Monday, February 09, 2009

Barack Obama is a novice - and it shows

It seems like the President is having something of a rough spot since he was inaugurated. A promising start after the inauguration and then within the last two or three weeks cabinet nominations withdrawn and controversy over a stimulus package.

Yesterday via Instapundit was this blog post that showed various pics of the President. It showed happy smiling Obama and then we see various pics of Obama not looking very happy. A very stark difference if I muse say.

This morning another article from the Telegraph via Instapundit:
During last year's epic election campaign, Hillary Clinton said that in the White House "there is no time for on-the-job training". Joe Biden, too, remarked that the presidency was "not something that lends itself to on-the-job training". Both were aiming barbs at their then primary opponent. Mrs Clinton has since brought what she would refer to as her "lifetime of experience" to the role of Secretary of State, while Mr Biden has traded 36 years in the Senate for the vice-presidency. And the rookie they derided is President.

Now, the words of his former rivals are returning to haunt President Obama. After a distinctly rocky start to his presidency, he has admitted he "screwed up" and is returning to one thing in his political career that he has perfected – campaigning. In Elkhart, Indiana, today and Fort Myers, Florida, tomorrow, Mr Obama will try to seize back control of the political agenda with question-and-answer sessions with voters in two of the swing states that gave him victory.

Already, however, he is struggling, and the product he is now selling is not himself but a near-trillion-dollar economic "stimulus" package loaded with pet Democratic spending projects that has awakened slumbering Republicans in Congress and is now supported by barely a third of Americans. In between the Indiana and Florida stops, he will return to the White House for a prime-time press conference in which he will appeal directly to citizens and seek to rekindle the magic of his campaign.
The American presidency is a platform without parallel, offering the incumbent a degree of instinctive deference and goodwill and a megaphone that will amplify his voice across 50 states and the world beyond. But it is also a lonely perch for the timid.

In the early days of his presidency, Mr Obama has seemed passive and uncertain. Instead of drawing up his own economic stimulus bill, he sub-contracted the job to Democrats on Capitol Hill. They opted to spend money on projects for contraception and beautifying the National Mall – their doorstep – and gave Republicans an plenty of ammunition against the package.

Slipped into the small print was a "Buy America" provision that sent shock waves through capitals from Brussels to Beijing and triggered fears of trade wars and a new American protectionism. It was hard for the President to defend a bill he perhaps didn't fully support himself. He neither championed the package as imperfect but essential, nor sought to make meaningful changes to it. Instead, he attempted to charm Republican centrists with his own personality and the trappings of the White House by inviting them over for cocktails and a Super Bowl party. It didn't work. Of 219 Republicans on Capitol Hill, only three voted for the bill. Introducing a $500,000 pay cap for some Wall Street executives was empty – and possibly counter-productive – populism.
Well I sincerely hope he gets it together by the time his honeymoon period is over. I was very concerned about voting for a rookie to become our commander in chief. Obama didn't have much to suggest that he would be a good fit for the Presidency. It was precisely why I couldn't vote for him, notwithstanding the historical significance of his campaign and eventual victory.

I know there are some of you out there who are ready to pounce. I'm just not there yet because he has the next 3+ years to get it together in this administration. He may even have less time than that to turn it around so the time to pounce is only when it doesn't appear that this rough period isn't going to turn and the Obama administration continues to stumble.

We shall see!

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