Obama's competence gap

In some cases (e.g., detainee photos) the administration has been badgered into adjusting course and dropping silly campaign promises in order to maintain a coherent national security policy. In other cases (e.g., Guantanamo) they are tied up in knots figuring out how to reconcile their sanctimonious rhetoric and the public’s desire for security. And in still other cases (e.g., domestic policy) the administration hasn’t come to terms with how to spur economic recovery or pay for the ever-growing liberal wish list, even as the prospect for stagflation and/or a collapse of our borrowing capacity looms.

But in each instance the gap between campaign rhetoric and governing reality is wide. And while the administration remains adept at throwing a summit or trotting out industry leaders to tout the president’s ideas, the tough choices have largely been avoided. In the end, it’s not about receiving shout outs from fawning pundits or even about rounding up a simple or filibuster-proof majority; it’s about crafting effective policy. If you can’t do that, no amount of stagecraft will save an administration.