Just two months into the Obama Administration, the bad decisions are piling up. Pundits, who previously praised Barack Obama, liberal and conservative alike, are now sounding the alarm. Those of us who warned that Senator Obama lacked experience, leaned towards socialism, hung with radicals, and avoided making decisions, can now say, “I told you so.” That is small comfort.
With President Obama, it is hard to distinguish between his intentional radicalism and his unintentional incompetence. Was the bungling of Prime Minister Brown’s visit the result of President Obama’s disdain for the British or the consequence of a new administration with no background in protocol? Is the failure to directly address the banking/credit crisis by design or is Geithner simply overwhelmed? What does the President plan to do with the Gitmo detainees? Was it the President’s intention to place no restrictions on the scientific use of embryos? There is a lack of preparation in addressing crucial issues which points toward incompetence. If these lapses are intentional, then it is alarming, indeed.
President Obama seems to be similar to President Jimmy Carter in that he wants to micromanage. Regarding foreign policy, Obama has written his own letters to Iran and Russia. Besides Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he has appointed special envoys to the Middle East and to Afghanistan/Pakistan. Critics worry that there are multiple de facto Secretaries of State, causing confusion in our foreign policy. In his attempts to repair our reputation in the world, Obama’s missteps are serious. Prime Minister Brown’s visit was obviously mishandled, from the lack of a joint press conference or a formal White House state dinner to the thoughtless and inappropriate choice of gifts. The British press is having a field day, while the American press remains largely silent on the gaffes. One British official was quoted as saying, “You cannot believe how difficult it is,” referring to his attempts to contact the Obama administration regarding the upcoming G20 Summit. Secretary of State Clinton’s gift of a “reset” button to symbolize the beginning of a new relationship between Russia and the U.S. backfired when the Russian word translated to “overcharge.” Postponing the visit from the Brazilian President because of St. Patrick’s Day (really?) and then misspelling his name in the official announcement are the latest faux pas.
It is no wonder that President Obama relies on a teleprompter for every public appearance. As the honeymoon ends and the criticism grows, the public will become less tolerant of his missteps. The falling poll numbers are already starting to reflect the realization that President Obama is not the messiah. As our economic ship continues to sink, will the platitudes of a pretty speech soften the blow? Will the massive government spending do anything but make matters worse? Voters are getting what they wanted: an eloquent President. Unfortunately, eloquence does not guarantee competence.