Friday, December 02, 2011

Obama Missing in Action For the Big Debates

While Republicans are duking it out in their presidential primary and trying to bloody the other guy to improve his or her ranking in the polls, President Obama is failing miserably not just in his policies but in his judgement of painting the GOP as the bad guys in Washington.
From Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal:

The only way to win America right now is to govern selflessly and seriously. His top advisers, those knowing, winking bumpkins, cannot see this. America is in crisis. It knows it's in crisis. It cannot tolerate the old moves anymore, the "every problem is just an issue to be manipulated for gain." The president was once seen as an idealist. He was hired to be an idealist! His ignorant shrewdness, his small-time cleverness—it just won't do. Nobody wants it. It's why people want to fire him.

I was interested in hearing both former GOP Chairman Michael Steele and liberal New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman state this morning on a cable channel television show that Barack Obama is neither a big thinker nor able to get past governing as a standard politician. Though he campaigned on being other than a typical Brand X politician, he is anything but that new brand of political leader. The further he gets into re-election campaign mode, the more evident this fact is to the voter.

One marketing point for then candidate Barack Obama in 2008 was that he was "no drama Obama", that he was steady and calm as the nation devolved into an economic crisis. That may be true but that steady and calm turns out to just be incompetence. He side steps the big problems and their debates by tossing off the problem to Congress and tasking Congress to find a solution. He does it by naming commission after commission to kick an issue down the road - past re-election time. This has been seen in now two commissions in the past year tasked with finding deficit reduction. The Simpson-Bowles commission and the Super Committee both failed to receive any endorsements from President Obama and the last minute deal with Congress to avoid a government shutdown during last summer only highlighted the aloof and weak leadership skills of the President.

As Peggy Noonan points out, when Barack Obama complains about the failures of Congress, of Washington D.C., he is speaking about his own leadership. Obama is the leader in D.C. He chooses to make Congress his whipping boy instead of leading them with success.

The latest failure of executive leadership is the stalemate over the payroll tax cut extension. Obama is blaming Republicans and saying that Republicans won't vote to raise taxes on "billionaires and millionaires". Democrats say that the payroll tax extension monies should go into the general revenue coffers instead of Social Security coffers. The stalemate cannot be blamed on just one party. President Obama was missing in action throughout the process, just as is his habit.

President Obama is continuing on his decline in the polls on his leadership abilities. He is now in Jimmy Carter territory and that is not good news for him. He does himself no favor by continuing to wage class warfare and deepening the division between the two ruling parties. He doesn't seem to realize that Independent voters - the voters without whom he cannot win re-election - have stopped supporting him in droves. They do not have patience for the phony arguments and the unnecessary bitterness so prevalent in Washington, mostly coming from the White House.

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