Sunday, June 27, 2010

The "Peter Principle" President

When I see Obama, I see a man utterly bored by his job. He ran on a flimsy resume, propped himself up with grandiose rhetoric, and has now found himself incapable of actually doing the job. He’s not burned out; he’s an embodiment of “the Peter Principle” – a man promoted to his own level of incompetence.

He began as a “community organizer”; associating with vapid Left-Wing radicals, mobilizing against the status-quo, whatever the current status-was at the time. Eventually, he parlayed this dubious "experience", with the help of underhanded Chicago-style politics, into a seat in the U.S Senate.

In fact, he may have risen “to his own level incompetence: in the Senate; once in the Senate, he, after only two tears, missed as much as 90% of the floor votes:
As Byron York has recently written:
He won in 2004, but the Senate proved unsatisfying, too. By mid-2006, Majority Leader Harry Reid "sensed his frustration and impatience, had heard rumblings that Obama was already angling to head back home and take a shot at the Illinois governorship," write Mark Halperin and John Heilemann in the new book Game Change. Reid knew "Obama simply wasn't cut out to be a Senate lifer."

According to the book, the majority leader invited Obama to his office for a talk. "You're not going to go anyplace here," Reid told Obama. "I know that you don't like it, doing what you're doing." Reid suggested Obama run for president. Obama had been a senator for all of 18 months at the time. Soon after, he was off and running.

What drove Obama was not just ambition, although he is certainly ambitious. As he became frustrated in each job, Obama concluded that the problem was not having the power to do the things he wanted to do. So he sought a more powerful position.
Well, we all know how that turned out, in true “Peter Principle” fashion, Reid suggested that Obama, who was bored with being Senator after 18 months, and was “not going to go anyplace here”, suggested that he run for president.

Now, 18 months into his term as president, Obama seems dissatisfied, and that dissatisfaction is translating into a “Zoning Out”, as Mark Steyn puts in in a recent column:
What do Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and BP have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re both Democratic Party supporters.

Or they were. Gen. McChrystal is a liberal who voted for President Obama and banned Fox News from his headquarters TV. That may at least partly explain how he became the first U.S. general to be lost in combat while giving an interview to Rolling Stone. They’ll be studying that one in war colleges around the world for decades. The managers of BP were unable to vote for Mr. Obama, being, as we now know, the most sinister, duplicitous bunch of shifty Brits to pitch up offshore since the War of 1812. But, in their “Beyond Petroleum” marketing and beyond, they signed on to every modish nostrum of the eco-left. Their recently retired chairman, Lord John Browne, was one of the most prominent promoters of “cap-and-trade.” BP was the Democrats’ favorite oil company. It was to Mr. Obama what TotalFinaElf was to Saddam Hussein.

But what do Gen. McChrystal’s and BP’s defenestrations tell us about the president of the United States? Mr. Obama is a thin-skinned man and, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, White House aides indicated that what angered the president most about the Rolling Stone piece was “a McChrystal aide saying that McChrystal had thought that Obama was not engaged when they first met last year.” If finding Mr. Obama “not engaged” is now a firing offense, who among us is safe?

Only the other day, Sen. George LeMieux of Florida attempted to rouse the president to jump-start America’s overpaid, overmanned and oversleeping federal bureaucracy and get it to do something about the oil debacle. There are 2,000 oil skimmers in the United States; weeks after the spill, only 20 of them are off the coast of Florida. Seventeen friendly nations with great expertise in the field have offered their own skimmers; the Dutch volunteered their “superskimmers.” Mr. Obama turned them all down. Raising the problem, Mr. LeMieux found the president unengaged and uninformed. “He doesn’t seem to know the situation about foreign skimmers and domestic skimmers,” the senator reported.

He doesn’t seem to know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t know, and he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t care. “It can seem that at the heart of Barack Obama’s foreign policy is no heart at all,” Richard Cohen wrote in The Washington Post last week. “For instance, it’s not clear that Obama is appalled by China’s appalling human rights record. He seems hardly stirred about continued repression in Russia. … The president seems to stand foursquare for nothing much.
What is notable about all of these observations is their Obama-centric nature. It was never about what Obama could do for the country in these various positions, rather it was about what would give Obama a sense of fulfillment.

As a U.S. Senator, you can pretty much get away with being absent most of the time, once you tire of the position; as POTUS, you simply do not have that option.

In less than two years, he’s become like a person stuck in a mind-numbing 9-5 job, he watches the clock and seizes upon every opportunity to play golf, go on vacation and generally just get away from the office and its responsibilities. This is a horrible trait in a POTUS; the Presidency is a vocation, not another step on the career ladder.

I have no doubt that the burnout factor for presidents is high, but I don’t think what we’re seeing is burnout. What I believe we are seeing is man dangerously out of his level who has found that the old adage “be careful what you wish for” is actually true.

Looking forward to the next 2 1/2 years with this man at the helm is a pretty disturbing prospect. His lack of experience and leadership skills are on display to the entire world, even after 18 months in office, and many world leaders are publically saying as much.

As Byron York put it:
What Obama wanted was political power, and that is what sent him to Harvard Law School. "He was constantly thinking about his path to significance and power," another organizer, Mike Kruglik, told me. "He said, 'I need to go there [Harvard] to find out more about power. How do powerful people think? What kind of networks do they have? How do they connect to each other?'"
During his first 18 months, he has had that power; at least as much as a president can have in a constitutional democracy. If fact, he has had more than most, given the fact that during his first 18 months in office, he has benefitted from a highly malleable House and Senate who have given him, and continue to give him pretty much what he has wanted on a silver platter.

There is a distinct possibility that, in just 5 months, the power that he now, has will be greatly diminished by a surge of Republicans into the Congress and Senate.

If, in fact, he has been disillusioned by the limitations of his power now, what will be his mindset should have to deal with a legislature dominated by the opposition?

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