I guess we can officially say that the honeymoon’s over. The New York Daily News, not exactly a pillar of conservative thought, finds itself wondering aloud about whether Barack Obama and his team have the competence to lead the nation. The whispers have grown into a chorus:
Not long ago, after a string of especially bad days for the Obama administration, a veteran Democratic pol approached me with a pained look on his face and asked, “Do you think they know what they’re doing?”
The question caught me off guard because the man is a well-known Obama supporter. As we talked, I quickly realized his asking suggested his own considerable doubts.
Yes, it’s early, but an eerily familiar feeling is spreading across party lines and seeping into the national conversation. It’s a nagging doubt about the competency of the White House.
Well, what did people expect? For the first time in decades and perhaps ever, America chose a President without executive experience in the public or private sectors, and without military command experience. If people expected smooth performance and cool competence from that kind of resume, then the best that can be said about them is that they indulged in self-delusion on a massive scale.
For the rest of us, this comes as no surprise at all. The failed appointments have managed to be less embarrassing than the ones that “succeeded”, such as Tim Geithner and Vivek Kundra. The administration keeps promising plans that never get delivered, and Obama all but abdicated to Nancy Pelosi during the Porkulus debacle. And that doesn’t even begin to cover Obama’s embarrassing performance during Gordon Brown’s visit, and Hillary Clinton’s shameful “I don’t understand multiparty democracy” tour at the EU.
Obama is in over his head, and so are his closest aides, such as Geithner, Hillary, and the entire team. The best we can hope is that on-the-job training can work quickly.
Update: Worse than Bush? Kevin McCullough makes that argument in his weekly column.