Obama Administration—An Experiment in No Experience
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When 52% of American voters cast their ballots for Barack Obama in November 2008, they were voting for a candidate who was unique—a Washington outsider, who promised change.
In fact, Obama was a political experiment. All of us have wondered what it would be like to pick a man off the street and stick him into the Oval Office as our nation’s president. Many movies have been made and fictional books written on just such a subject. We’ve wondered if perhaps a common man with little experience might serve as president just as well as anyone else. Obama has proved that such is a woeful idea.
After serving three terms in the Illinois Senate, Obama was in the midst of his first term as a U.S. Senator when he was elected President of the United States. Obama came to the presidency without executive experience in business, not-for-profit, or government. His leadership experience consisted of leading small groups of individuals in protest towards various entities.
It is this lack of experience both from Obama and his administration that is causing a devastating effect upon this nation. What we have learned from the Obama presidency is that eloquence does not trump experience and that leadership is found in actions rather than words.
Consider Obama's disastrous handling of the BP oil spill and how he appeared to be disengaged from the entire fiasco until several days following the spill. Add to that his hasty reactions on race relations during the Henry Louis Gates episode and most recently regarding Shirley Sherrod at the USDA. Quick to react and quick to speak with little knowledge of the situation are far from ideal leadership qualities.
Then there was the President forcing through health care reform legislation earlier this year when poll after poll showed that a majority of Americans believed the program to be unnecessary and too expensive. Furthermore, we've seen reckless and irresponsible squandering of the people's money and unprecedented government intervention into business such that even members of his own political party are leery of following their leader.
This president simply appears to never know if a wound needs a band-aid or stitches. Perhaps this is due to the fact that he is new at all this leadership and decision-making stuff.
Before Barack Obama was elected President, experience was believed to be an important characteristic of the man who would lead the free world as President of the United States. A number of our nation’s presidents were first leaders in the military, including George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower. Decisions these men and others with similar experience made were matters of life and death even before they became president.
Still others, in fact many in recent history, honed their leadership skills and gained their executive experience as governor of a state first before becoming the Commander-in-Chief of our country.
President Reagan gained valuable knowledge and wisdom governing the state of California, while Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also first served as a governor before occupying the Oval Office. They dealt with fiscal matters of taxation and government spending on the state level and they gained experience in commanding the military when mobilizing the National Guard.
Barack Obama had no such experience. His rise to the presidency is akin to having a cafeteria manager suddenly elevated to Chief Executive of a large food-service company.
One might reason that surely such an inexperienced president would then have within his Cabinet individuals with much hands-on experience in their respective disciplines. However, even this is not the case, as the inexperience vacuum even permeates into the Cabinet. Nearly all the Cabinet members are ex-politicians and members of academia.
Look at the head of the Commerce Department for example. Gary Locke is the Commerce Secretary. Secretary Locke has no executive business experience. Here we have a man without business experience who is in charge of the nation's business and industry in what have become difficult economic times. Were there no former or current CEOs available who had actually run a successful business?
America has a President who is essentially winging it, going about his duties by trial and error because, aside from the Ivory Tower theories of is advisers, he has nothing else from which to base his decisions. It is an experiment gone horribly awry.
Chad Stafko is a writer and political consultant living in the Midwest. He can be reached at [email protected]
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