Tuesday, January 18th | 16 Shevat 5782

November 4, 2012 2:56 pm

The Reality of Barack Obama

avatar by Yale Zussman


President Obama on an episode of 60 minutes. Photo: screenshot.

This election just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.  In its Friday edition, The Washington Post endorsed Barack Obama for reelection, hardly a surprise in light of that paper’s role in promoting him in 2008 as the solution to all the nation’s problems.  What makes the endorsement food for thought is that it reflects an astounding failure to see Obama for what he is.

This point came home where they wrote, about Mitt Romney, that his campaign consists of “a willingness to say just about anything to win.  Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you’d worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office.”  What makes this so interesting is that, with the exception of a willingness to change his mind, it is a perfect description of Barack Obama’s approach to politics.

The Post mentioned an extensive list of Obama’s failures during his term, evidently they understand that they wouldn’t be taken seriously if they didn’t, and then blamed the Republicans, much as Obama does.  Elsewhere, they claim that Romney’s economic plan doesn’t add up, but the same can be said for the Post’s attribution of blame for Obama’s failures.

Obama failed even when his party controlled both houses of Congress, after he had been elected by a substantial majority, and when it looked like his coat-tails would be valuable in the 2010 election.  The Post would have us believe that the Republicans will be more cooperative if he manages to eke out re-election after association with him proved to be a serious liability in 2010, he has become a lame-duck, and his polarizing political and personal style has further alienated Republicans, who may control both houses of Congress in January.  If they believe this, maybe we could solve the deficit problem by repeatedly reselling this bridge I own…

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The problems with Obama don’t end with his being the most polarizing leader we’ve ever had.  They extend to a leadership psychology that is about as bad as it can get.  Abandonment by a parent produces a child  who really never grows up, but spends the rest of his life trying to prove something to the missing parent or getting even.  Obama was abandoned by both of his parents.  The experience leads to a desire for power and the “immutable belief… in his own fitness for higher office.”  Obama doesn’t “change(s) his mind” even in the face of overwhelming evidence that he is wrong, because that might force him to reconsider his whole approach to life.

Thus, having brought the Middle East peace talks to a halt by siding with the Palestinians, he simply upped the ante by making further demands on Israel.  That there is no longer any prospect of meaningful discussions after the new Islamist government of Egypt has announced its intention to unilaterally revise the Camp David peace accord with Israel does not seem to have registered with him.  Why should Israel negotiate if any treaty reached will not be deemed binding on the Muslim side?

Similarly, Obama entered office convinced that his personal involvement would result in meaningful negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.  The result has been an ongoing series of meetings that have merely provided more time for the Iranians to move toward a weapon.  The Iranians have been playing him for a fool, and to avoid having to face up to that reality, he has persisted in seeking more talks.  Nothing will be done under Obama because that would require him to admit he had been wrong.

The advantage in the skills necessary to be an effective political executive all favor Romney.  We know Romney was at Bain, rescued the Olympics, and then served as governor of Massachusetts.  There doesn’t seem to be much question that he knows how to run an organization.  Meanwhile, the Post knows, even if it doesn’t give much attention to this fact, that the Obama Administration is an organizational nightmare.

The same thing applies to political skills.  Romney was an effective, if less than brilliant, governor in a state where his party was an irrelevancy in the legislature.  He knows how to work with Democrats.  Obama failed even when his party controlled both houses of Congress.  He shows no sign of having learned anything from this experience.

The roster of problems goes on.  Obama is on the record that after he is re-elected, and beyond the reach of the voters, he will do as he sees fit, ruling by decree if necessary.  We know he told Russian President Medvedev that he would comply with Russia’s desires on missile defense for Europe.  He has opened the door for penetration of the US government by people affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization dedicated to destroying Jews, Christians, and Israel. Their manifesto states explicitly that they seek to destroy Western civilization from within. What role have these people played in setting US policy on Middle Eastern issues?  What role will they play in a second Obama Administration?  The issue hasn’t even been discussed. Obama’s State Department continues to support a UN resolution that would prohibit honest discussion of Islam.  Is the end of free speech on the horizon?  And this at the hand of someone who has sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution…”

Yale Zussman holds a Doctorate in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he concentrated on International Relations, American Government, and the role of leadership.  He has no connection to the Romney campaign.

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