Assessing Obama

This is a summary of the above audio recording of an interview with Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC's Meet The Press, on C-span critiquing  Barack Obama's first six years as President. You can also listen to the C-span interview above. The audio last about an hour. The Stranger: Barack Obama In The White House.

Mr. Todd argues that President Obama is often ineffective because he has refused to reach out to Congress and he lacks managerial skills.. Todd says the President was, and in many ways still is, a stranger to Washington and that is one reason he was so attractive to voters. As a result Washington has treated him as a stranger and it is difficult to get things done. President Obama would be proud to called a stranger to Washington since he sees it as being broken. Obama does not have an extroverted, back slapping, Bill Clinton type of personality.

Todd sums up the first six years saying we still have a divided government and Obama promised hope and change and we have as much gridlock as ever. At first Obama perceived he did not need the Republicans in Congress because the Democrats had majorities in both houses. Further he ruffled many supporters, both in and out of Washington, early when he signed an omnibus spending bill that contained over 9,000 earmarks.
The bill was sponsored by the Democrats and per Mr. Todd if he would have vetoed it he would have sent a message that he is the president of all the people, not just special interest. He campaigned on change and one of his first actions was to add pork to the federal budget.

The President tends to be a fact gathering, analytic type of guy and does not operate on emotions, Todd gives an example relating to the oil leak in the Golf of Mexico where millions of gallons poured into the Gulf. Todd indicated by all accounts the federal government was very successful in how it handled the crisis. The clean up was paid for by Exon who was responsible for the leak and the clean up was done with amazing efficiency. Yet the administration did little promoting its success. Obama is not a good promoter.

During the gulf crisis an aide spoke to the President and suggested that he should address the nation more about what its government was doing and visit the area often demonstrating his anger over what happened. Mr. Obama looked up and asked the aide how many barrels of oil would that remove from the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Obama is not a good actor and he does not do theater well.

Mr. Todd feels the President botched the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. He turned over much of the responsibility of getting the act approved in congress to Senator Reed and Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and it took too long to pass. Further he failed to get a single Republican to vote for the law. I agree the law would have been more bipartisan if he could have morphed into Bill Clinton's personality but that was not meant to be. Chuck Todd fails to mention one item that demanded the President's full time attention as soon as Obama was sworn it and as the health care debate was going on in Congress. The nations economy was in the worst downturn since the 1930's and there was a strong possibility that we would plummet into a depression. President Obama did a very good job of managing that crisis.

The above C-Span interview is worth listening too. Hindsight suggest Obama should have put Joe Biden in charge of Congressional Cuddling.


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