President Obama was asked if he could point to any mistakes he has made in his first four years in office at his Facebook town hall session last week. After correcting the questioner that he has been in office for two and a half years, as his professor mode kicked in, he once again proved how much he patterns his approach as former president Bush did: He couldn't think of a good answer. We all remember the abuse the press and Democrats enjoyed wielding towards George W. Bush as he stammered when asked that question himself.
But what mistakes has he already made? "There are all sorts of day-to-day issues where I say to myself, oh, I didn't say that right, or I didn't explain this clearly enough," Obama said, "or maybe if I had sequenced this plan first as opposed to that one, maybe it would have gotten done quicker."
But the president mentioned no actual mistakes. Next, he brought up the health care battle, not to admit error but to praise the work of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in pushing the national health care bill through Congress. The fight got pretty complicated, Obama said, "and I've asked myself sometimes is there a way that we could have gotten it done more quickly and in a way that the American people wouldn’t have been so frustrated by it?" Was that possibly a mistake? Obama quickly excused himself. "I’m not sure I could have because there’s a reason why it hadn’t gotten done in a hundred years," the president explained. "It's hard to fix a system as big as health care and as complicated as our health care system." After a good bit of talking, Obama still had not mentioned any mistake or anything he would do differently.
At that point, Obama decided to steer away from the subject of mistakes altogether. "I think the best way to answer the question is what do I feel I still have to get done," he said. He briefly mentioned the deficit and immigration reform.
See, it is never Obama's fault. Every action is blamed on someone else - usually Republicans - and if everyone would just cooperate with him, this country would be sitting pretty. What is most disturbing is that his man truly presents no leadership ability. A President who blames, bullies, and wages a perpetual class warfare to make his policy points is weak and non-effective. In many important areas, it is not that Republicans simply oppose his actions, it is that there is no policy.
Whether it is energy, national defense or major entitlement reform, President Obama hangs back and waits for an issue to be pressed before he weighs in. He may think this is keeping up with his theme of "no drama Obama" from the last campaign but it doesn't work once he is sitting in the Oval Office. Once behind that desk he is expected to present his policy decisions - or make them in the first place - and communicate them to the American people.
Shutting down oil and gas drilling is not responsible energy policy. Going into a third war in the middle east while denying it is war is not repsonsible national defense. Mocking and waging class warfare against the Republican plan to reform major entitlements is not mature leadership and does nothing to move the progress forward.
We deserve better.
This country is crying out for national leadership. Obama cannot win re-election in this atmosphere and by simply lashing out at Republicans when a policy is put out by them. Forming commissions, scheduling summits and bringing in additional czars is not governing in today's reality.