Obama theme: incompetence?

posted at 11:20 am on September 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Mark Tapscott picks up the thread of yesterday’s Obamateurism and follows it back through the first seven months of the Barack Obama presidency. The failure to check with school districts on start dates before scheduling a national address to “schoochildren” is not an isolated fumble by the administration headed by the novice executive. It’s becoming a pattern of incompetence, which can be seen at all levels:

Now, the school speech was poorly thought out, both in concept and execution. The same can be said of Obama’s recurring unsuccessful attempts over the summer to “reframe the health care reform debate,” and the multiple mis-steps in responding to his Town Hall critics, beginning with the spectacularly inept branding of them as an “angry mob.”…

The lesson here is that the political ear that warns of potential mis-steps in a campaign is not the same one that works once you are elected and have to make the thousand decisions that come with daily governance of a central government that long ago become far too big and expansive to be effectively managed. This is why administration officials approach projects like the school speech without anticipating the explosion of negative public reaction.

So expect in coming months a growing theme in the media questioning the competence of those around the president. For liberals in Congress and the media, such a theme will provide a handy way of diverting blame from Obama’s shoulders for the succession of blunders, misteps and embarrassments that is surely coming.

How has this theme surfaced?  It would be impossible to count them all, but we can get them into broad themes:

  • Personnel – Barack Obama’s appointments have been a continuing source of embarrassment.  His Treasury Secretary blamed Turbo-Tax for his tax evasion, but several more appointments also had tax problems.  Obama nominated Bill Richardson to Commerce knowing full well of the pay-for-play probe in New Mexico that forced Richardson to withdraw his name a few weeks later.  Van Jones, the Green Jobs Czar, is just the latest example of fumbled vetting that has plagued this White House since the transition.
  • Economics – Remember when Obama told the nation that a $787 billion stimulus package would keep unemployment from getting above 8%?  Remember when Obama told the nation that his administration had shaved $2 trillion off of the projected ten-year deficit?  Remember when Obama promised that he would speed up stimulus spending this summer?  None of those came to pass, which is why Obama hopes you’ve forgotten all of that.
  • Politics – One might have thought Obama would have learned from the debacle of the stimulus package that he needed to lead, rather than follow Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  Instead, he passed the buck on health-care reform and wound up losing control of the health-care debate.  Indeed, Obama made it worse by cheering on Pelosi and Reid, demanding that Congress bend to their wills and vote on an overhaul of 1/6th of the American economy with just a handful of days for debate.  This week, seven months after his inauguration, Obama’s press flacks announced with great fanfare that Obama would finally draft a proposal himself — as if he were President, or something!

Who could have warned us that a man who served seven years in the state legislature and three years in the Senate would not have been prepared for the toughest executive position in the Free World?  We did.  Repeatedly.  So did John McCain, and for that matter, so did Hillary Clinton.

Mark predicts that the follies of Porkulus will give us plenty of instances of incompetence from this administration in the coming months, and he’s almost certainly right.  I don’t think we’ll have to go that far, though, if the pattern of the first seven months continues.


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