Leadership and character are two of the critical skills required to be president of the United States. President Obama has proven to be unimpressive in these regards. His pathetic negotiations with conservatives relating to the fiscal affairs of this country, along with his indecisive and blundering response to the crisis in Syria have taken a terrible toll on the reputation of our country, and have led me to believe he is not a capable president.
Yet, the president still has many supporters. It might be worthwhile to consider his resume up to this point, lest any readers think I am being too harsh in my assessment of him.
Off the bat, Obama attempted to make history by offering health care to millions of uninsured Americans. It is a noble objective that many liberal presidents before him hoped to accomplish, but could not. It could have been his signature achievement had it not been so ill timed. Obama was able to enact health care legislation because his party had a lock on the government, including a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. The implementation of Obamacare is now underway, but many are challenging the initiative.
The president miscalculated several issues. The first is timing. Frankly, the country could not, and still cannot, afford a multi-trillion dollar entitlement on the heels of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Secondly, the nation needs new jobs more than it needs universal health care. All the great minds in the Obama administration should have been focused on developing new ways to put people to work, not devising a massive new health care system. Thirdly, the president lost his lock on the government when the election of Scott Brown (R-Mass.) to the Senate enabled Republicans to sustain filibusters on virtually all new legislation. Brown used the health care issue to win his election. The impact of a change in this single seat in the Senate led to government paralysis over the next five and a half years.
Another major misstep was the incompetent way Obama negotiated with Republicans relating to the budget crisis. He thought he could convince America to support new entitlements and social programs in the face of ballooning deficits. Thanks to the untiring efforts of conservatives, out-of-control spending has abated for the time being (until Social Security and Medicare cost kick in) and significantly higher and unfair taxes have been deterred. Americans do not buy off on his “spend now and worry about out-of-control debt later” strategy. This battle led to the sequestration, which imposed inane and draconian cuts to important expenditures.
The debt ceiling fiasco is yet another item on the list of incompetent negotiations Obama has had with his opponents. Democrats, led by the president, lose every game of chicken they play with their opponents. Liberals in Washington do not have the courage nor the presence to win gut-wrenching political battles with conservatives.
The most recent negotiation catastrophe is in the diplomatic realm. Obama and his over zealous secretary of state have threatened numerous nations lately. None of their targets believe that the U.S. would actually resort to military action. The U.S. has become a paper tiger that North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, Iraq, and Afghanistan scorn and ignore. Frankly, the president cannot even lead his own country’s Congress, so why would any of these countries think that the U.S. is capable of leading the world?
Obama missed the boat on Syria. He vacillated for so long that Russia was able to upstage the U.S. by making a deal with Assad to give up his chemical weapons (we will see if Syria ultimately agrees to cooperate). Then Putin berated the U.S. in an op-ed piece in a major American newspaper. The loss of respect that has resulted because of our leaders’ amateurish behavior and inaction has been devastating. Our allies must now consider whether the U.S. will support them in a crisis.
The president’s arrogance and self-importance has made it difficult for him to accurately assess developing situations. No one can manage this country alone, even Obama. His circle of close advisers, I am sad to say, is not an A-team. The president continues to ignore real experts in his dealings domestically and internationally. Frankly, the president is so inexperienced in the art of dealmaking that he has hurt his country greatly.
Great leaders plan for contingencies. Where are the plans for Syria? The president has been acting like a deer in the headlights regarding Syrian genocide and has been unable to act; he always knew that Syria had WMDs. Unbelievably, after drawing “red lines” and threatening the offenders, he did not act and threw the whole issue over to Congress. Legislative Democrats have turned on him, so it is doubtful that Congress will ever approve military action against Syria.
It is no wonder that conservatives in Congress are so averse to administration proposals. They are concerned that the ready, aim, fire tactic of the president will make problems worse.
They are right to question the leadership of the man in the White House. I certainly do.