I joke that I was born with the “gift of rationalization.” If pressed, I can justify nearly anything – bad work, being late, being early, forgetfulness –whatever. I learned early in my life that if unchecked, that “talent” would cause me to end up either in jail or in politics – or both. I was thinking about that recently as I noticed all the things the Obama administration used to ridicule about the previous president, or the positions of other candidates, but is now following their lead.
After ruthlessly trashing John McCain’s proposal to tax health care benefits, The Wall Street Journal reported the Obama administration is pursuing the same path. After ripping congress on earmarks during the campaign, he just passed the largest boatload of earmarks in history. After criticizing Bush’s deficit, he’s now taking us to debt we never dreamed about. He tried to convince us he’s “angry” about the AIG bonuses, right after he pushed through a bailout without any restrictions on that very thing.
There’s no question that president Obama has my gift of justification. He covers all of this with very articulate explanations – what writer Peggy Noonan calls “Talkership, not leadership.” For instance, when it comes to “terrorism,” he’s leaving that word out of his vocabulary now. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano never mentions the word. Instead she calls it “man-caused disasters.” He’s also eliminated the word “enemy combatants” in favor of I have no idea what.
It makes me wonder if he has a real grasp of what’s really going on out there – particularly after FBI Director Robert Mueller recently warned of Mumbai-type terrorist acts that could happen in an American city by homegrown “radicalized and indoctrinated” groups.
I’d like to see our president focus more on real policy than articulate justification. To be a leader rather than a talker. But we have a president who’s more comfortable on Jay Leno than in a tough strategy session. In today’s media-driven culture, where celebrity means more than real achievement, talking means more than doing. In a sound bite world, we probably get what we deserve, and what we seem to have, is someone who doesn’t make decisions, he makes declarations.
It will be interesting to see where that leads.