Saturday, October 10, 2009

Absent At The Top

By virtue of a '60 Minutes' interview on CBS two weeks ago, we now know that our top General in Afghanistan had previously only talked to the President "once" in the last 70 days. At the same time, the Treasury Department has hired only 1/3 of its politically-appointed staff. That means that just 11 out of 33 critical staff positions have been filled.

In poll after poll, the economy is the top concern for most Americans these days. Yet, we have a sorely understaffed Treasury Department. At the same time, we have two major wars at our feet and Obama can't find the time to get even monthly briefings from his top generals in the field.

Meanwhile, Obama was off to Copenhagen to push the Olympics bid for Chicago in 2016. Before, that he prepared and delivered more speeches than he has had days in office. On top of that, he's given numerous interviews and held dozens of campaign style meetings and presentations.

I personally think that Obama has a serious prioritization problem and lacks the true ability to manage. If you listen to him in any one of his near-300 speeches that he has given since being in office, one might conclude that he is intimately involved with all the stuff that this government is working on. That's because you will always here the words "I, me and my" when he talks about anything. Yet, in reality, there's more "they" than "he" in any effort to get things done. Instead of a leader, we seem to have an "ad man" that is willing to give a speech, at the mere drop of a hat, to promote some legislation that he neither fully understands or even had any input into. We know this because he is constantly getting trapped in so many "you lie" situations; especially when it comes to health care reform.

As the "CEO" of America, he is looking like a failure. Almost every promise of his campaign is floundering. The economy is floundering and health care is getting closer and closer to a "DNR" (Do Not Resuscitate) order. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are looking more like horses being ridden by a headless horsemen. And, on the world stage, Obama's apologetic, prostrate attitude has shown our enemies that he is weak; not powerful.

Bill Clinton might claim that there is some "vast right wing conspiracy" that is responsible for Obama's problems. But, the reality is that no one but Obama is responsible for his problems.

When it comes to Obama's failings, three old sayings come to mind: (1) "A jack of all trades and a master of none!" (2) "Talk is Cheap!" and (3) "Actions speak louder than words!"

Only the best of the world's managers have the ability to juggle as much as this President is trying to juggle and actually be able get any one of those things done properly. Obama would have been much better off in just focusing on the economy as priority one and setting all the other distractions, such as the closure of Gitmo and health care reform, aside. When he came to office he had no management credentials and that lack of skills is glaringly obvious.

If Obama was in business he would have never gotten the job as the top guy in anything but the mailroom. And, maybe not even that. In my years of working for and with a multitude of managers, Obama reflects the worst of those managers. He's the guy that over commits his staff and never gets anything done right. And, usually, those people are gone in short order. Sadly, we will have to wait until the 2012 election to fire this guy from his job.

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