It is difficult to accept that a man so talented at successfully delivering a speech, via teleprompter, is so utterly bad in mastering political skills. Yet, we continue to see it play out in Barack Obama's presidency.
Barack Obama and his supporters continue to use the easy charge of racism when the public notices what a failure this administration has been to date. In fact, the race card has been thrown in debates so often - going back to the candidacy of Obama in 2008 - that the term has been completely diluted. It no longer has any oomph in its execution.
Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas lobbed the race card as recently as the debt ceiling debates in Congress were taking place. She thought it perfectly reasonable to claim it was racism that was denying the President his debt ceiling demands. Never mind it was because for the first time, this American President tripled the national debt in a matter of two years and the newly elected members of Congress were holding him accountable. It wasn't racism. It was accountability.
Racism isn't the cause of Barack Obama's failed administration. The cause is his inability to lead.
Let us be clear: We do not think that racism is the primary reason, or even a significant factor, in the failures of Obama's presidency. Obama is failing because of his inexperience, poor political skills, and rigid adherence to bad ideas. America is ready to be led by a black president; the problem is that the particular man we elected president turned out not to be, and still is not, ready to lead.
To blame Obama's failures on racism is to hold him to an unreasonably low standard. It is also to give in to a false sense of despair about racial progress in America.
President Obama knows the facts point to failure and not success in his policies. He even stressed to supporters this week that they should not be "bogged down" with details of policies when asking for support in his re-election bid.
The president, in a video conference with supporters Wednesday night from Chicago, encouraged his backers to focus on broad themes when it comes to his policies on taxes and war, instead of the specifics of individual policies.
"I think the key is not to get too bogged down in detail," the president said last night.
He specifically referred to taxes and the wars. He even told them that the campaign will provide solid talking point answers to incoming questions.
Obama said his campaign, led by Jeremy Bird, his national field director, would take the lead in ensuring that volunteers have good talking points to take out on the campaign trail. The president said his administration would also lay out new initiatives that would help his grassroots volunteers sell his record.
The president, himself a past community organizer, also said it wasn't so bad for volunteers to tell questioners that they don't know the answer.
President Obama is hoping that the same indifference to previous experience - or lack of - that he experienced and benefited from in 2008 will carry him to re-election. However, the times are quite different and he is the incumbent in 2012. He has a record. This time the infatuation with his speech making abilities and skills of teleprompter reading will not be enough. There is no indication that he is a writer and relies on young, enthusiastic men for that job.
Barack Obama is no longer the candidate of limitless possibilities. He is the candidate of what-the-hell-happened?
Today is President Obama's 50th birthday. After the parties and fundraisers are finished, it would serve him well that he stop and reflect a bit on his path to the future.