31 Jul 2013

“A Remarkable Combination of Arrogance and Impotence”

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Even moderate Ron Fournier is clearly getting fed up with Barack Obama’s excuses and standard operating procedure of blaming Republicans when the country’s economic problems remain unaddressed.

Two New York Times reporters recently posited for President Obama this grim scenario: Low growth, high unemployment, and growing income inequality become “the new normal” in the nation he leads. “Do you worry,” the journalists asked him, “that that could end up being your legacy simply because of the obstruction … and the gridlock that doesn’t seem to end?”

Obama’s reply was telling. “I think if I’m arguing for entirely different policies and Congress ends up pursuing policies that I think don’t make sense and we get a bad result,” he said, “it’s hard to argue that’d be my legacy.”

Actually, it’s hard to argue that it wouldn’t be his legacy. History judges U.S. presidents based upon what they did and did not accomplish. The obstinacy of their rivals and the severity of their circumstances is little mitigation. Great presidents overcome great hurdles. …

In March, a reporter asked Obama why he didn’t lock congressional leaders in a room until they agreed on a budget deal. Obama’s answer was based on two assumptions. First, that his opinion is supreme. Second, he can’t break the logjam. What a remarkable combination of arrogance and impotence.

“I am not a dictator. I’m the president,” he said. “I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington; that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”

Obama could still do great things. But not if he and his advisers underestimate a president’s powers, and don’t know how to exploit them. Not if his sympathizers give Obama cover by minimizing his influence. Cover to fail. Not if the president himself is outwardly and boundlessly dismissive of his critics, telling The New York Times, “I’m not concerned about their opinions.”

To say the situation is intractable seems akin to waving a white flag over a polarized capital: Republicans suck. We can’t deal with them. Let’s quit.

4 Feedbacks on "“A Remarkable Combination of Arrogance and Impotence”"

T. Shaw

Inexperience and incompetence: His job as racial racketeer was organizing sit-ins to extort couple millions $$ from huge corporations (that quickly paid-off to avoid bad press: cost of doing business in Chicago); otherwise he was mis-educating law students on what’s not in the US Constitution.


While we have a few years more of excuses, if we can elect a Reagan-like Republican in 2016, then in comparison their mere competency will appear genius.

I exploited this feature many times in changing billets in my career. On its face, going to an assignment with “problems” seemed inadvisable. But most of the time, I found the prior person in the assignment was either a slacker or had an “inability”. Just putting in a good effort to come up to speed, not adopting past practice and doing my job diligently would bring accolades, i.e., being normally competent shined in comparison to the prior.

There are calls for a great leader to arise to save us. But that is a fallacy, what we need is a competent person in that key position. Not even a statesman just a politician who can legislate and handle the rough and tumble of politics as was done in days of yore.


Great men with great ideas are usually able to sell a substantial majority of the population. Obama might entertain the implication that either he or his ideas aren’t really that great. Or both.

Citizen Ghost

JKB, I see your point and it is valid, but I don’t understand why we would intentionally go that route. If we can find a Reagan-like Candidate we would not have a merely competent President. If we can find a Reagan-like candidate and he is elected, we will have a great President who shines not because mediocrity trumps incompetence, but because greatness is what is needed most in a time such as this.


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