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The Vaunted 'Competence' Of Barack Obama
Townhall.com ^ | May 26, 2014 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 05/26/2014 6:27:43 AM PDT by Kaslin

s a candidate for president in 1988, Michael Dukakis famously proclaimed: "This election is not about ideology; it's about competence."

It wasn't a winning argument. Dukakis had run as the architect of the so-called "Massachusetts Miracle," the state's mid-1980s economic boom. But the miracle was turning into a fiscal meltdown, and as it did Dukakis's once-commanding lead went down the drain. On Election Day, he lost to George H. W. Bush in a 40-state landslide.

Dukakis played down ideology because he didn't want to be tagged as a liberal, and he played up competence because that's what all candidates do. Twenty years later, Barack Obama did the same thing, but with far greater success. Running to succeed the deeply polarizing George W. Bush, Obama held himself out not just as a leader who would never "pit red America against blue America," but as a natural-born manager whose hallmark was smarts and competence.

Voters — encouraged by newspaper endorsements that saw in Obama's campaign "a marvel of sound management" (The Boston Globe) and backed him because he "offered more competence than drama" (Los Angeles Times) — ate it up. An astonishing 76 percent of respondents in a CNN/ORC poll shortly after the 2008 election agreed that Obama could "manage the government effectively."

Five years of Obama's presidency have certainly shattered that delusion.

The scandal now boiling over at the Veterans Administration, where at least 40 patients have died while numerous VA hospitals reportedly falsified data to hide unconscionable delays in medical care, is only the latest in a long series of government shambles under a president whose managerial prowess turned out to be a mirage.

Abuses at the VA have been a problem for years. As a candidate back in 2007, Obama claimed that 400,000 veterans were "stuck on a waiting list," and he promised "a new sense of urgency" to "make sure that our disabled vets receive the benefits they deserve." But that urgency never materialized. In a letter to Obama a year ago, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee detailed some of the "serious and significant patient care issues" in the VA system, imploring him to address the worsening problems before even more veterans died. Yet nothing happened. The president showed no interest in the matter, and seemed to have no grasp of the scandal's lethal magnitude, until he learned about it on the news.

Obama came to the White House with a carefully cultivated image for almost preternatural competence — an image no one esteemed more highly than he did. "I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters," he had told campaign staff. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that . . . I'm a better political director than my political director."

He may still believe it, but most Americans no longer do. When respondents in a CNN/ORC poll this spring were asked once again about the president's ability to "manage the government effectively," a solid majority — 57 percent — said that description does not apply to Obama. Other surveys get similar results. In four Quinnipiac University polls taken since November 2013, respondents have been asked: "Do you think that in general the Obama administration has been competent in running the government?" Each time, a majority has said no. Asked whether the president is "paying attention to what his administration is doing,"only 45 percent say he is. None of those polls reflects recent coverage of the VA; presumably the numbers would be even harsher if they did.

Every presidency has its scandals and messes. George W. Bush's included the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, the calamitous post-Saddam administration of Iraq, and the misbegotten policies that stoked the subprime mortgage crisis. But Obama went out of his way to contrast himself with the supposedly bumbling and hapless Bush. He put effectiveness and smart governance at the very core of what Americans could expect if they elected him.

It hasn't worked out that way, or even come close. The Obama administration hasn't been distinguished by cool, cerebral, sure-footed professionalism, but by something closer to amateur hour. From the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act to the bloody aftermath of the intervention in Libya, from enabling political witch-hunts at the IRS to being repeatedly outmaneuvered by Russia's Vladimir Putin, from swelling the debt he was going to reduce to embittering the politics he promised to detoxify, Obama's performance has been a lurching series of screw-ups and disappointments.

The 44th president — who once said that his accomplishments could compare favorably with those of any of his predecessors with the "possible exceptions" of Lyndon Johnson, FDR, and Abraham Lincoln — has always had a huge opinion of his executive gifts. The American people no longer share it. As a political creature, Obama's talents are undeniable. When it comes to competent governance, they turned out to be anything but.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: barack0bama; obama; obamalies; presidency

1 posted on 05/26/2014 6:27:43 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

This entire administration is delusional and certifiable for permanent incarceration.


2 posted on 05/26/2014 6:29:52 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
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To: ridesthemiles

“This entire administration is delusional and certifiable for permanent incarceration.”...

We all agree with the “delusional” part but how do we get to the important part like “permanent incarceration”?


3 posted on 05/26/2014 6:31:54 AM PDT by DaveA37
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To: Kaslin

Spot on. Thanks for posting.


4 posted on 05/26/2014 6:34:06 AM PDT by Hoodat (Democrats - Opposing Equal Protection since 1828)
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To: Kaslin

“”I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” he had told campaign staff. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that . . . I’m a better political director than my political director.”

All he’d have to add is “And I don’t understand why I can’t get a date” and it would sound like a certain 140-page manifesto I’ve read lately.


5 posted on 05/26/2014 6:37:28 AM PDT by Stosh
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To: Kaslin

Think of the little gossipy bitches of Daily Kos running anything, and that is the administration.


6 posted on 05/26/2014 6:38:53 AM PDT by junta ("Peace is a racket", testimony from crime boss Barrack Hussein Obama.)
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To: All
Democrats Privately Calling Obama 'Detached,' 'Flat Footed,' 'Incompetent'
Weekly Standard / Daniel Halpern / Posted by Sub-Driver

CNN's John King reports that Democrats are privately calling President Obama "detached," "flat footed," and "incompetent." "Forget for a moment that Republican outrage," said King on his CNN show this morning. "More and more Democrats in key 2014 races are calling for the president to get a spine, they say, and fire his Veterans Affairs secretary. And what more and more Democrats are saying privately is scathing, calling the president and his team detached, flat footed, even incompetent.

"Maggie Haberman," said King turning to a panelist, "that's what strikes me, what democrats are saying privately in the wakes of the healthcare.gov problems, they see a president who doesn't want to take command, doesn't want to act fast. Raising the competence question. Some Democrats, who believe in government, [are saying] this White House doesn't appear to have its hand on the lever."

Haberman of Politico agreed, cited more examples, and added: "All of this adds up to somebody who just doesn't seem at all involved."

===========================================

Oh, I dunno---Obama outing a CIA chief in America-hating Afghanistan is certainly a corker. But this here takes the cake for presidential incompetence.

Boobamba gave this boob ntl security clearance.

Boobamba's campaign van driver attends WH Situation Room
meetings. Tommy Vietor is Hillary's top pick for Secretary of state.

===============================================

Course, Hillary's all girl State Dept is right up there when talking incompetence. Musta been having a bad hair day when the girls couldn't name even one of Hillary's accomplishments.

7 posted on 05/26/2014 6:43:32 AM PDT by Liz
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To: junta

You said it


8 posted on 05/26/2014 6:48:19 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin
Every presidency has its scandals and messes. George W. Bush's included the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, the calamitous post-Saddam administration of Iraq, and the misbegotten policies that stoked the subprime mortgage crisis.

Yes, the Bush Administration's handling of Katrina was disaster -- if one conveniently forgets that New Orlean's mayor Ray Nagin (now in jail) and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco IGNORED warnings for DAYS that New Orleans and Louisiana was going to take the brunt of Katrina and failed to evacuate those affected.

Sure, post-Iraq was bungled, if one conveniently forgets that was largely media-generated hype driven by the liberal lamestream media.

And of course, the mortgage crisis was all Bush's fault, if one conveniently forgets that Bush tried NO FEWER THAN SEVEN TIMES to reform the Mortgage industry along with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac only to have BARNEY FAG (sorry, I meant "Frank") and CHRIS DODD stop those reforms from happening, while BARNEY FAG (sorry, I meant "Frank" again)gay boyfriend was a key executive in one of the two.

Sure, all this is BUSH's fault -- if one has a FAULTY MEMORY, is a CONVENIENT LIAR, Partisan HACK, or all THREE as in the case of the author of this shitpile called an article.

9 posted on 05/26/2014 6:53:28 AM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: Stosh
Nothing has changed.

That arrogant pos talked a lot then and said nothing, and he still talks a lot and says absolutely nothing.

10 posted on 05/26/2014 6:53:35 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

I didn’t think Obama was any more qualified to be president than all the other leftist, blowhards I heard when I was in college. A number of them had their own mostly Marxist ideas on how the nation should be run. Obama is cut from the same cloth.


11 posted on 05/26/2014 6:59:32 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Kaslin

These scandals are bad, but everybody has scandals, including the sainted Ronald Reagan. We must stay focused on the big picture. While O’Bummer is not a great day-to-day manager, he managed to take over one sixth of the American economy. Socialized medicine is still our foremost fight.


12 posted on 05/26/2014 7:00:22 AM PDT by heye2monn (MO)
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To: Kaslin


13 posted on 05/26/2014 7:20:39 AM PDT by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: Kaslin

I always thought zero’s campaign had to do with Axelrod, etc more than Obama. Obama was just the speech guy.

Obama exhibits an extraordinarily high opinion of himself - isn’t that typical of coddled AA people before they come into contact with reality?

Read that POTUS admitted to his prep school basketball coach that he really wasn’t that good after all. Maybe he is realizing the same truth about his ability to run this country - unless his intention is to run it into the ground.


14 posted on 05/26/2014 7:31:54 AM PDT by Aria ( 2008 & 2012 weren't elections - they were coup d'etats.)
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To: Kaslin
Great article with lots of facts including "flashback" quotes from candidate Obama. Every liberal in America should be forced to read this piece.

Of course, every liberal in America should also be forced to witness an abortion firsthand.

They should also be forced to spend a summer night on the streets of Detroit or Philadelphia.

They should also be forced to spend a -20 degree winter night in Minnesota heated only by solar electric power.

---I could go on for a long time. It might be a nice project to work up a list of the things liberals should be required to do to bring them into closer touch with reality.

15 posted on 05/26/2014 7:36:13 AM PDT by Senator_Blutarski
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To: usconservative
BARNEY FAG (sorry, I meant "Frank" again)gay boyfriend was a key executive in one of the two.

I agree with every word of your post and have been amazed that more people didn't pick up on the fact that Barney was gifting his boyfriend with the policies of the United States of America that led to the meltdown. I have to wonder if Barney weren't buggering an executive with fanniemae (or was it freddie) would this international meltdown have happened at all? Maybe, probably, but to this extent? Talk about scandals!

16 posted on 05/26/2014 7:38:42 AM PDT by Aria ( 2008 & 2012 weren't elections - they were coup d'etats.)
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To: Kaslin

The Peter principle is catching up to him, can he fool them, not us, for another 2.5 years? His minions in the White House frighten me, did they all just fall off the turnip truck, dude? OOps sorry we included the CIA station chief’s name on our press list, sorry dude!


17 posted on 05/26/2014 7:40:47 AM PDT by thirst4truth (Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point.)
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To: Kaslin

“It wasn’t a winning argument. Dukakis had run as the architect of the so-called “Massachusetts Miracle,” the state’s mid-1980s economic boom. But the miracle was turning into a fiscal meltdown, and as it did Dukakis’s once-commanding lead went down the drain. On Election Day, he lost to George H. W. Bush in a 40-state landslide.”

I don’t disagree with the take on Obama here, but the historical analogy linking in Dukakis seems wrong on the facts, in that the collapse of the “Massachusetts Miracle” didn’t happen, as I recall, until (shortly) after the presidential election, when the smoke and mirrors were revealed.


18 posted on 05/26/2014 7:51:30 AM PDT by WL-law
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To: Kaslin
“The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes.” ―Benjamin Disraeli
19 posted on 05/26/2014 8:17:00 AM PDT by loveliberty2
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To: Kaslin

0bama’s primary talent is lying and he’s not even competent at that.


20 posted on 05/26/2014 12:54:11 PM PDT by TigersEye ("No man left behind" is more than an Army Ranger credo it's the character of America.)
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To: Senator_Blutarski

Liberals should be forced to swim to Cuba and beg for asylum and free health care.


21 posted on 05/26/2014 12:58:05 PM PDT by TigersEye ("No man left behind" is more than an Army Ranger credo it's the character of America.)
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To: Kaslin
As a political creature, Obama's talents are undeniable.

Every one of these freakin' articles contains a statement like this, or something similar. I wish they'd tell me where they get the idea that Obama is all that smart politically. I mean, the guy can't even give a speech unless he reads it from a teleprompter, words written by someone else. How smart is that for a politician? He divides rather than unites, polarizes rather than building consensus, confronts rather than compromises. He's rather make enemies than make a deal that gets something useful done. All of those things do not a smart political leader make.

22 posted on 05/26/2014 1:02:59 PM PDT by chimera
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To: thirst4truth

Obama’s minions in the White House are truly scary.
The Party’s media keeps them hidden. They are rarely spoken of. baraq is just the front guy while his fellow travelers work diligently to destroy what we know as the United States.


23 posted on 05/27/2014 4:53:03 AM PDT by Texas resident (The democrat party is now the CPUSA)
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