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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get off the golf course and lead Barack

A colleague of mine Bryan Preston noted that the last time we got reliable numbers which was last July, President Barack Obama had spent roughly a month of his presidency playing golf as well as several weeks on vacation.
Since then, of course, he's played a lot more golf and taken a bunch more vacations. He's also, Bryan reports, complaining he's no longer anonymous, that he can't take a walk or go to the grocery store.
First, I'm not sure a man with ego enough to tell protesters in Libya "I am with you," rather than "we are with you," or "the American people are with you" is really upset by a lack of anonymity. Second, well, you knew that was part of the job when you took it bucko.
I've come to the conclusion Obama really just doesn't want the job.
Well that's not entirely accurate — he wanted the job he just doesn't want to DO the job. I'm not the first one to note Obama enjoys the trappings of the job, everyone standing when he walks in the room, the private 747 jet, the best food all of that. He doesn't, however, seem to enjoy the grinding work of the job.
No one I'm sure really does, but most presidents buckle down to do the work. George W. Bush gave up golf because he didn't feel it was appropriate to be seen playing golf while our troops were fighting for their lives. He also aged visibly within just a few months of taking office — something I have yet to see happen with Obama.
The job of president is, no joke, the most difficult job in the world. Every decision you make affects not just America but lives the world over. Nearly all of them are life and death decisions for someone.
When a president makes the decision to take military action he knows he's sending people out to die. When he makes decisions on the economy he knows there will be winners and losers which means someone is going to lose everything.
If we choose to trade with one Third World nation over another there's a good chance some child is going to do without food.
The president lives with the knowledge his decisions affect the entire world, for better or for worse. He also lives with the knowledge his mistakes have huge ramifications as well.
He has to accept that knowledge as well as understanding he's still just a man — and mistakes are inevitable.
The pressures of the job are beyond anything anyone who hasn't done the job can imagine.
I can understand Obama's wish to simply get away from the job. I have no issue with a president taking vacations or playing golf. First because he never really gets to get away from the job, he's always working. Second because the pressures would kill him if he didn't have some time away.
However, I've seen very little leadership from this president. Very little decisiveness.
The Arab League has gone to the United Nations to ask for a no-fly zone over Israel. I would hope we will veto it. Unfortunately I have no confidence we will. The Middle East is on fire. In neighboring Syria the same sorts of things are happening as happened in Libya — the president there is breaking up protests with gunfire. Instead of calling in air strikes, Hillary Clinton describes Syrian President Bashar Assad as a "reformer."
Obama struggles to make decisions, to take a position, in short — to lead.
I was taught in the Marine Corps that in a crisis it's better to make a decision and take action — even if it's the wrong action — than to do nothing.
It's a lesson Obama needs to learn.

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