As the nation’s political junkies dissect the recent stimulus package proposed by Congress and the historic inauguration of The One himself approaches, Weekly Standard Editor Fred Barnes asks questions that anticipate the readiness and efficacy of the upcoming Obama presidency.
Barnes’ questions do not focus on policy minutiae but rather examine the character, management style and leadership qualities of the President elect, all of which are distilled to just a few questions:
1) Does Obama know what he is talking about?
2) Will Obama be a pushover?
3) Will Obama be another Jimmy Carter on national and foreign security policy?
4) Does Obama have the “nerves” for the job?
These are questions that are explicitly or intuitively part of the process that voters use to decide any candidate’s qualifications. They are common in both the private sector and politics. For example, we can be sure that Democrat House and Senate leaders have been weighing these questions very carefully since the election. The recent $850 billion dollar wager on stimulus indicates that Congress knows who and what they are dealing with in the Executive.
Our enemies have been conducting the same analysis for many months which makes the foreign policy part of this equation much more problematic. Whereas skyrocketing crude oil prices were the cause célèbre in the summer of 2008, the plummeting prices of energy recently have made President elect Obama’s foreign policy challenges much different.
A worldwide crash in commodity prices offers welcome relief to net energy importers (us) and crisis for exporters from Iran to Russia. It’s estimated that Arab investment losses in the last several months exceed $2.5 trillion dollars. That amount of money will alter the foreign policy of any country, friend or foe.
President elect Obama is ascending to the presidency at a tumultuous moment in global politics. While his supporters cling to the “it’s all Bush’s fault” argument, we will soon see if this man is up to the job.