Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Obama's Legacy: Diminishing The Power Of The Office Of The U.S. Presidency

Pres. Obama is going to appear on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno. The most powerful man in the country is going to interview President Obama....Ferguson

  • Several months ago, Peggy Noonan wrote a piece with this headline: "The Obamas are everywhere, but doing nothing."
  • I thought about that headline when Pres. Obama appeared on Leno's show last night. During a period when we have almost two dozen of our embassies closed in the Middle East and when we had to evacuate Americans from Yemen in response to credible  threats by al-Qaeda, this president appears on a late night comic's show to discuss those issues and others (e.g., NSA surveillance).
  • I don't have a problem with Leno inviting the president. Leno is a comedian after all. I don't even have a problem with any president appearing on the late night shows. But there is an appropriate time and place for everything. At a time like this, an American president, any American president, should address the country directly and not through the lens of a late night show sandwiched by jokes.
  • Recently, I wrote a piece {prompted by an earlier article by Michael Goodwin of the NY Post} where I pointed out it's bad enough we have a poor-performing president, it's even worse when we have an absent one. Unfortunately for America---in this president---we have both. 
  • For example, we still do not know where Pres. Obama was during the attack on our consulate in Benghazi. By any definition, that was an international crisis. It appears our president was nowhere to be found until he emerged at a fundraiser in Vegas the very next day. In fact, Pres. Obama shows little interest in the details of his job (just the opposite of Bill Clinton). It's reflected in the many trips he takes outside of the Beltway. Those trips place him in front of adoring crowds and campaign style events (usually colleges and universities). In turn, the enablers in the media make it appear he's engaged.  He's not. Obama is usually at specific locations to just raise more money for Democrats.

  • These frequent trips outside of Washington serve another purpose for this president. He can leave the painful details to others.  He can detach himself from the daily grind of executive decisions and legislative chaos. The problem with that strategy happens to be most who work for Obama are incompetent. It's perfectly fine for any CEO to delegate details,--if the people to whom he delegates can do the job. All to often,  in the last five years, we've seen one failure after another in this administration.
  • K.T. McFarland, former national security advisor to Henry Kissinger, said yesterday: "Pres. Obama much discussed style of 'leading from behind' has led the United States metaphorically cowering under the bed."
  • I happen to think it's worse than that. Obama has managed to diminish the power of the U.S. presidency in five short years leaving behind only faded posters that promised the nation "Hope and Change."