"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama Seems Lost

William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection and others have remarked about NATO refusing to heed the U.S.'s call for greater troop deployment in Afghanistan. I'm tempted to make some comment about rats deserting a sinking ship, but I'll refrain. Besides it's not wholly accurate.

I've talked about Obama's visible frustrations in another post. Combine this with a number of naive missteps in international relations as cataloged by Caroline Glick in her article, a Secretary of State tooling around Asia using first person singular as if she were the president (as noted by Mark Finkelstein at Finkelblog), Obama's idea that you can just send back an ally's gift with no comment and expect no misgivings (per the Telegraph.co.uk), and an image begins to emerge.

At first I thought, (perhaps hoped is a better word) that Obama would be as insincere as President Clinton had been, and run his administration according to the lowest common denominator and the polls. Hoping for insincerity in a president is hardly ideal, but I had no illusions about Obama being even close to an ideal president. As his campaign and inaugural speeches' veiled references to socialism hardly abated after his election, I began to worry that he was indeed a sincere socialist with an intrusive-government agenda to foist upon us (a view that hasn't really abated). Yet, after all the Democrat/Clinton cronies being arranged back into place within the executive, I again took heart by thinking that he was (once again) just another business-as-usual politician using populist appeal to further his own career.

Based on the pedestrian missteps however, I'm coming to the conclusion that this administration doesn't have much of a clue as to how to govern. The embarrassment of tax-dodging Daschle and all, Geithner's unimpressive (i.e. laughingstock) debut plan, allowing Pelosi and Reid to shape the "stimulus" bill (which even Obama claims is imperfect in language that seems to be getting more and more concrete) and Obama's own increasingly snippy demeanor seems to be the behavior of someone unaccustomed to government.

And, of course, Obama is. Being a community organizer (much like Jesus according to Susan Sarandon) and charismatic does not a leader make. His sole stint as a federal legislator (he has no executive experience) was simply used as a platform for his presidential bid. Perhaps his idea of reforming politician's "old bad habits" is partially based in the fact that he has no idea as to how anything in Washington actually works.

A number of economists and pundits have pointed out that even the concept of the stimulus bill is going into unknown waters, and oftentimes describe it as crap shoot. I think Obama's presidency itself is the crap shoot. We know little about him and he knows precious little about the workings of the federal government and the strategies and implications of international relations. Will he learn how to govern? If he does, what direction would he take the U.S.? Toward previously failed socialistic dreams of his father? Or will he try to placate the masses (as Clinton did) instead of "educating" them as socialists love to do?

No matter what the answers are, it's probably best to buckle down and be ready for a nasty, bumpy ride.

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