This piece concludes Pocket Full of Liberty’s a nine-part series written by the entire staff, which focuses on President Obama’s specific failures during his time in office.
Imagine that it’s the year 1787 and you are a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, called to solve a problem that has been plaguing your infant nation: mainly a weak and ineffective government. Up to this point the nation has been a federalist fantasy: a very weak collection of colonies who are run as individual fiefdoms with little federal intervention. The economy is extremely weak, states are battling each other for rights to Western lands and for trade, pirates are disrupting Mediterranean trade, and there is no way to deal with the overwhelming debts arising from the recent War for Independence. What is your solution?
Of course we know what those delegates came up with some 225 years ago: a balanced federal system of three equal branches of government, dividing both responsibilities and power among themselves in an attempt to ensure maximum liberty for all citizens. But has it worked — and is Barack Obama an effective head of the executive branch?
Article One of the Constitution describes the legislative role of the president, which essentially means one thing: veto power. Contrary to popular perception, the executive branch doesn’t write legislation. The president has the ability (through precedent) to suggest legislation that he would like to see pass (and the power of the bully pulpit), but technically all legislation originates in the legislative branch. Forgive me for the Civics 101 lesson, but the last decade or so has made clear that most Americans simply misunderstand how our government operates.
Barack Obama (former part-time lecturer in Constitutional Law) has vetoed exactly two bills throughout his entire presidency — the fewest number of vetoes since James Garfield, who was assassinated only six months after taking office. Not a single bill of any substance passed by the evil Republican-controlled House was deemed worthy of a presidential veto. Contrast that with Ronald Reagan’s 17 vetoes and Bill Clinton’s 37.
Article Two of the Constitution lays out the president’s executive powers, which essentially means his role as Commander in Chief of the armed forces and his administrative role as head of the Executive Branch.
It is here where his failure becomes obvious.
Barack Obama has never held a single leadership position in his entire life. He was never captain of a sports team, never a Boy Scout, never once elected Class President, never held a management position in the very brief time period that he was in the private sector. In short: he has never once learned how to lead others, and there is no more critical leadership job in our nation than that of President.
You see most people who aspire to political leadership have learned along the way how to inspire and motivate others. They learn how to define a message and inspire others with it. They learn how to effectively lead others to complete a given task. They learn through practical experience how to deal with failure.
Because Barack Obama never laid out a clear plan to lead this nation towards economic recovery, he allowed partisan ideologues to craft a plan (the so-called “stimulus package”) which has done little more than deepen our economic woes. Contrast Obama’s efforts with the Reagan recovery of 30 years ago and Obama’s leadership failure becomes even more evident. Reagan (who held a degree in economics and previously served eight years as governor of one of America’s most important states) was clear and specific about the steps that he wanted to take in ending the Carter recession, managing to get his plan through a hostile House of Representatives (led by fiery partisan Democrat Tip O’Neill). The same is true of George W. Bush and even Bill Clinton.
But Barack Obama has never had to lead anyone towards accomplishing any goals of substance. His failed efforts have doomed this nation to a weak recovery on the verge of recession.
On the foreign affairs front, Obama has projected such an air of weakness towards the world that our nation has been reduced to closing our embassies on the mere threat of a terrorist attack. Thirty years ago Ronald Reagan bombed Tripoli after Gaddafi organized one terrorist attack against US servicemen, essentially eliminating Libya as a threat for the time being. In contrast, Obama closes embassies over the simple threat of attack by an enemy that he has recently deemed “decimated” and “on the run.”
If this is how our commander in chief responds to a decimated enemy, God help us if we’re ever faced with actual threats under this man’s watch.
Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
In the past five years under President Obama’s leadership our nation has clearly entered a decline. Our economy is in the tank, we have a significantly weakened position in the world and there is a general feeling of dissatisfaction among Americans. In the end, Barack Obama’s greatest failure may be that he hasn’t inspired our nation towards anything great — or really anything beyond repeated failure. We have failed economically, with an anemic recovery and no long term solutions to our mounting debt crisis. We have failed militarily (as body bags continue to come home while we are in the process of returning Afghanistan to the Taliban). We have failed in the arena of foreign policy, particularly in regards to Syria, Egypt, Libya and even Russia. Our relationship with our closest ally (Great Britain) is strained at best. We have failed ethically, as Obama is in charge of an administration so corrupt that Richard Nixon now has the last laugh.
Barack Obama is an utter failure as a leader. A weak, self-absorbed man who cares more about how people view him than he does about doing the right thing. He has no qualms about permanently weakening the nation that he has sworn to protect, and no qualms about destroying the Constitution that he once occasionally taught to young students. A leader does what is difficult because he knows that it is right. A leader focuses on serving others instead of himself. Barack Obama does what is easiest simply because he lacks the courage to do what is needed, and lacks the humility to ever put anyone else above himself.
I pray that our system survives long enough for a true leader.