WASHINGTON, May 28, 2014 — Based on his handling of the last five or six significant events, President Obama appears to be in over his head. From the Fast and Furious gun running problem to the inept and fatalistic management of the Veterans Administration, the President appears disconnected. Maybe the job is simply too much for him.
The term “in over your head’ originally meant that a person entered water that was deeper than he was tall. This obviously created a life threatening situation. Figuratively, the expression is applied when someone is involved in a situation beyond what he can deal with. Or someone has more difficulties that they can manage. When this happens the person appears to be disconnected with reality and makes statements that do not fit the situation. Is this the President’s current state?
Recently Obama announced that he will withdraw most, and eventually all, troops currently stationed in Afghanistan. This action is similar to what he did in Iraq, where the results have been disastrous. Usually troop withdrawals are undertaken when the conflict is over. In this case he just announced the withdrawal independent of the situation on the ground, as if managing with the conflict was something he just did not want to deal with any longer.
Concerning the issue with the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the president says he learned of the problems with the website in “the first couple of days” after the site went live on October 1, 2013. It is difficult to imagine any competent manager not watching the details of the most important piece of legislation in his tenure. Unless the manager really didn’t understand what was happening or simply believed it was too difficult for him to comprehend.
In the first quarter of 2014 the economy showed almost zero growth. Any manager who was in charge of overseeing the economy would have looked for the fundamental causes of this stagnation, especially considering that for the past five and a half years economic growth has barely exceeded population growth. Instead the president chose not to analyze the problem and seek sensible solutions but rather to say that severe winter weather was the reason. When an individual is not competent to manage effectively, maybe the next best thing to do is to blame the weather. After all, he must reason, he had no control over the weather.
It has now become obvious that the IRS has targeted some groups based on their political affiliation. Since Lois Lerner pleaded the Fifth Amendment rather than answer questions, it must also be apparent that there is reason to believe that criminal acts took place and Lerner could incriminate herself by answering questions. The president’s out-of-touch response was that there is not even a “smidgeon” of corruption in the IRS. An effective manager would be aware of any improprieties and would have moved to fix them immediately, instead of pretending they do not exist.
Hearings which will begin shortly will attempt to discover what really happened during the raid in Benghazi that killed four Americans who were in hostile territory and were unprotected. Even though documents were requested by Congress more than a year ago, some documents are just being released and only because the court ordered them. An effective manager would want to get to the truth as quickly as possible. An “in over your head” manager would simply ignore it, hoping it will eventually go away. “Dude, this was like two years ago” one of the President’s former National Security Council spokesperson said.
How about the economy? In 1980, when President Reagan inherited a deeper recession than the recent one, Reagan took decisive action to grow the economy. From 2009 to 2011, President Obama had a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives and a super majority in the Senate. He too could have taken decisive steps to grow the economy and increase the number of jobs. Instead he put in policies to help the bottom 15% of the population while virtually ignoring the other 85%, spent billions on programs that he liked, but had no apparent effect on economic growth and then blamed his failures on the prior administration. These are actions typical of a manger who simply doesn’t know how to manage.
His foreign policy has been a disaster. Instead of confronting conflict, he just sidesteps it or ignores it, hoping it will go away. It appears that he simply does not know what to do.
Americans twice elected Obama to be president even though he had no experience managing any organization and really lacked the proper credentials to be President of the Unites States. As a result he is in way over his head and we are suffering because of it.