Is Obama Doomed To Fail?
This one quote below – tucked away at the bottom of page 2 in this Politico item dealing with Democrats at odds - highlights my chief concern over an Obama Presidency. For all his inflated press, Obama has never really painted himself as a leader, so much as he has a mediator. That sounds great on paper. But it has the potential to be disastrous in the real world. It can raise a number of serious problems.
"You have campaign fault lines now incorporated into [Obama’s] Cabinet,” warned Tom Andrews, a former congressman from Maine and leader of the group Win Without War. “We have to watch the inside baseball of defense spending, missile defense program. That’s an important fault line. … The Republicans are going to play that hard — that will be a fault line issue. They will target the red-state Democrats and the new Democrats.”
Both good and bad actors on the International front like predictability in America. They plot their own moves, good and bad, around that. But an administration lacking a clear ideological direction can send mix messages, invitng bad decisions by friends and enemies alike.
Will Obama seems dovish on one front and confrontative on another? Is he a free trader, or does he favor protectionism at heart? Or will consensus result in a watered-down nothingness that accomplishes little at all? This bring the best people together and I'll sort it out stuff sounds great. And, yes, Obama will be "the decider" come January 20th. But how and what is it he will decide?
Frankly, I doubt few if any can answer that definitively right now. And that isn't necessarily a good thing.
Obama will also have motivations for decision-making that go beyond just what's best. "Well, I said no to this group on that, maybe I should say yes on this?"
Being all things to all people often leaves one looking like nothing much of anything to anyone in the end.
As frustrating as a certain stubbornness can be, without a clear, well-defined direction it can be extremely difficult to lead. Obama has no experience leading anything substantial other than his own campaigns for the next highest office.
Now that he's won the Presidency, it almost seems foolish to conclude he actually knows what he wants to do with it given that he hasn't said much of anything consistently beyond the word change. Couple that with his willingness to incorporate such disparate points of view in his administration and there's no predicting the results in many key areas, or assuming he even knows what he wants himself.
Or does he simply want everyone to get along?
While it can be great fun to circle the desks in the classroom and talk about where everyone stands, at the end of the term all that's at risk is a grade.
The stakes for the American Presidency are just a bit more substantial than that.
Let's hope Obama is up to the task. If not, it'll be Jimmy Carter all over, again. And I doubt anyone wants to see that, … except the Iranians, perhaps.