Economist to Obama: ‘Lead, Dammit’

The editorial board at The Economist (which apparently considers itself a “newspaper” despite coming out weekly in magazine format) praises President Obama for having “already done some commendable things” in the foreign policy arena but charges that, domestically, “His performance has been weaker than those who endorsed his candidacy, including this newspaper, had hoped.”  They note that, after a euphoric election, “Mr Obama’s once-celestial approval ratings are about where George Bush’s were at this stage in his awful presidency.”

They excoriate him, in particular, for “failure to grapple as fast and as single-mindedly with the economy as he should have done. His stimulus package, though huge, was subcontracted to Congress, which did a mediocre job: too much of the money will arrive too late to be of help in the current crisis.” Additionally,

The failure to staff the Treasury is a shocking illustration of administrative drift. There are 23 slots at the department that need confirmation by the Senate, and only two have been filled. This is not the Senate’s fault. Mr Obama has made a series of bad picks of people who have chosen or been forced to withdraw; and it was only this week that he announced his candidates for two of the department’s four most senior posts. Filling such jobs is always a tortuous business in America, but Mr Obama has made it harder by insisting on a level of scrutiny far beyond anything previously attempted. Getting the Treasury team in place ought to have been his first priority.

They acknowledge that he is “learning” but “Mr Obama has a long way to travel if he is to serve his country—and the world—as he should.”

Take the G20 meeting in London, to which he will head at the end of next week. The most important task for this would-be institution is to set itself firmly against protectionism at a time when most of its members are engaged in a game of creeping beggar-thy-neighbour. Yet how can Mr Obama lead the fight when he has just pandered to America’s unions by sparking a minor trade war with Mexico? And how can he set a new course for NATO at its 60th-anniversary summit a few days later if he is appeasing his party with talk of leaving Afghanistan?

Jennifer Rubin and Mark Steyn argue that the reason Obama isn’t meeting The Economist’s expectation is not so much his managerial incompetence but rather that he’s much more liberal than he pretended to be on the campaign trail and therefore has a very different agenda.   As Steyn puts it,

The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion.

I’m reminded once again of a line Jeff Medcalf posted on Dave Schuler’s Other Blog in mid-October:  “[M]any of the people voting for Obama seem to be doing so on the hope that he doesn’t mean what he says, and most of the people voting for McCain are doing so on the fear that Obama means exactly what he says.”

A lot of the Obamacons, fed up after eight years of Bush and not impressed by the McCain-Palin ticket were willing to overlook a lot to vote for a fellow who seemed a lot like themselves: intellectual, nuanced, able to speak in paragraphs, reasonable, and so forth.   But, alas, his domestic agenda was not one that would ultimately sit well with conservatives — just as his foreign policy was actually not going to set very well with progressives.

That, said, I think The Economist is right to reflect on managerial style.

One of the flaws of the American system is that we frequently elect amateurs to high office, thus imposing a steep learning curve.  In parliamentary systems, leaders work their way up through the ranks, filling key ministerial posts, and learning the ropes.  A new premier from the out party has typically been the leader of a Shadow Government and a new leader from the in party has typically been the number two man in the Government.   A new president, by contrast, has typically never been part of an administration and may never have lived in the capital before taking office.

In recent years, Americans have preferred governors for the presidency, which typically meant people came to the White House knowing how to create and manage a staff but with little grasp of How Washington Works or much knowledge of a whole range of issues that states don’t deal with.   Conversely, someone coming from Capitol Hill is much savvier on those scores but have no clue how to run an administration.

Obama, alas, is the worst of both worlds, having neither gubernatorial experience nor much Washington experience.   He’s been an incredibly talented dilettante, getting elected to one job and then the next without learning the ropes.  He’s a fast learner and will get the hang of it but, to come back to the Hillary Clinton quip that starts the Economist piece, “the Oval Office is no place for on-the-job-training.”   Except, as already noted, that it usually is.

Of course, Obama has taken over at a particularly unfortunate time, having inherited two wars and a global financial crisis, so his margin for error is even less than usual.

In fairness, although my preference was for the other guy, it’s not a slam dunk that John McCain would be doing any better.   He’s got more leadership training and experience but he’s never been a governor or vice president, either.  And he’s got some temperament issues that in some ways make him less suited for crisis management than Obama.

Regardless, anyone who has extremely high expectations that a new president is going to reshape the world has a strong likelihood of being disappointed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DavidL says:

    The problem with Barack Obama, is the one that Ronald Reagan attributed to liberals back in 1964. Obama knows many things that are simply not so.




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  2. just me says:

    I think that Obama isn’t a very good leader. Obama has not really had a career of firm leadership anywhere, and I think it is showing. Some people are natural leaders, others may be great thinkers and great to have on your team, but they just don’t have what it takes to lead the team.

    I had and still have serious doubts that Obama has what it takes to be a leader. I think Obama is indecisive-especially I think in an area he knows little about-and he wants people to like him, so he avoids taking positions on the hard choices. I didn’t love McCain, but he has never been one to strike me as indecisive. The problem with McCain is that he seemed and seems just as clueless about the economy as Obama, and where Obama wants people to like him, McCain didn’t seem to care at all if people liked him.

    I think the one hole the parties dug for themselves this past election cycle was we ended up nominating two men for office who have about as much knowledge of the economy as a basic college intro course might give you and then promptly forgot 90% of it. Our choices were Obama-who spoke well and promised much, and McCain who mostly came across as a crotchety old man.

    I know there are people running around saying that Obama isn’t doing so hot, but if McCain had been elected it would be ten times worse. I am not convinced of this, but then I was always glad Bush was the president when 9-11 went down and not Gore so it is probably just a mental way of affirming that who you voted for is still better than the guy you didn’t.




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  3. Dave Schuler says:

    People, particularly successful people, tend to keep doing what’s carried them so far. That’s one of the reasons investment bankers drove their companies headlong off a cliff.

    President Obama has been a successful political campaigner. As I noted before he was elected, his accomplishments other than being elected to office don’t quite measure up to the accomplishment of being elected. It should come as no surprise to us that he keeps right on campaigning—it’s been what’s worked for him so far.

    In the 2008 presidential election we didn’t have a choice between a great campaigner and a solid leader with a proven track record. We had a choice between a great campaigner and a less great campaigner and we chose the former.

    Now it’s earn while you learn time in the White House which is what we should have expected. I doubt it would have been a great deal different had McCain been elected other than we’d have the same old, tired Republican apparatchiks as we had under the Bush Administration rather than a combination of tired old Democratic apparatchiks and neophytes.

    I think the worst thing we have going for us right now isn’t presidential inexperience but that we now have two opposition parties. I think it was Megan McArdle who pointed out that members of the party in power are smug and arrogant while members of the party out of power are insane. Now we have two parties whose members are smug, arrogant, and insane.




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  4. Pete Burgess says:

    Obama was an obvious choice as the electorate of this country is more impressed with style over substance. After all, why is American Idol so popular? We require immigrants to pass a test on American history. We require some competence to get a drivers license so a driver will operate a vehicle safely. Why not an issues test, history test, constitution test every 4 years before a voter can renew his/her registration to vote? After all, if we want our leaders to operate this country safely, we need better informed voters.




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  5. Beth Donovan says:

    President Obama appears to be floundering as President. It has less to do with his lack of experience than his lack of understanding of our country and our people.

    He has spent his entire life being pissed off at anyone who has worked hard enough to do well – that’s what all that Community Organizing is, after all – class envy. He doesn’t understand that most of us go through periods in life where we have little or nothing, but work our way into the middle and upper classes. He thinks that class is static, and that is just not so.

    President Obama is not going to succeed in forcing us to become European – and I guarantee the mid-term elections will prove that.

    I did not care for either of the Presidential candidates, though I voted for McCain, because as liberal as he really is, I don’t think he would be spending us (and therefore taxing us) to death as the Democrats currently are doing.

    It’s high time to re-examine the Primary system – open primaries have caused this mess. And it is also high time to make it easier for candidates from other parties to get on the ballots of all the States.




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  6. Matano King - Africa says:

    Perhaps James should have run for President. With your PHD in Political Science you must be aptly qualified. President Bush crippled America at home and abroad fighting unnecessary wars with no proper economic plan to back domestic growth and dragged the US into unprecedented debt and international disrepute. This President has barely done 70 days in office and you sitting in your office, with no clue what the real challenges in the White House are, thinking the man is not leading. Give him 4 years. Not 100 days. President Obama may be a late starter but he is a strong scientific finisher. Give him time. He wont disappoint USA or the world.




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  7. Comrade Stuck says:

    I don’t know what kind of glue Mr Joyner and his commenters here are sniffing. He should have stopped at the part about inheriting two floundering wars and a full economic meltdown with nearly unfathomably complex financial shenanigans to solve. And he’s supposed to fix all of this in two months. Geesh, get real. And there is no experience for being POTUS, except for being POTUS.

    As for his “management style”, well the vast percentage of Americans simply disagree. He has made some vetting blunders on a handful of political appointments, so if you want to declare his presidency a failure based on that, then petty snipe away.

    Otherwise, Obama is doing precisely what he said he would do as a candidate. If you don’t agree with that, fine. But nitpicking on style is just absurd, especially when compared with the incompetent thuggery we have experienced the past eight years.




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  8. odograph says:

    Of course, Obama has taken over at a particularly unfortunate time, having inherited two wars and a global financial crisis, so his margin for error is even less than usual.

    I think it comes down to the “margin for error” being less about what we wish for, and more about what is possible.

    The big story is still at the Fed and Treasury, and we don’t have a real alternative to those moves.




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  9. Pug says:

    He has spent his entire life being pissed off at anyone who has worked hard enough to do well – that’s what all that Community Organizing is, after all – class envy. He doesn’t understand that most of us go through periods in life where we have little or nothing, but work our way into the middle and upper classes. He thinks that class is static, and that is just not so.

    Sorry, Beth, that is nothing but right-wing bunk. I’m willing to bet both he and his wife had longer “periods in life where [they] had little to nothing” than you ever did. He worked his way into the Oval Office. You project things “he thinks” that are clearly nothing more than silliness on your part.

    It’s a real shame Obama hasn’t cleaned up the financial crisis yet. Obviously, this should have been done weeks ago. After all, it’s been a couple months now. It’s certainly understandable why The Economist would be disappointed.




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  10. just me says:

    And he’s supposed to fix all of this in two months. Geesh, get real. And there is no experience for being POTUS, except for being POTU

    You know-it isn’t that I expect him to fix it and make it perfect in two months.

    It is that I am not seeing much leadership out of him. Maybe it is the fact that he still seems to be campaigning rather than leading.

    I think his handling of the AIG issue was bungled-basically his administration advocated for the AIG bonuses to be protected-if Dodd is to be believed, and then they went after the AIG bonus recipients. It just looked like crappy leadership from where I stand. If they wanted the AIG bonuses protected, then they should have advocated for why that was the case, rather than tried this underhanded-let’s approve it in the stimulus package and hope nobody notices while we demonize AIG and those recipients in public.

    This is the classic example of how Obama wants it both ways-the problem is it is hard to get away with it, when you are the president.

    At the very least if he hates those bonuses so much now-he should have told congress to read the bill and taken the time to read the bill before he signed it. Nobody made him sign the bill when he did-he is the president he can sign a bill whenever he darn well pleases.




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  11. muffler says:

    People have become jaded in the last 30 or 40 years. Obama is just different then the canned image over content leaders you have been sold. He is where he is because we chose him to be there not because he beat McCain in a foot race.

    If you think we should only elect people who have more experience then we have been given no choice but to elect the same families over and over again. All the other politicians are lifelong professional political hacks who don’t take any real risks and are bought and paid for by the wealthy.

    I would rather give Obama the opportunity to be surrounded by smart council and make decisions then have a pseudo Monarchy of Bushes, Clintons, Kennedys, McCains etc.

    Bush, Clinton, Bush II….




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  12. Why is there such a strong desire for some sort of caudillo by so many on the centre-left and left? I lack the faith that anyone can be so smart as to develop a five year plan that is fair and equitable as well as consitent and coherent, not that we could all ever agree on what those terms mean. All in all it just seems like another good argument for smaller government, not larger government.

    If President Obama is struggling managing the federal government now, I can’t wait to see how he does when it gets twice as big.

    As to the experience thing, I think some of Obama’s apologists misunderstand the criticism. Youdon’t necessarily have to go with the most experienced person for a role over and over, but it would be nice if the guy in the top job had ever actually managed anything that was 1/10 of 1% as large or difficult as what he has now. You wanna talk about the Peter Principle on steriods? Jeez.




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  13. anjin-san says:

    He has spent his entire life being pissed off at anyone who has worked hard enough to do well

    Hmm. Well he worked hard enough to acquire educational credentials that are enviable, to say the least. And he is a self-made millionaire. And he worked hard enough to become President.

    It sounds like Beth is pissed off at Obama for having worked hard enough to do well. Meanwhile, her contribution is reading back talking points.




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  14. I’m willing to bet both he and his wife had longer “periods in life where [they] had little to nothing” than you ever did.

    I can’t speak for Beth’s background but we know Obama’s childhood, at least from the age of 10, when he arrived in Hawaii to live with his grandmother, was one of privilege. She was a vice president at one of Hawaii’s largest banks. Before that she was an anthropologist. She paid for Obama’s tuition at an exclusive private high school.

    As for Barack and Michelle, she is from a family that, at the very least, is upper-middle class. We also know that a 300,000 a year position was created for her at the University of Chicago hospital she worked at. Truth is, both Barack and Michelle had never had to work hard to get where they are. Therefore, we see a man in the Oval Office who has no leadership skills because he has no character. He has no character because he’s never chosen the difficult path. So, I would accept that bet, if I were a gambling man, because I’m confident I would win.




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  15. odograph says:

    I think it’s funny how tribal we are, as part of our nature. This global economic crisis had its roots in the boom side. Once AIG, Lehman, etc. made the wrong 30:1 leveraged bets, the die was cast.

    And yet we think a person, a leader, a tribal chief, can fix it all.

    I think that says more about us than about Obama or the economy.

    (I think Obama’s job, as was Bush’s before, is to make the right moves within the constraints of his office. I don’t give Obama a perfect score on that, but I don’t think he’s far off. As James implies, I also think that McCain would be making many of the same moves, and getting grief on the same or different points.)

    We can all name things we wish were different, but it’s silly just to say (as many here do!) that this is “Obama’s budget” etc.

    The dot-com and then housing bubbles shaped this debt and deficit more than the new tribal leader ever did.




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  16. anjin-san says:

    He has no character because he’s never chosen the difficult path.

    RIght. He graduated from Harvard Law School, the outgoing President of the Harvard Law Review, with ever big law firm in the county courting him. Do you have any idea what kind of starting salary he could have had?

    Instead, he went to work in poor neighborhoods trying to help people improve conditions there.

    Do you guys actually worship ignorance, or is it that you just can’t help it?




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  17. Pete Burgess says:

    Hmm. Well he worked hard enough to acquire educational credentials that are enviable, to say the least. And he is a self-made millionaire. And he worked hard enough to become President.

    Anjin-san, credentialism, which you seem to revere, is no guarantee of future performance or character. As to being a self-made millionaire, what value did he create for this country or for anyone other than for himself and his family? He won a political lottery with the help of influence dealing and who knows what else.




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  18. Instead, he went to work in poor neighborhoods trying to help people improve conditions there.

    Oh, really? The same communities that Valerie Jarrett and Tony Rezko also wanted to “help” – Barack Obama’s War On Black America

  19. anjin-san says:

    Anjin-san, credentialism, which you seem to revere, is no guarantee of future performance or character. As to being a self-made millionaire, what value did he create for this country or for anyone other than for himself and his family?

    Revere? Give me a break. I give Obama credit for busting his butt to get a great education. That’s part of living the American dream. Is it a guarantee of anything? Of course not. But the right should move beyond simple small-mindedness and give him credit for what he accomplished. I am not holding my breath.

    What value did he create with his books? Value for millions of readers who thought they were important enough to buy and read. Value for the publisher, who made money off them that created jobs and helped keep the company in business. Ditto for bookstores and amazon.com. Value for the country because perhaps reading his books got some folks to look at things a bit differently or think about some things they had not previously considered.

    Try harder…




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  20. anjin-san says:

    Sorry Timothy, my nutjob filter kicked in after your last few posts…




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  21. It figures, I try to reasonably debate the issue and provide evidence to back up my point, and you resort to the typical liberal behavior of name calling. Thought people like you who place such an inordinately high value on the Ivy League educational experience were “open-minded.”




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  22. anjin-san says:

    As to being a self-made millionaire, what value did he create for this country or for anyone other than for himself and his family

    By the way, are you saying there is something wrong with a guy making a lot of money so he can live well and provide for his family?




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  23. Derrick says:

    Timothy,

    You aren’t interested in a reasonable debate. You are interested in incoherent ramblings that make little sense with any context.

    You’re “War on Black America” basically attributes every bad deed by political campaign contributors to Obama as if they were some agency relationship. I guess I would need to go back to the 80’s and find the sins of men who supported Reagan and then explain why but I’m not crazy enough to make such an irrelevant argument.

    As to credentials, what’s your definition of “difficult” path. Reagan was a “Hollywood” actor so we know he had it “easy” and showed “no character”. And I’m sure the fact that Sarah Palin’s path from Beauty Queen is also an example of her lack of character. You would have a hard time finding a more rags to riches Republican story than Obama’s among Republican leaders over the last 40 years, but its obvious that intellectual honesty isn’t your point. Instead, you would rather make some vacuous argument about the “character” of a man from flimsy logic and sources.




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  24. anjin-san says:

    Thought people like you who place such an inordinately high value on the Ivy League educationa

    Keep ranting pal. I did not graduate from college and I am a senior manager for a major corporation. You have no idea what value I place on an Ivy League education. As GW clearly proved, they can have very little value indeed. It kinds of depends on the person who has the education and what they do with it.

    You arguments have no grounding in fact or logic, so you lurch from unfounded assumption to unfounded assumption. Go hook up with Bithead, you guys will have lots to talk about.




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  25. Floyd says:

    Was that lead or lead??




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  26. Tlaloc says:

    There are plenty of things you can criticize obama for but this…

    His stimulus package, though huge, was subcontracted to Congress

    …is idiotic. The Economist surely understands that the president has no choice but to “subcontract” the process of legislation to, you know, the legislature. The president can suggest and he can try to manipulate congress through various political pressures but what he cannot do is legislate without congress.




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  27. James Joyner says:

    The Economist surely understands that the president has no choice but to “subcontract” the process of legislation to, you know, the legislature. The president can suggest and he can try to manipulate congress through various political pressures but what he cannot do is legislate without congress.

    True enough. Since FDR’s time, however, we’ve reversed the process, with presidents expected to submit budgets and legislation to Congress. When they’re of two different parties, such proposals are DOA. When, as now, they’re both run by the same party, the president’s proposals carry much weight.

    Obama really didn’t lead on this issue and got rolled by Pelosi and company.




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  28. steve says:

    I see a president who is trying to fix the economy without nationalizing the banks. I cannot tell if this based o economic principle, politics or both.

    If one nationalizes, the door is open for demagogues to have a field day. Every bonus, every expenditure can be scrutinized for endless public outrage. Obama may also realize, or his advisers told him, that it will be too tempting for Congress critters to sell off the good parts to party favorites.

    On the principle side, Geithner is part of the economic crew that really does believe in using the markets as much as possible, hence his public-private plan. I actually think his plan is pretty much what we would have gotten with a Republican administration. It is a plan that Wall Street pretty much likes.

    Steve




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  29. Floyd says:

    You’ll know when Obama wants to try his “wabbling” hand at leadership… It will be the day after he fires Axelrod.
    Still, I sincerely hope Steve is right about the banks.Either he is naive or I am cynical on the subject, time will tell.




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  30. You’re “War on Black America” basically attributes every bad deed by political campaign contributors to Obama as if they were some agency relationship.

    Derrick, you obviously didn’t read the article or you would have known it was not a right-wing hit piece. The Boston Globe, Arab American Media Services, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times are cited by the author of this article – hardly a collection of right-wing fanatical sources!

    Also, the Kennedy family supported Obama but they are not mentioned as having done any bad deeds in this article. Oprah is not mentioned. The CEO of Google – not mentioned. Colin Powell is not mentioned. Where is your evidence that the article portrays “every bad deed by political contributers to Obama”?

    It would behoove you to learn more about the life story of Ronald Reagan as he was not the one who grew up in Hawaii under the care of a well-to-do grandmother. You rail against actors and beauty queens as if they’ve lived charmed lives. Yet, you know nothing of, or choose to ignore, the struggles they encountered on their journey to success, no matter what side of the political aisle they stand on.




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  31. anjin-san says:

    Its fascinating that the Obamas is now under attack from the right for having had a middle class/upper middle class upbringing. Apparently they did not suffer enough on the way up.

    Guess these guys missed GW’s life story.




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  32. just me says:

    You know what-I don’t think it matters whether or not Obama, Bush or whoever had to struggle.

    Good leaders come from both privilege and poverty and poor leaders come from both.

    But Obama and his wife along with Bush all attended private schools-and high quality colleges. I don’t think they had poverty knocking at their doors-Obama probably had a typical middle/upper middle class childhood. What in that experience automatically makes him have leadership ability?

    He is a smart man-but being smart doesn’t make one a leader.

    I think he is a thinking man, but this also doesn’t make him a leader.

    What I see from Obama is a man in perpetual campaign mode-he isn’t reassuring me that he is leading-he also has seemed to let congress control him more than he has advocated his ideas to congress.

    I don’t think he is a horrible man, but I am not so sure he has what it takes to lead, but then I wasn’t sure about that before he was elected.




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  33. Its fascinating that the Obamas is now under attack from the right for having had a middle class/upper middle class upbringing. Apparently they did not suffer enough on the way up.

    Guess these guys missed GW’s life story.

    This reply by anjin-sahn completely misses the point. GWB never claimed to be “down with the struggle” as Obama did. GWB never claimed that his family was on foodstamps when they were really living quite well there in Hawaii.

    Just me, you make an excellent observation in saying Obama is in constant campaign mode. Obama is an agitator, not a leader. Agitators promote class envy. Leaders, like Reagan, promote confidence in your own abilities to get things done.




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  34. anjin-san says:

    GWB never claimed to be “down with the struggle” as Obama did.

    Great. Now just document where Obama actually said he was “down with the struggle”.

    Or is this just a not so subtle bit of race baiting?




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  35. Bithead says:

    Its fascinating that the Obamas is now under attack from the right for having had a middle class/upper middle class upbringing. Apparently they did not suffer enough on the way up.

    I don’t know is I would call a full- on attack. I think I would characterize it as pointing out to Obama supporters that he isn’t one of them.

    Let’s face it, there is something endemic the last three decades or so to black America that cannot seem to bring itself to deal with the successful blacks. Apparently, the only way that blacks can be legitimate representatives of black America is if they are either poor themselves or poverty pimps… Jackson, Sharpton, at all. Let a justice Thomas , or a doctor Thomas Sowell, a JC Watts, or a Michael Steele come along, and suddenly the question comes up about whether or not they are ‘black enough’.

    Happens every time.

    Apparently, being a racial arsonist , for lack of a better phrase, is the fastest way to credibility on the left. Doesn’t even have to be real, to get you street creds. Example; Sharpton and Tawana Brawley.

    Let’s remember also, that the first noteworthy white person to publicly aver that Obama is not “down with the struggle” was Hillary Clinton, who essentially was getting her cues from the Poverty pimps like Sharpton, who didn’t like him, and also though Obama not down with the struggle… but who later apparently decided Obama was black enough when the numbers started moving his direction.

    I may be wrong about this, but I don’t seem to recall her being a right winger…. Right wing attack? Sorry, I don’t think so.




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  36. anjin-san says:

    I think I would characterize it as pointing out to Obama supporters that he isn’t one of them.

    Since Obama’s supporters range from homeless people to Warren Buffet, this statement is obvious nonsense. GW was a patrician pretending to be a regular guy. That’s ok, its just how the game is played. But clearly, any good ‘ol boy who though GW was “one of them” was wrong. I am not knocking GW here. A leader has to draw support from a wide swath of the populace to be effective.

    Let’s face it, there is something endemic the last three decades or so to black America that cannot seem to bring itself to deal with the successful blacks.

    Perhaps. But the same is true of much of the right. Hence the constant “Obama is uppity” codewords.

    Apparently, being a racial arsonist , for lack of a better phrase, is the fastest way to credibility on the left

    Weak, even for you. If you want to talk about this kind of “creditability” think back to how GOP members of congress disgraced themselves during the Terri Schiavo debate.

    Let’s remember also, that the first noteworthy white person to publicly aver that Obama is not “down with the struggle” was Hillary Clinton,

    Can you document this? Credible sources please. In either case, the discussion was if Obama has ever claimed to be “down with the struggle”. I have yet to see any proof of this.




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  37. just me says:

    I am not seeing where the line of whether or not Obama is or isn’t, did or didn’t say he was down with the struggle matters to the larger point that Obama seems to lack the ability to lead.

    Obama knows how to campaign, I am not seeing much evidence that he has any sense of what it means to lead.




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  38. anjin-san says:

    I am not seeing where the line of whether or not Obama is or isn’t, did or didn’t say he was down with the struggle matters to the larger point that Obama seems to lack the ability to lead.

    Get back to us in six months on this. Assuming the presidency is a massive learning curve for anyone. You can be fair and give him time to find his footing, as we should all do with a new President regardless of party affiliation, or you can repeat talking points, of which “not leading” is clearly one.

    Your choice.




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  39. anjin-san says:

    I am not seeing where the line of whether or not Obama is or isn’t, did or didn’t say he was down with the struggle matters to the larger point that Obama seems to lack the ability to lead.

    The point is that I think the poster is lying, making up a quote from Obama that is in fact, a right wing codeword for “Uppity N___er”.




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  40. just me says:

    LOL “not leading” isn’t a talking point, it is an opinion. I don’t see much leadership from Obama-this is not a statement of fact.

    Your opinion may differ. That is fine.

    However, I don’t think how poor Obama grew up, or the college he went to, or how high is IQ is has much to do with whether or not he can lead. None of those things automatically makes one a good leader.

    And like I said-it isn’t that I want everything fixed right now-it is that I want somebody who seems to be able to lead, who is strongly taking positions and advocating them. Just haven’t seen this from him or even really his administration. My impression so far is the administration if fumbling, and congress is leading (and personally I don’t care at all for Pelosi and Reid and don’t like the fact that they seem to be in charge more so than Obama).




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  41. anjin-san says:

    I want somebody who seems to be able to lead, who is strongly taking positions and advocating them.

    Sounds like you want Bush back. He seemed to be able to lead. He could not actually do it, but he did a decent job of going thru the motions. I think we all know how that worked out.




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  42. Bithead says:

    Since Obama’s supporters range from homeless people to Warren Buffet, this statement is obvious nonsense

    So, all those years as a ‘community organizer’ mean nothing? Please. THe numbers sho his largest block of support comes from poor blacks who think he, and not their own efforts, is going to lift them out of the poverty of their own making.

    Weak, even for you. If you want to talk about this kind of “creditability” think back to how GOP members of congress disgraced themselves during the Terri Schiavo debate.

    As to that, I’m with DavidL on this one:

    As for the late Mrs. Schiavo, she was killed by her adulterous husband, his corrupt lawyer and a single civil court judge. i don’t object to a decisions to remove a person from life support, as in the case of Ms. Richsdson. I do object when the decision is made by reprobate who have vested interest in seeing the patient dead.

    By extension, then, the ones in the congress with the credibility issue are the ones who refused to work toward keeping her alive. Despicable.

    And I’m not about to start with you on ‘credible sources’, because you’ve so often proven that anyone who doesn’t agree with you isn’t credible in your eyes, Anjin. And I don’t much care if you don’t like it; I’m not playing your game. Get used to it.

    But for the moment, I’ll refer you, for a start, to Matt Bai’s New York Times writup of last August which I don’t have a link handy for… but I do have a print here… “Is Obama the end of black politics?” Here’s a clip of that article, typed by hand from the print. (sorry about any typos)

    Still, most in the caucus didn’t take Obama all that seriously as a potential nominee, and neither did the Clinton campaign. They calculated that he would need a huge share of black votes to wrest the nomination from Hillary, and her advisers, white and black, considered that a near impossibility. “There was an arrogance and a complete dismissiveness in our campaign against Obama, that he was a lightweight, that he couldn’t get black support,” one senior Clinton aide told me recently. “A lot of the black leaders didn’t know him, didn’t think he was black enough, didn’t think he was of the civil rights movement.” This point about whether Obama was “black enough,” a senseless distinction to most white voters, came up often in my discussions. It referred to the perception among some black leaders that not only had Obama not shared their generational experience, but also that he hadn’t shared the African-American experience, period. Obama’s father was a Kenyan academic; his family came to America on scholarship, not in chains.

    That point was a very strong undercurrent in all of Clinton’s dealings with the Obama campaign until Iowa at least.

    Now, you can argue if you like that that was pure politics, and nothing more, from a person who doesn’t think in terms of anything but politics…. and that the woman was simply throwing a monkey wrench into things, being totally vapid otherwise. I’d likely to agree. But somehow, I don’t think that’ll be your argument.




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  43. just me says:

    Sounds like you want Bush back. He seemed to be able to lead. He could not actually do it, but he did a decent job of going thru the motions. I think we all know how that worked out.

    Thank you for putting words into my mouth. Saying Obama isn’t doing a good job of leadership doesn’t equal wanting Bush back-not to mention Bush couldn’t be the current president-he is term limited.

    But you know what-Clinton-a man whose policies for the most part I disagreed with could lead. He took some hard positions, and he used his presidency as a bully pulpit to advocate for his ideas and his policies. Obama uses his bully pulpit to campaign.

    You may see strong leadership-but so far I am not seeing it. What, in your opinion has Obama done since Jan 21st that indicates strong leadership?




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  44. Bithead says:

    In either case, the discussion was if Obama has ever claimed to be “down with the struggle”. I have yet to see any proof of this.

    I didn’t really think to broach that subject, but your question does bring to mind a memory of a quote out there (About Iowa, time-wise I think) about his wife and thereby his kids being descendants of slaves, and that thereby they were down with it. I’m not sure but I think it actually came up during one of the debates, ‘ll have to see.




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  45. anjin-san says:

    There are a lot of references to Obama & “down with the struggle” on Limbaugh’s site. My guess is that they have been there and repeated in some form.

    If there is evidence to the contrary, let’s see it.




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  46. The point is that I think the poster is lying, making up a quote from Obama that is in fact, a right wing codeword for “Uppity N___er”.

    If there is evidence to the contrary, let’s see it.

    Anjin-san, you are not really interested in sources, but here are just a few. And since your mind is already made up and you probably won’t bother to avail yourself of the information via these links here is a brief summary:

    LA Times reporter was the first to ask if Obama was “black enough”. Jeremiah Wright, in a Christmas sermon is one of several who said Barack knows what it means to be “down with the struggle”. The only ones who were concerned about Obama’s race were Democrats like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others who were envious of Barack for achieving and winning the Presidency they felt they were more qualified for.

    As for name calling, one only has to, if you wish to be honest, recall how Clarence Thomas was villified during his confirmation hearings – by these same professional agitators.

    LA Times, March 19, 2007

    Barack Knows What It Means

    Obama and the Wright-Wing Conspiracy




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  47. anjin-san says:

    Anjin-san, you are not really interested in sources

    I am working at the moment, and can’t read these in depth. Can you just post a credible source proving Obama actually said “I am down with the struggle”?




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  48. anjin-san says:

    I want somebody who seems to be able to lead, who is strongly taking positions and advocating them.

    Thats what you said. It is sort of vague. The rest is just my interpretation. I think most of us want someone who can actually lead, not seem to.

    The fact that the stock market, l leading indicator, is having a sustained rally, indicates that there are folks who do think Obama can lead. No one on the right seems to want to talk about the market all of a sudden. Funny, that…




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  49. anjin-san says:

    As for the late Mrs. Schiavo, she was killed by her adulterous husband, his corrupt lawyer and a single civil court judge. i don’t object to a decisions to remove a person from life support, as in the case of Ms. Richsdson. I do object when the decision is made by reprobate who have vested interest in seeing the patient dead.

    Where you stand on this case has nothing to do with the fact that the GOP leadership disgraced themselves. Frist is a doctor, a very good one. He made a diagnosis based on A VIDEO.

    Please. THe numbers sho his largest block of support comes from poor blacks

    Really? What numbers? Blacks make up what, 10% of the population? Poor blacks are some fraction of that fraction. Poor blacks who are waiting for a free lunch are some fraction of the fraction of the fraction (unless you think all poor blacks are shiftless, this would surprise no one). You claim is obvious nonsense.

    My guess, (and it is just a guess), that the numbers show the largest block of Obama supporters is white middle to upper middle class folks with good educations and solid incomes.




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  50. Dave Schuler says:

    My guess, (and it is just a guess), that the numbers show the largest block of Obama supporters is white middle to upper middle class folks with good educations and solid incomes.

    Frankly, I doubt it anjin-san. Here’s just one of the many sites that give stats about the demographics of Obama supporters.

    Obama won overwhelmingly among blacks, lost among whites, won among voters without college educations and those with post-graduate degrees (that’s quite a small proportion of the population), lost among those with college educations.

    To determine the character of Obama’s support I would think one would want to compare apples with apples. One would want to compare support among blacks or among whites rather than blacks with left-handed Irish PhD’s in chemistry.

    Whites without college educations make up about half of the U. S. population. Blacks with or without college educations make up about 14% of the population. Blacks without college educations make up something like 11% of the population.

    The number of whites who voted for Obama is greater than the number of blacks who voted for Obama even though the proportions are substantially different. Just the realities of U. S. demographics. However, the number of whites with college educations who voted for Obama is probably smaller than the number of blacks without college educations who voted for Obama.

    So the results you get depend on how you chop up the demographics.




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  51. anjin-san says:

    Dave,

    No doubt the numbers can be interpreted many ways. What I object to is this from bit:

    Please. THe numbers sho his largest block of support comes from poor blacks who think he, and not their own efforts, is going to lift them out of the poverty of their own making.

    What bitsy really wants to say, but does not quite have the nads to come right out with it is “Obama’s supporters are mainly shiftless negros who think he will force hard-working white guys like me to pay their bills”.

    It is noteworthy how little rage bit seems to have twoards poor whites and the people who exploit them for political purposes. I guess there are no white “poverty pimps”.

    It also raises the interesting question for bit, do you think a 19 year old black kid who grew up poor in some ghetto and just voted for Obama is to blame for their own poverty?




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  52. Floyd says:

    Background, color,and schooling aside….
    The man is a Marxist, with a touch of megalomania which has proven sufficient to bring down nations with populations as educated as ours and with less resolve.




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  53. Floyd says:

    “”It also raises the interesting question for bit, do you think a 19 year old black kid who grew up poor in some ghetto and just voted for Obama is to blame for their own poverty?””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    The question is not relevant. The true point is whether that same kid will take responsibility from that day forward, or be coached to waste his future blaming the system, or worse… resigning himself to less than equality by accepting the notion that another group or race is in charge of that future.
    In this country attitude still determines altitude, at least until the Marxist mentality destroys all incentive and punishes all effort.




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  54. anjin-san says:

    The question is not relevant.

    Sure it is.

    Do yourself a favor Floyd. Turn of Savage, or whoever is stuffing your head with this Marxist crap, and turn your brain back on.




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  55. Bithead says:

    If there is evidence to the contrary, let’s see it.

    Had you actually bothered to read my post, you would have found it. Or better yet had you actually sorted yourself on the New York Times based on the information I provided, you were found it there. I’m not doing your work for you.

    As just a round example:

    Really? What numbers? Blacks make up what, 10% of the population?

    More like 13, last I knew. Most of whom didn’t vote until motivated by race to do so. Perhaps you don’t remember the reports from the individual precincts about the huge number of black voters, voting for the first time now that they had somebody of their own race for which to vote? Funny how you forget those little points.

    ANd in any event, if I’m not much mistaken, I’ve already informed you, I’m not playing your game. Here’s another example of why:

    What bitsy really wants to say, but does not quite have the nads to come right out with it is “Obama’s supporters are mainly shiftless negros who think he will force hard-working white guys like me to pay their bills”.

    Cute, but no cigar.How was it that I’m supposed to sit back and be polite when you pull this stuff out of your butt, all the while demanding proof from me for my statements?

    Please, show me evidence you actually possess a functioning brain.

    It is noteworthy how little rage bit seems to have twoards poor whites and the people who exploit them for political purposes. I guess there are no white “poverty pimps”.

    Leave the dancing to the professionals. You don’t do it very well. I’ve commented on that very point several times. But that’s not the central focus here, is it? No, you just decided you are going to try and label me a racist to gain a foothold. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Particularly given the games you’re known for playing.




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  56. anjin-san says:

    you are going to try and label me a racist

    You hung that label around your own neck sonny. If you just stopped talking, you would not sound like a racist. Besides, you are awfully whiny for someone who called me an anti-semite because I pointed out that Begin was at one time a wanted terrorist, which is, after all, a well-documented fact. You can dish it out, but you can’t take it. What a shocker.

    Had you actually bothered to read my post, you would have found it

    Well, reading your posts does often get cut due to the “life is too short” issue. There were obviously some racial undertones coming from the Clinton campaign. That is not in question. What is is did she say Obama is not “down with the struggle”. If you are still confused about this, I will go get the crayons and diagram it for you.

    Perhaps you don’t remember the reports from the individual precincts about the huge number of black voters,

    Blacks voter overwhelmingly for Obama. Not in question. But you said:

    THe numbers sho his largest block of support comes from poor blacks

    Lets see those numbers. Or are you just full of crap?




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  57. Bithead says:

    You hung that label around your own neck sonny.

    Actally, no, neither one of us did… though you certainly tried.

    Oh… and you failed.

    Well, reading your posts does often get cut due to the “life is too short” issue

    and….

    Lets see those numbers. Or are you just full of crap?

    Sorry, Anjin, I’m not playing this game.
    You want to come back and read ALL the facts instead of proudly cherry picking the facts, we’ll talk.

    Not before.




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  58. anjin-san says:

    Or are you just full of crap?

    Asked and now answered 🙂

    Course everyone already knew the answer to that one.




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  59. Floyd says:

    Anjin-san;
    I have tried to take your sage advice and turn off that “Marxist crap” but every channel and station , paper and blog is covering my source.
    His name? Barack Obama!
    BTW; Newspeak, is simply not a good brain “turn on”!




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  60. An Interested Party says:

    Ahh…the scary “Marxist” label again…Floyd, you poor dear, guard the doors to your home and watch out! When the revolution comes, they will be sending you off to the camps…stay strong! Fight! Don’t give up! Maybe you’ll become a martyr to the cause of freedom! I’ve read stranger things around here…




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