he blamed it on racism. When the Republicans had a landslide election in 2010 he blamed it on Fox News.

This is also why he keeps thinking that diplomacy will convince Iran to give up their nuclear program. Again, he can't grasp the idea of a fixed ideology so different from his own.

Obama is a believer in class warfare. One of his goals has been to raise taxes on the rich, not because it would increase revenues, but simply because he believes that they get to keep too much of their income.

President Obama means for green energy to be his signature, long-term accomplishment along the lines of Kennedy's commitment to a moon landing. That has led to billions in tax money wasted on failed technologies. When critics question the spending on green technologies, Obama complained that they were not forward-thinking and compared them to flat-earthers.

More then most residents of the White House, the Obamas live in a bubble. They consciously decided that they would not make any new friends when they went to DC because these could be people with agendas. Obama only has a few advisers he trusts. He dislikes Congress and does not have a personal relationship with anyone in Congress, not even the Democratic leaders he depends on.

Obama dislikes socializing and politics. He spends most evenings at home, eating dinner with his family. While this is admirable for most people, it puts him at a disadvantage.

Another casualty of Obama's dislike of Congress is his disdain for the separation of powers. He often complains about how powerless he is to accomplish anything. The EPA has expanded its authority to mandate automobile fuel standards and power plant emissions without Congressional approval. His Justice Department has made the case that "due process" required before executing an American citizen abroad does not have include the judiciary.

While Obama expects others to put the nation first, this is not in his temperament. He prefers to set political traps rather than to govern. After the Republicans made a proposal for reforming Medicare, Obama and the Democrats decided against offering their own reform. Instead they painted themselves as the defenders of the current system and ran ads showing the Republicans literally throwing seniors over a cliff. Obama will not even admit that there are severe structural problems in the entitlement programs. His policy on these and other problems is to "kick the can down the road" in the hope that eventually looming problems will be so immense that they can no longer be ignored.

Worst of all, Obama is so convinced of his own innate superiority that he does not recognize his shortcomings and try to correct them. Instead of addressing the concerns of the Tea Party, he wishes that he was as accepted in the US as he is in Europe. In other words, he blames his shortcomings on us for not recognizing his superiority.

All of this makes Barack Obama singularly unprepared for the office that he inhabits.

No comments: