We’re only in first quarter but one has to wonder if the home team has the players to keep it close enough for a comeback later in the game. There are first round draft picks that were told not to even dress for the game, some all stars aren’t performing to their potential, and the coach is sending in a whole new playbook that is a mystery to everyone, even his assistant coaches. It’s no wonder the loyal fans are getting antsy.
Enough of the sports metaphor. I promised long ago to my friends harboring different ideological persuasions that I would prove to be infinitely more fair and patient toward President Obama than they were to Bush 43. And, so far so good. I employ a ‘love the guy, hate his policies’ tactic with a tablespoon of ‘being patient and hoping for the best’. I don’t remember the same vein of tolerance going back to 2000. My instincts tell me that patience is key here. Enacted policies will have far greater long term impact on individuals than will personal popularity. The drubbing we are line to take because of the trick plays in this new playbook will likely cripple this administration inside of the first term. There won’t be second half to this game; too many fans will have lost their loyalty.
So where are we? Right where I thought we would be late last summer when Hillary was fading in the homestretch to a dark horse (oh, lay off you PC pinheads, its a pun for goodness sake). I remember several conversations where I was asked what I thought of candidate Barack Obama. Incredibly gifted, charismatic, engaging, and likable were some of the words I used. They were quickly followed by inexperienced, unknown, not sufficiently vetted, naive, and ill equipped for the job of a CEO leading a global company of 300 million and multi trillion dollar budgets.
I also remember verbalizing my gut feeling that “I envision that he will find himself over his head within weeks’ ….of moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Last night, I actually heard a prominent cable news personality ask his panel, “Do you think Barack Obama is in over his head”? My jaw dropped that the question was even asked and their responses indicated that even beltway insiders don’t have much confidence either. Someone with a huge TV audience actually uttered the most pessimistic thoughts I have harbored for the last eight months.
Who hires someone without a resume? Americans do; at least the ones that believe in charisma, hope, faith, and great oratory skills over experience, proven results, and well founded substance. But what do you expect from a population where the source for pertinent info is People Magazine and The Daily Show, news of winning a war in a foreign country is buried on back pages, and most high school seniors can’t name the three branches of government and their respective duties. Lest I digress on our culture.
Bailouts, stimulus packages, new budget proposals come at you everyday. A billion here, a billion there. It’s chump change. My calculator only goes up 99 billion. Trillion is the new million. Geithner and Summers are the current smartest guys in the room but they haven’t given anyone the confidence that they have a clue either. The ‘basic man’ listens to all the zeroes attached to this economic wizardry and concludes, “well I guess if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall some of it is bound to stick”. At which point he shakes his head and says, … “what do I know, I’m just along for the ride”. Sadly, in large part he is exactly right.
It’s obvious that President Obama has perfected all the right moves that garnered populist appeal and got him elected. He is comfortable in the superficial aspects of celebrity, persona, and popularity; maybe a little too comfortable for a country going through tough times. Where he is flailing are in all the areas where he promised substantive change; the economy, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Washington. This is why the President likes his road gig so much; townhalls, Leno, teleprompted speech opportunities. All the stuff he does really well.
Barring positive results in the short term it will be interesting to see how long it will take for wider discussions to take place as to President Obama’s ability to get into shallower water or find a competent lifeguard.
I really like the guy, hate his policies, will remain patient and hope for the best. Blah, blah, blah.
The problem is that I’ve never seen anyone that gets in over their head save anyone else.