Barack Obama Never Experienced The Crucible

Jennifer Rubin wrote yesterday on a subject that has worried me about Barack Obama since his victory over Hillary Clinton last year in Iowa. Commenting on the remarks by veteran Democrat activist Ted Van Dyk” Rubin notes :

Van Dyk thinks Obama has delegated too much power to Congress, is over-exposed, has over-promised, and has lost his high-minded tone.

…Van Dyk is right on a number of these tactical issues. But he overlooks the central problem with the Obama presidency: he over-estimated his ability to use his personal popularity and an economic crisis to pull the country to the Left. The country didn’t vote for a European welfare state.

But Van Dyk also is onto something about the atmospherics of the Obama presidency. This is not a man who has faced intense ideological criticism or practiced, as he instructed American Jewish leaders to do, “serious self-reflection.” He is certain of his liberal views, contemptuous of people who are stuck in “old thinking,” annoyed with even the minimal press criticism he receives and unpracticed in accommodation and negotiation with his political opponents.

These comments highlight some of the glaring omissions in the Obama curriculum vitae. Chief among them is that Barack Obama has not experienced the defining effects of the crucible that the traditional American political process imposes upon its aspirants. As painful as the experience is, there are usually benefits that a politician will accrue from living and working in the crucible of intense scrutiny and criticism. Some politicians emerge from the experience smarter and stronger; others are, as the metaphor suggests, crushed by the experience. A third category, those politicians that never experienced the trial of the crucible, exhibit “hothouse” characteristics and fail under the pressure of unforeseen and unfamiliar elements.

The crucible experience is a familiar American theme and a necessary right of passage. Almost all voters are familiar with it, usually through personal experience but sometimes vicariously. Barrack Obama is attempting to change the political landscape in this country in a radical manner not seen since Ronald Reagan. But in searching his speeches and policy I think Rubin nails several of the problem areas that are now causing even this President’s cult of personality to come under question. While it might be argued that the Stimulus bill was somewhat the shared product of Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, Cap and Trade and “Healthcare Reform” are wholly owned by Barack Oama and he is failing to deliver, failing to persuade and, worse, beginning to look desperate.

Ironically, the main opposition message during the 2010 mid term elections should be taken out of the Joe Biden playbook: the Presidency of the United States is not the place for on the job training. There is no crucible experience that Barack Obama can point to that evidences any leadership acumen. The 2010 midterm elections should be a plebiscite on the failure of the president’s Stimulus Legislation, the failure of the president’s Cap and Trade, and the failure of Healthcare Reform.

One added note: The Washington Post has noted that President Obama has issued this prediction about passage of health care reform:

“Those who are betting against this getting done this year are badly mistaken,” he added.

That is a foolish marker to lay down in such a heated debate. The president is effectively playing the hand held by Democrats that must face difficult 2010 election contests in the midst of a bad recession. It’s a rookie mistake that begs the question: Who is in charge of election strategy in 2010? It should also be asked if the Obama administration is already throwing Congress under the bus?

Sentor Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) summed up the price of poker in this debate:

“If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said yesterday during a conference call with conservative activists. “It will break him.”

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