March 16, 2011

It's not just about perks, there's responsibility too

Years ago, back in my politically involved days, there were quite a few people who were very eager to climb the party leadership ladder as they wanted to be invited to the insider meetings and know what was going on, and be treated with the respect due to a party official. But when the time came for organizational work, they were nowhere to be found. They wanted the prestige, perks and ego-boost of the office, but refused to do the work that was the other part of the job.

Watching Barack Obama's performance as President has reminded me of those people. While this has been especially true recently, it was evident from the beginning of his political career. By the end of his time in the Illinois State Senate, he had voted "present" 130 times, rather than take a stand on controversial issues. His career in the United States Senate continued this pattern as he kept his head down and didn't stand out from the pack, preferring instead to focus on a Presidential campaign. This lack of energy continued in the the first year of his Presidency as he was largely a bystander on the passage of both the mis-named stimulus package and Obamacare through Congress. In both cases, he offered little more than rhetorical support and rarely intervened in the legislative process beyond making speeches. Similarly, when the people of Iran rose up in revolt against its dictatorial leadership who have spent years pursuing nuclear weapons they are threatening to use against Israel, he sided with Iran's dictators.

This lack of effort has become especially noticeable in recent weeks. When the people of Egypt erupted in revolt in search of democracy, Obama did little more than make a speech offering support to Egypt's dictator. When Libya followed in revolt, he made a speech stating that Qaddafi had to go, but has done nothing else to support those attempting to overthrow a man with long ties to terrorists, who was caught pursuing weapons of mass destruction and has a long record of brutality against his own people. He has opposed enacting a no-fly zone over Libya to keep Libyan air power from being able to kill the revolutionaries, a move which even the Arab League has endorsed. Even France, home of cheese-eating surrender monkeys, has been more active than the United States on this matter, going so far as to grant diplomatic recognition to the rebels.

He's taken a similar approach as our budget deficit has exploded. (An explosion he bears much responsibility for.) He's done little more than criticize the Republican budget proposals, while offering little input of his own, even going so far as to reject the recommendations of the panel he convened. Despite bipartisan calls for his involvement in entitlement reform, he has said it's the responsibility of the Republicans to take the lead, even though he leads the Executive Branch and the Democrats still control the Senate.

But not to worry, not all the president's responsibilities have been abdicated: he has been on ESPN to announce his NCAA tournament picks and hung out with celebrities at a White House event honoring Motown. And he has headlined four Democrat fundraisers already this month.

It seems pretty clear that Obama was really after the ego-boosting and prestige of the Presidency, rather than actually being interested in doing the work that the country needs the President to do. This country, and the world, will be worse off for this lack of leadership. Although the case could be made that given his instincts we're better off with him not trying to lead, with everything going on right now the world needs a leader in the White House. It's a shame we don't have one and won't until at least January of 2013.

Posted by PaulSmithJr at March 16, 2011 10:39 PM | TrackBack

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But the inspirational power of McHopeyChange will stop the seas rising, heal the Earth and put a chicken in every pot (the last post was an exaggeration, sorry). Are you telling me phoning it in does not work if your President? Blasphemy, time for another hit from the bong...

Posted by: Hopium Smoker at March 17, 2011 08:52 PM