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Oh, no, no, no, no, no

Maybe I’m just suffering from a case of confirmation bias but Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men has confirmed everything I thought about Barack Obama and then some. Im about 2/3 through the book. Here’s a quick summary:

1.) This presidency is a study in missed opportunities. At one point, 13 bankers from Wall Street’s biggest offenders list were summoned to Washington for a face to face talk with Obama. They suspected it was just a ruse to get them all in one place before they were perp walked to face charges of financial mismanagement because that’s what *they* would have done. Nope. Obama wagged is finger at them, told them he was the only thing between them and the pitchforks and had them all practice the “we’re all in this together” team cheer before they stepped out to meet reporters. The bankers were surprised that they were never punished for anything. Tim Geithner had arranged their rescue and later, one banker said he deserved a big bonus for helping out. The next time they were summoned to Washington, they were previously engaged. They had lost their fear and Obama had lost his only hold over them.

2.) Obama was warned early on that taking on healthcare reform was a risky proposition because he wouldn’t get another shot at it. He didn’t listen. They told him to come out on the offense. He didn’t listen. They told him to have a rock solid plan before he tried it. He didn’t listen. It was a fiasco.

4.) He has no managerial skills. No, really, he just doesn’t know how to force the integration of ideas that he proclaims to want. People do what they want. Some advisors act like spoiled children. Others don’t do what he tells them to do. And he ignores his female staff. He doesn’t just act like a guy. He acts like they don’t exist. He doesn’t call on them at high profile meetings and treats them like they’re part of the furniture.

5.) About that “integration” thing? It’s like a concept a freshman undergrad gets after a philosophy class. It’s like a light bulb went off in his brain and for awhile, guys who really should have known better, were attracted to it like moths to a flame. But he has no idea how to implement it or even what it means exactly. I get the feeling that some former Obama staffers now treat his inspirations with contempt.

6.) He has an “Oh, wow, I’m president! Somebody pinch me.” attitude about his presidency. It must be heady stuff. He has reached his final goal. And he attributes it in large part to what he is, Barack Obama, the first African American president and son of a dude from Kenya. That right there will be his passport to success. Anything is possible because he is a vessel for the hopes and dreams of so many. Follow through? What about it? Isn’t that what staff are for?

7.). Somewhere in a penthouse in Manhattan, there is a Dabney Colemanesque character, a shriveled, white haired king maker who gave the go ahead when his lieutenant Robert Wolf told him that Obama was a good mark. Naive, pliable, in love with himself and ruthlessly ambitious.

In short, Obama reminds me of the worst of the CEOs who run big pharma. The company has big problems. It hires some guy with connections and a cool demeanor. The MBAs get to work rearranging the deck chairs. The rank and file learn to suck up. And research makes the sacrifices. When the whole scheme doesn’t work out, they do another deck chair rearrangement and research makes some more sacrifices. After four years, the board thanks the guy with the executive hair and hires a new one. The cycle repeats.

Real change takes courage and some sense of where you want to go. It also requires an ability to think 6 moves ahead. Obama fails in every respect. He has no clue. In a sense, I feel sorry for him. He’s so not cut out for this job at this time. But he’s in the oval office because guys like Suskind himself were dazzled by their own confirmation bias. His speeches must be inspiring because Obama was hired to be inspiring. He must be brilliant or what the f#%^ is he doing in the White House?

Give the guy a break and get him out of there.

27 Responses

  1. told them he was the only thing between them and the pitchforks

    Sounds like a mobster kingpin.

  2. He has no managerial skills. No, really, he just doesn’t know how to force the integration of ideas that he proclaims to want.

    No, no, no!

    He’s a Jedi master of politics. He has mad skillz at bringing people together. He plays eleventy-dimensional checkers.


  3. good post R.D. will be waiting for more. 🙂

  4. Thanks from those of us who haven’t seen the book yet.

    What happened to #3?

    • Read #1 again. You must never forget that Obama let the bankers get away with all that fraud.

    • People like Tom Daschell and Peter Orszag advised him to take on providers and go for cost containment. Pelosi, who Comes out of this looking pretty good, wanted a public option. He drifted. He did not lead. And he doesn’t have enough knowledge of government or the legislative process to see any plan through. In the end, he decided to go hard against the insurance industry even though that industry’s representative was ready to cut a deal.
      Timing is everything in DC and because he didn’t have a well thought out plan that he was willing to get behind and push for, Max Baucus’ committee came under intense scrutiny by Republicans who seized the opportunity to shape the bill in their favor.
      It was a disaster that cost him precious political capital.
      Right now, Obama is a sitting duck. It will not get better in his second term. The Republicans have his number and know that he does not know who to hire to do the work that needs to be done. He hired guys who know how to schmooze whose entire job seemed to consist of protecting their own access.
      It’s really awful.

      • Pelosi wanted a Public Option? Like she wanted impeachment?

        • Yup, believe it or not, she really is a lefty liberal hippy type. That’s probably why Obama ignored her even as she raked him over the coals.

      • For health care all Obama had to do was announce that since unemployment was high and folks were going bankrupt to pay medical bills he would expand the eligibility for CHIPs and Medicaid/care until the economy was on sound footing again.

        Sure, the republicans would have all gone on Faux Spews and cried “Socialism” and the AM jabberwockeys would have called him a Commie, but Joe and Jane Sixpack would have seen them for the scum they are.

        The thing is Obama wanted to shove HCR in Bill and Hillary’s faces but was too lazy to do any of the heavy lifting. Like her plan or not, remember how Hillary labored over that proposal at the beginning of the Clinton administration?

  5. I don’t know that I’ll read the Suskind book because it seems to confirm who Obama was back in 2007 when I looked at his background. I can’t blame the empty suit for wanting to be king if the throne is handed to him on a silver platter. I put the blame on the superdelegates, and all of them need to get their ass kicked out of Washington.

  6. You knew it was coming….CNN has a feature up about discrimination in the White House…..initially. And guess who saved the day for all of us female-types? “When told of the women’s concerns, President Barack Obama convened a dinner with the female staff and took steps to make the atmosphere more inclusive and empowering.”

    A fucking dinner. Kind of like Valerie Jarrett arranging ladies-only events on breast feeding. Give me a break.

    • Um, the dinner didn’t really help. He just stuck a band-aid on the problem.
      I still contend that there needs to be a thorough investigation and the data needs to be analyzed. That, IMHO, is the only way to prevent the he said/she said problem. Guys seem to respect data. If they can see the numbers, they can’t wiggle out of it. Women wouldn’t come off as whiny if they can show the numbers.
      Remember that the women who are making these allegations came of age during the 70s. They are in obama’s age cohort. They did not study and work side by side with men to gain their level of expertise to be sidelined by a bunch of dudes. They have a right to get to the bottom of this. I might mention that the White House is hardly the only place where men have been behaving this way. It is rampant bad behavior in corporate America including research labs. I have witnessed it personally. It’s particularly bad in the international company I worked for especially in the areas where men are a greater percentage of the department, like scientific computing and data management. They are VERY hostile to women. Embarrassingly so, but they are hardly the only offenders. I’m still amazed at how they manage to get away with it. But I think any well motivated HR department could get to the bottom if it by asking the right questions of the data.

      • I agree, RD – I came of age in the 60’s and I lived through this kind of shit day in and day out through a 25 year “career” in NYC.

        It breaks my heart to see that the efforts I thought I was making to change things for – you and my daughter and all future generations of women – have gone no where, absolutely no where.

        But for Obama to throw a dinner and have the MSM say he stepped in to correct the problem is laughable. Another leadership opportunity lost. But then, I never expected anything else.

    • yup, I wonder if they were served on pink plates with doilies.

  7. I feel sorry for the rest of us who are being thoroughly boned by Obama and his Wall Street/Corporate cronies.

    Remember how some wag came up with, “If Candidate Obama were white, he’d be John Edwards”?

    Today it would be Warren G. Harding, they belong to the same party.

  8. Give the guy a break and get him out of there.

    Taking the mound for the Washington Presidents, number 45 Hillary Clinton, relieving number 44 Barack Obama.

  9. I watched Ron Suskind on Bill Maher Friday night. It made me want to puke. Not to worry. Obama has it figured out now. It was a little love fest from the biggest sexist on TV, Bill Maher. Both Ron S and Bill M. proclaimed with such vigor that Obama has his groove back because he has learned from his mistakes. Barf, barf, barf! No mention of all his serious mistakes just recently. Things are getting much worse and the only thing getting better is Obama’s golf game. Now watch this drive….

  10. I now suspect that Obama is/was a gang banker frontman from the very start and some of these stories are just diversionary excuses to advance the “Obama is weak and inexperienced” narrative. I prefer the “evil class enemy” narrative at this point.

    Matt Stoller wrote a good guest post about this at Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism. He offered convincing evidence that Obama’s presidency is based on “fooling liberals” into thinking that Obama would somehow be on their side if he just “grew a spine” or something.
    This is how Obama keeps stringing the liberals and even some progressives along in their desperate support of what is an Upper Class Aggression presidency. Here is the link.\

  11. So the book tells us that Obama’s first two years have been a disaster. Most of us knew that already.

    • Look in the archives on this site. We predicted it (over and over again). We 18 million are the best and the brightest this nation has to offer, yet the fools continue to ignore us.

  12. RD, thanks and kudos for all the summarizing and analysis of the Suskind book. You certainly know how to get down to the nitty gritty. Off topic, but I saw this link from one of the pages you linked to and, as a fellow Garden Stater, was curious what you think about Christie’s chances. I would hope he doesn’t stand a chance after taking on the teachers but for some reason I don’t understand, “big money” is courting him.

    Kean Confirms Christie Mulling Bid
    Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean (R), who has known Chris Christie since he was a teenager, tells National Review that the governor is “very seriously” considering a presidential bid.

    Said Kean: “It’s real. He’s giving it a lot of thought. I think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago.”

    He added: “More and more people are talking to him. He’s getting appeals from major figures around the country. He is the best speaker I may have ever heard in politics.”

    Meanwhile, TPM looks at the “big money” trying to encourage Christie to run.

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