The Campaign That Never Ends
Remember when we had a president in the White House who actually led the country?
The last good example of that state of affairs occurred in 1981-1989. Ronald Reagan was a master at communicating his beliefs to the people and then sitting down with lawmakers and hammering out policy that mirrored those beliefs. Sometimes he was forced to compromise, and sometimes those compromises were not honored by those on the other side of the aisle, but, without fail, Reagan worked, and worked hard, to see to it that America remained on the track so painfully laid for her by our visionary Founders. He was tireless. He was devoted. He was duty-bound. He was loyal to the Founders' vision. He revered the Constitution. His eight years in our White House served as a superb lesson in American leadership.
Each president who served after him – all four of them – fell tragically short of living up to his exquisite leadership model. But let’s just focus on our current president and examine his seemingly polar opposite definition of leadership.
Barack Obama’s main occupation prior to ascending to the presidency was as a community organizer – a politician of sorts, whose charge it is to convince the ‘underprivileged’ and ‘downtrodden’ that they deserve more from government than they are getting. Obama was apparently very good at community organizing because he played an important role in supporting and expanding the entitlement mentality. His ACORN associations resulted in banks and lending institutions being extorted into lending billions to ‘underprivileged’ and ‘downtrodden’ people who had no hopes of repaying those loans. So, at least in part, our president played a role in the housing crisis and the financial collapse that was ushered in in 2008.
He is a superb rabble rouser, a slick public relations wheeler-dealer whose over-riding talent consists of convincing people that what he is selling is good for them. And they had better demand it, or their lives will somehow be less full, less meaningful, less rich than they would otherwise be.
Now that Barack Obama occupies the White House one would think that his rabble rousing, slick public relations days would be over.
Not so. They appear to have just begun.
The amount of time Barack Obama has spent in communication and deliberation with lawmakers, statesmen and business leaders is dwarfed by the amount of time he has spent on the golf course or on the campaign trail. Most presidents meet with their cabinets at least once a week. This president often allows six months to go by without sitting down with his own appointed cabinet. How do they receive direction? How do they provide input? On the few occasions that he has sat down with his executive branch appointees he has done so because the public has been made aware that the cabinet is not being consulted. His cabinet meetings are simply meaningless window dressing arranged for public consumption.
When the Benghazi massacre was occurring, this president did not call a meeting of his security advisors, as would certainly have been the case under previous presidents. He simply went back to sleep (the four Americans were, after all, murdered at an ungodly hour on the east coast), and then jetted off to Las Vegas for a campaign rally the following morning after his good night’s sleep.
This president simply does not like to inform, discuss or compromise. Such leadership abilities are entirely foreign to his character. He did not seek the advice and consent of congress when deciding to engage the American military in two new wars. He held no meaningful meetings with republicans before ramming his ‘healthcare’ bill through congress (and then accused them of obstructionism). He regularly ignores congress when setting policy, often dictating said policy to one of his agencies and directing the agency to institute new rules – rules that serve as surrogates for laws that should be passed by congress after significant deliberation and discussion. He issues Executive Orders and fiats at will, whether or not they pass constitutional muster.
It almost seems as though consulting lawmakers, or holding informative briefings, or talking with his cabinet, or holding press conferences, or meeting with intelligence advisors is, put simply, a bother. And it is a bother that he chooses not to confront. He shoots from the hip, without considering the justification for the shooting, or who might be in the way of his bullet.
Our president has just been elected to his second, and presumably final, term. One would think that the endless campaigning would now cease and he would sit down behind his desk in the Oval Office and begin governing. He has no more campaign rallies to attend. No more murders of U.S. ambassadors to ignore (at least momentarily) as he leaves Washington for a campaign fundraiser. No more photo-ops with hurricane victims. No more efforts to look presidential in the face of natural catastrophes.
Yet the campaigning continues. Rather than sitting down with lawmakers and seriously attempting to avert the fiscal calamity that is lurking over the horizon, or attempting to address the escalating unrest in Egypt, or attempting to deal with the massive violence being perpetrated on Israel, or attempting to answer the burning questions about his handling of the Benghazi massacre and its aftermath, or explaining any of the countless other avoidable tragedies that have occurred on his watch, this president is once again out on the campaign trail arranging photo ops, holding meetings with small businessmen and promising them the world while simultaneously planning to stab them in the backs once his tax policy is revealed, organizing town hall meetings during which he will no doubt successfully convince the useful idiots among us that he is on their side.
The eternal campaign continues. And why? Two reasons:
(1) He knows nothing else. He is incapable of genuine leadership, because leadership requires sacrifice. It requires time and effort and the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes – to see the world through someone else’s eyes. To look at two sides of a coin and work diligently with others to determine which side of that coin, if either, to trust. Barack Obama believes that his eyes are the only ones that see clearly. The rest of us, and those we elected to represent us, are insignificant in his agenda-driven grand scheme of things.
(2) He knows that there is an entity in America that is far more powerful than those we have elected and entrusted to make powerful decisions for us. An entity that is accountable to no one but him. He knows that the mainstream media can mold public opinion by ignoring news that screams to be heard and instead reporting ‘news’ that is destined to sway public opinion and thereby create public policy.
Thus the town hall meetings, and superficial photo-op meetings with segments of the population with whom he wants to appear to be compassionate. Our television screens will soon be filled with pictures of a weary Obama, talking with average citizens and small business people, and anyone else who is willing to be used as a pawn by his machine. Those pictures will be accompanied by descriptions of a tireless president who is seeking to know the will of the people so that he might serve them better. And then, when his policies are roadblocked by his political opponents, who have been virtually ignored amid all the staging and drama, and cries of ‘obstructionism’ are televised daily on our screens, the average uninformed, apathetic American will abhor those who are standing in the way of the man who is working so hard for their good.
There is no leadership in our White House anymore. It’s all a public relations campaign, authored by the president, engineered by the mainstream media, and swallowed like pre-digested pablum by the citizenry. And those few genuine leaders still to be found in congress are left scratching their heads wondering why they are never consulted, never informed, never treated with the respect that they are entitled to enjoy by virtue of the fact that their constituents sent them to Washington for a reason.
There are no longer three branches of government in Washington. The executive branch runs the show by campaigning, entirely for public consumption, 24/7. There is no longer a need to seek advice or consent from congress. The mainstream media simply tell us what is in our best interest, show us that Barack Obama is working toward that end, and we stand and applaud ‘leadership’ that is nothing more than self-promoting, agenda-driven, pre-scripted drama.
I truly hope Ronald Reagan isn’t watching the drama unfold. If he is, he is seeing it through tear-stained eyes, and he is in mourning for his America.