In his speech on the budget this week, President Obama offered up one proposal for solving the current conflict over budget priorities: a bipartisan commission to offer up its recommendations.
If that sounds familiar, it should — it’s what he did last year. And then when they gave their report, he promptly ignored their advice.
Now he’s trying it again, hoping — I guess — that enough of us will have forgotten how well that worked out that he thinks we’ll be impressed with trying it again.
And on the issue of ObamaCare, he’s also putting forth — big surprise — another commission to find ways to cut the costs of health care.
Now, there’s nothing innately wrong with commissions. They can serve their purpose, and sometimes exceptionally well. But they can be misused, as well.
But Obama isn’t monogamous to the idea of commissions. From the outset of his administration, he had a bit of a fetish for “czars” — appointed officials (usually without Congressional approval) who were granted authority over specific areas and fields. This occasionally involved reshuffling actual legal areas of responsibility — such as having Hillary Clinton confirmed as Secretary of State, then having “czars” (called “special envoys”) taking over the Middle East and Iraq/Afghanistan, and elevating the Ambassador to the United Nations (nominally answerable to the Secretary of State) to a cabinet-level ranking, making her a peer of her nominal boss.
Put all these together, and you get a very disturbing picture: a president — the Chief Executive of the United States, or as President George W. Bush put it, “the decider” — who won’t make decisions.
Debt reduction is a critical issue. One would expect Obama to at least have an opinion on the matter, if not a plan that he’s willing to put his name on. But instead, he’s punting it to an easily-deniable “commission” whose advice — should it prove politically untenable — can be ignored, like the last one.
The whole Libyan misadventure also shows this unwillingness to make decisions. From the outset, Obama did all he could to shift the leadership — and responsibility — to the European powers, and scrambled to find someone to take up the reins that no one seemed to want to do. And even his language has shown how much he wants to distance himself from responsibility:
It means that we have confidence that we are not going in alone, and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally.
I consider myself a good writer, and Obama is regarded as one as well — the two books bearing his name were widely praised and best-sellers. But the construction of that sentence is abysmal. The first clause uses the active voice, but a negated verb — “we are not going in alone.” So it’s a powerful assertion of a negative.
The second clause, though, switches to a passive voice, most often used to minimize a statement or distance the speaker from the action. And the phrasing is so vague and poorly-written that it escapes parsing — “is being volunteered by others?” Who is doing the volunteering? And is the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States admitting that someone else has the power to order our troops into combat?
And let us not forget his backpedaling on his stirring renunciation of raising the debt ceiling back in 2008 — admitting that his strong words and “no” vote were entirely meaningless, purely for appearance’s sake. It’s a disturbing sight for a president to say, in essence, “yeah, I said that then, but I didn’t really believe it. It was just political bullshit — I was lying so I could look good.”
This all adds up to a rather disturbing picture — one that a lot of us saw quite clearly back when he was just Senator Obama.
At no point prior to taking the oath of office as President of the United States had Barack Obama ever held any kind of executive, decision-making position or one of singular responsibility.
He was a senator (with a very spotty attendance record) and a state legislator with an impressive record of voting “present” instead of “aye” or “nay,” and no significant, controversial legislation that bore his fingerprints.
He was a lecturer on Constitutional law, with no published articles showing his scholarship.
He was a director on the board of a couple of non-profit organizations, where his activities were rather thoroughly undocumented.
He was a “community organizer,” which is code for “rabble-rouser who gets people all worked up, lets others do the hard work, then claim the credit.” Community organizers are ideal liberal figures; they demand power on behalf of “the people,” demand solutions from “the man,” but are never held accountable for results.
He was a staffer and eventually editor of the Harvard Law Review, but never published a single article under his name.
Apparently, Obama believed that his utter inexperience (and aversion to seeking such experience) as any kind of leader could be more than compensated for by his good looks, reputed high intelligence, superb ability to give speeches, and personal charisma.
Hey, America, how’s that workin’ out for ya?