Behind Obama’s Failure of Leadership

Monday, 12 Dec 2011 11:58 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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The president is supposed to be the chief executive, meaning he devises and implements policies. But when it comes to the economy, Barack Obama is anything but.

After increasing the national debt by $4.2 trillion, Obama has offered no plan to fix the fiscal crisis.

In pushing for a stimulus bill, Obama announced how much he wanted to spend and how many new jobs he wanted to create. He left it to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to determine how the money should be spent.

President Obama’s Failure of Leadership includes increasing the national debt.
Obama took the same approach with the healthcare bill. He let Democrats in Congress come up with a plan. That plan is already increasing healthcare costs and will increase the wait to see a doctor.

We saw Obama’s approach to his job when he announced that he would close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp within a year. He then began to explore where the prisoners might go.

Having never actually run anything beyond his own campaign, Obama sees himself as someone who articulates goals but is not necessarily required to follow through on implementing them.

In an ABC interview, then White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel referred to the goals of getting healthcare costs under control and creating an energy policy that frees the U.S. from dependence on foreign oil. But when pressed for details on implementing these goals, Emanuel repeated, “We set the goals,” as if that were an end unto itself.

On Sunday, Steve Kroft on CBS’ “60 Minutes” asked Obama if it isn't his job as president to find solutions to problems, to get results, and to figure out a way to achieve them. Obama responded by saying he sees his job as putting forward “a vision of the country that benefits the vast majority of Americans.”

As a U.S. senator, Obama followed the same pattern of making speeches and accomplishing nothing. Only one of the measures he sponsored was enacted: a bill to “promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” On any difficult issue, he voted “present.”

Obama’s latest gambit is to blame the country’s persistent economic downturn on Republicans and the top 1 percent of income earners, who already pay more than a third of the country’s income taxes. Obama’s penchant for blaming everything on the wealthy mirrors the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., his former minister and self-described mentor.

Last week in Kansas, Obama claimed the Republican philosophy is simple: “We are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.”

That is a gross misrepresentation, but the media let it pass. In contrast, when President Bush made a truthful statement that the “British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” reporters hammered him. Each day brought new headlines insinuating that Bush had lied.

In fact, not only did the British intelligence service MI6 believe that Saddam had sought uranium from Niger, but investigations by both a British House of Commons and a Senate intelligence committee later concluded the MI6 report was well-founded. The press ignored reports of those conclusions.

In their new electronic book “Politico Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back,” Evan Thomas and Mike Allen offer a stunning revelation that helps explain why Obama fails to lead. As summarized on the "Charlie Rose" show by Jon Meacham, their Random House editor, the two respected authors found in their interviews that President Obama “doesn’t seem to enjoy his job.” Perceptively, the former longtime Newsweek editor added, “And if you don’t enjoy that job, God help all of us because it’s the most incredibly difficult thing you can possibly imagine.”

When he announced his run for the presidency in February 2007 in Springfield, Ill., Obama denounced a “failure of leadership” in Washington for not meeting the nation’s challenges. Today, Obama is the pre-eminent symbol of that failure.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of He is a New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. His latest, "The Secrets of the FBI," has just been published. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via email. Go Here Now.

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