Tyler Goodman: Lack of leadership
September 9, 2013
President Barack Obama's lack of effective leadership is more apparent now than ever before Paul Krugman, The New York Times columnist and Keynesian economist, came out last week and said the economic policy of the past five years has been "an astonishing, horrifying failure." The same can be said for this administration's leadership (or lack thereof). Whether you agree with a strike in Syria or not, one thing you cannot avoid is the observation that Obama now stands on an island with very little support.
He's gotten himself there through a number of embarrassing failures. The administration lost its grip on foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, a long time ago. In 2008, Obama campaigned on the premise that America had some sour relationships it needed to mend. Enter the "Apology Tour." Fast forward to the present, and Edward Snowden has won. The international community balked at the revelations of overzealous spying tactics of the NSA, nevermind emboldening countries like Russia at the same time. How can one man make the president of the United States look so small? International relations haven't been worse in recent memory.
Let's review a few more: intimidation and targeting of journalists exercising their First Amendment right; allegations of IRS targeting of grass-roots opposition groups during the 2012 elections; a nice little hip, swoop and fabrication of the order of events in Benghazi; the ATF's botched Fast and Furious operation, which basically armed Mexican cartels; and let's not forget General Services Administration's more than luxurious spending. Whether individually or together, where does the buck stop? Who ultimately is in charge of these areas? Open enrollment for Obamacare starts in three weeks; shall we prepare for it to really hit the fan?
Anybody remember the "Washington is broken, I'm here to fix it" promises in the 2008 elections? Oh yeah — that worked out. And don't sit there and tell me it's all the tea party's fault. Is this the first time in history there has been a strong opposition to a president? As an executive, it's the president's job to bring people together and figure out how to make it work. Unfortunately, he's allowed his supporters to not let him do so, and his goal appears to be more to divide than unite.
Obama said Thursday that Congress should approve a retaliation attack against the Assad regime even if their constituents don't support one. Really, Mr. President? Our leaders should ignore the people that put them there? Is our government not for and by the people? This Washington arrogant attitude of "we can run your life better than you can, we know better than you, and you just shut up and listen to us" never has been more disgusting.
Back to the point: What has occurred in Syria no doubt is a humanitarian tragedy. It's a perfect example of why ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. Too little, too late, Mr. President. If we wanted to do something, we should have done it when Assad was so close to falling on his own — before terrorists hijacked the rebellion. The president and his administration's ineffective, hesitant, from-the-back-seat leadership never has been more apparent. What is going well right now? Can you think of anything?