Those of us who, in 2008, were gravely concerned about the possibility that Barack Obama would be elected president, presented many reasons for that concern. Near the top of the list was Obama's complete lack of executive experience. I suppose that could have been forgiven, if this president, once elected, had been a quick study, learning from successful chief executives in both the public and private sector, and adopting their approach. He did not.
Obama is nothing, if not full of himself. As a consequence, he decided that he already had the ability to manage people and didn't need any help. He did.
Kimberly Strassel comments:
Of all the reputations Barack Obama has built over these years, the one that may figure most into his struggling presidency is the one that has received the least attention: He is a lousy boss. Every administration has its share of power struggles, dysfunction and churn. Rarely, if ever, has there been one that has driven more competent people from its orbit—or chewed up more professional reputations.The problem is that Obama's inner circle (and the president himself) thinks they're the smartest people in the room. If the administration's failed domestic agenda and disastrous foreign policy are any indication, they are not.
The focus this week is on Chuck Hagel, and the difficulty the White House is having finding the next secretary of defense. The charitable explanation is that lame-duck executives always have a challenge finding a short-termer to mop up the end of a presidency. The more honest appraisal came from a former Defense official who told Politico that Michèle Flournoy—a leading contender who removed herself from consideration—didn’t “want to be a doormat” in an administration that likes its failed foreign policy, and is keeping it.
“Doormat” has been the job description for pretty much every Obama employee. The president bragged in 2008 that he would assemble in his cabinet a “Team of Rivals.” What he failed to explain to any of the poor saps is that they’d be window dressing for a Team of Select Brilliant Political Types Who Already Had All the Answers: namely, himself and the Valerie Jarretts and David Axelrods of the White House.
Strassel is merciless, when she writes:
Who would want to work for a boss who micromanages everything but takes no responsibility when things don’t work out? This president’s playbook for controversy: Deny knowledge, blame subordinates. Mr. Obama fails to recognize the threat of ISIS; it’s the fault of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The administration cancels White House tours to ratchet up the pain of the sequester, then blames the Secret Service for the uproar. The ObamaCare website fails; Mr. Obama faults the Department of Health and Human Services (run then by Kathleen Sebelius ) for not telling him of the problem. Veterans Affairs wilts under the scandal of waiting lists; the president claims he read about it in the news.Lacking any ability to manage the B.I.G. (big intrusive government) that he has worked so hard to expand, I cringe as I think about the next two years.The true problem is that as the latest "doormat" leaves the administration and the next unnamed person gets ready to enter, we're left not with a "Team of Rivals," but rather, a Team of 2s trending toward a Team of 1s.
Who would want to work for a boss whose experiments in big government all but guarantee their reputation will be ruined in the aftermath of a bureaucratic collapse? Ms. Sebelius was once the governor of Kansas. She will be remembered as the woman who oversaw the most disastrous government rollout in history. Steven Miller will always be the guy who was running the IRS when the targeting scandal broke. Eric Shinseki was awarded three bronze stars and two purple hearts in Vietnam. He’ll be remembered for the waiting list coverup at Veterans Affairs, an agency that is the model for ObamaCare.
And who wants to work for a boss who doesn’t have your back? In addition to the above, don’t forget David Petraeus , whose softening up at the hands of Mr. Obama’s antiwar left made his continued brief tenure as CIA director unthinkable in the wake of revelations of an extramarital affair. Or Keith Alexander, the former National Security Agency director, who was left alone to defend against the outrage over Mr. Obama’s surveillance policies. As Mr. Hagel was kicked to the curb this week, an anonymous White House campaign heaped the administration’s foreign-policy failures on the departing Republican.