Saturday, April 11

The biggest question about Obama: Are the results deliberate, or incompetence?


There's a tongue-in-cheek principle for military improvisation that says "Whatever isn't specifically prohibited is allowed."  Obama seems to operate on the principle that "Whatever I can get away with must be legal, because I did it and I'm the president."

Obama made no secret of the fact that he--like virtually everyone on the Left--blamed the U.S. for most of the world's problems.  His solution was equally open: He started his reign by making the "Apology Tour," bowing to foreign leaders (his 90-degree bow to the king of Saudi Arabia was particularly notable) and apologizing for America's alleged sins.

Then to ensure the U.S. wouldn't be able to impose its will on any other country ever again, he began crippling our armed forces.  He fired generals who didn't enthusiastically support liberal policies and promoted incompetent but politically reliable ones.  Cut the military budget.  Where Clinton had merely allowed homosexuals to remain in the military as long as they weren't obvious, Obozo ordered this policy changed to bar the military from discharging openly homosexual members.  He pushed to put women on all combat ships, including submarines. 

He ordered the exchange of 5 top terrorist prisoners at Gitmo for a wacko deserter--violating U.S. law by not notifying congress of that plan.  The exchange was widely seen in military circles as rewarding a deserter, as well as endangering our troops still in Afghanistan by making it possible for the 5 released terrorists to return to combat.

He instructed his trusted agents in the IRS to delay the issuance of tax-exempt status to conservative groups for years, making it far more difficult for them to raise money.  He allowed his EPA chief to use a government email account under a fake name--an act done to avoid those emails being subpoenaed in lawsuits alleging EPA corruption or other wrongdoing--without punishment.


But possibly the worst of his calculated damage to the U.S. is that he's effectively junked the Constitution, by exploiting a provision called "discretionary authority:"  Most laws have a provision that allows a president to waive that law's provisions in exceptional cases.  Obama has cited this as permitting him to grant amnesty to 5 million or ten million illegal aliens.

Such a use was clearly not intended by the congress that passed the law, and in cases where a law doesn't address some point, or is ambiguous, courts are required to look at the clear intent of the parties.  Obama should have known this (though given his sketchy, hidden academic background this is by no means certain).  If he does, his willingness to reject intent and stretch the principle to let him rule by decree is shocking.  It's the act of a man determined to rule, regardless of the damage to the nation, if it wins him an immediate benefit.

This is the very definition of shortsightedness, and can be attributed to ego and narcissism.  "I don't care if it ruins (X), I wanna do it!  And you can't stop me!"

All of the above triggers the question, Are all the bad results of Obama's reign due to malice, or mere incompetence? 

On the one hand the president seems very good at coercing domestic opponents, intimidating Republicans and fooling the general public. This argues competence. But on the other hand he is laughably outmaneuvered by men like Putin, Castro, the Iranians or the Saudis. The Chinese run rings around him.  If he's so clever at outmaneuvering the Republicans, his failure to be even minimally successful with foreigners suggests that these outcomes are intentional--that he's ‘taking America down’.

But let's not reject incompetence yet.  And it's not incompetence due to lack of intelligence, but due to mind-set and psychological defects. 

Until Obama, America operated largely on trust, public assent and the rule of law.  Thus good presidents were trustworthy, supported the rule of law and worked hard to create broad support for programs they wanted to implement.  By contrast, successful despots are skilled at lying and ruthlessness.  Anyone who makes a good despot will make a bad president.  Anyone who makes a good president will be a bad despot.

Now consider the case of an ambitious mediocrity in the Oval Office who is enamored of himself.  He sees no need to support the rule of law because it's easier if he can rule by decree.  When pushing a new program, like mandatory health insurance, he would have no qualms about lying, because he "knows" his program is the best possible bill ever--and anyone who disagrees is stupid and a hater.

By his breathtaking audacity of being able to lie so smoothly, and with the crucial help of a congress dominated by his party, he would succeed in getting his programs passed into law.  Breaking all the previous conventions and rules would be praised by the adoring media as proof of his intellectual superiority, and everyone would congratulate him on his cleverness in doing whatever was necessary to get the program enacted.
 
But when this canny liar--armed with a fawning media, a congress dominated by his party and a race card good against all domestic opposition--went up against foreign tyrants who'd risen to the top without any racial trumps, he'd be out of his league.  The pros would eat his lunch, seeing through his petulance and amateurish plots in an instant.  "Lawfare" and the race card would be useless against Putin, the mullahs of Iran, the Castros, the North Koreans and similar leaders.

And the results would be exactly as we've seen.

Normal incompetence is when someone screws up and then lets other people bail him out. Suicidal incompetence comes when someone screws up and then sabotages every effort to bail him out.  Thus in the case of the Iranian nuclear "deal," Obama seems clearly to be so desperate to get some sort of agreement that he'll sacrifice anything to get one. 

Given the total scorn shown by the Iranians, and their disinterest in anything other than getting the remaining economic sanctions removed immediately, a normal person might realize he was being taken.  But the narcissistic, arrogant Obama is certain whatever he wants is the best possible outcome--and thus he is utterly incapable of pulling out of the negotiations without getting his "deal."

After the White Hut press secretary blasted Wisconsin's Scott Walker for having no foreign-policy experience, it would be very interesting if someone in the media compared Walker's experience with what Obama supposedly knew about world affairs before he was elected President.  I suspect that back in 2007 no one in Obama's inner circle had experience or any great interest in foreign affairs. Their overriding goal--understandably--was winning the presidency.  Then they'd hire anyone needed to develop a foreign policy.

And now that we see that policy, it appears to be based on Obama's belief that the U.S. and capitalism are the greatest evils in the world.

That's some really nuanced policy, jack. 

So the answer the question of whether Obama's results are due to incompetence or malice is:  It doesn't make any substantive difference to the fate of our nation.

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