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More are Questioning if Obama is in Over His Head

I'm continually amazed by the people who supported Obama. There were some brilliant men and women who were convinced he was going to swoop in and by his mere presence alter for the better Washington and by extension America. Of course those of us who knew Barack Obama by his past actions and not by his campaign sloganeering knew he was a man who had been marinated in leftist ideology since his childhood and put that ideology to work as an Illinois state senator, an education board director, and a US senator. Still, very smart people such as Warren Buffett supported Barack Obama in spite of this, convinced he was a centrist and a moderate. Buffett's support was very important in getting Barack Obama elected but now that Buffett sees that he has unwittingly, as Ed Morrissey notes, supported Nero, Buffett is trying to give Obama advice in the hopes he finally takes it. If Obama fails to turn around the economy and instead sends us spiraling into a depression, how will the brilliant investment genius look then? How many Americans voted for Obama despite of some misgivings because brilliant men like Warren Buffett endorsed him?

BUFFETT: ...And, Joe, it--if you're in a war, and we really are on an economic war, there's a obligation to the majority to behave in ways that don't go around inflaming the minority. If on December 8th when--maybe it's December 7th, when Roosevelt convened Congress to have a vote on the war, he didn't say, `I'm throwing in about 10 of my pet projects ... [snip] ...

JOE: Yeah, but you might--might not have fixed...

BUFFETT: But I say...

JOE: You might not--you might not have fixed global warming the day after--the day after D-Day, Warren.

BUFFETT: Absolutely. And I think that the--I think that the Republicans have an obligation to regard this as an economic war and to realize you need one leader and, in general, support of that. But I think that the--I think that the Democrats--and I voted for Obama and I strongly support him, and I think he's the right guy--but I think they should not use this--when they're calling for unity on a question this important, they should not use it to roll the Republicans all.

JOE: Hm.

BUFFETT: I think--I think a lot of things should be--job one is to win the war, job--the economic war, job two is to win the economic war, and job three. And you can't expect people to unite behind you if you're trying to jam a whole bunch of things down their throat. So I would--I would absolutely say for the--for the interim, till we get this one solved, I would not be pushing a lot of things that are--you know are contentious, and I also--I also would do no finger-pointing whatsoever. I would--you know, I would not say, you know, `George'--`the previous administration got us into this.' Forget it. I mean, you know, the Navy made a mistake at Pearl Harbor and had too many ships there. But the idea that we'd spend our time after that, you know, pointing fingers at the Navy, we needed the Navy. So I would--I would--I would--no finger-pointing, no vengeance, none of that stuff. Just look forward. ..[snip] ...

BUFFETT: Well, I was going to mention to Joe that you've heard this comment recently from some Democrats recently that a `crisis is a terrible thing to waste.'

BECKY: Yeah.

BUFFETT: Now, just rephrase that and since it's, in my view, it's an economic war, and--I don't think anybody on December 7th would have said a `war is a terrible thing to waste, and therefore we're going to try and ram through a whole bunch of things and--but we expect to--expect the other party to unite behind us on the--on the big problem.' It's just a mistake, I think, when you've got one overriding objective, to try and muddle it up with a bunch of other thing

Barack Obama brought Warren Buffett into his Transition Economic Advisory Board, created after he won the election last November and that met on November 7th. That Buffett has come out to publicly to criticize Obama's handling of the economy means that whatever advice Buffett gave Obama, Obama hasn't followed.

Today Howard Fineman tells us in amazingly blunt fashion that the Washington establishment is concerned Obama "doesn't have what it takes." You've heard some in the media pose the question, "has he taken on too much too soon?" What they are actually asking is this: "is he unfocused, undisciplined, and too concerned with covering all his constituency bases instead of focusing only on what is of great import right now - the economy?" So it seems:

They have some reasons to be concerned. I trace them to a central trait of the president's character: he's not really an in-your-face guy. By recent standards--and that includes Bill Clinton as well as George Bush--Obama for the most part is seeking to govern from the left, looking to solidify and rely on his own party more than woo Republicans. And yet he is by temperament judicious, even judicial. He'd have made a fine judge. But we don't need a judge. We need a blunt-spoken coach.

Obama may be mistaking motion for progress, calling signals for a game plan. A busy, industrious overachiever, he likes to check off boxes on a long to-do list. A genial, amenable guy, he likes to appeal to every constituency, or at least not write off any. A beau ideal of Harvard Law, he can't wait to tackle extra-credit answers on the exam.

But there is only one question on this great test of American fate: can he lead us away from plunging into another Depression?

If the establishment still has power, it is a three-sided force, churning from inside the Beltway, from Manhattan-based media and from what remains of corporate America. Much of what they are saying is contradictory, but all of it is focused on the president

From there Fineman lists all the concerns the Washington Establishment has right now, and it's a long one.

Is any of this a surprise to any of us who paid attention? No. To those of us who realized early on that Obama was shockingly inexperienced, this is not a surprise. Actually the only surprise to us is that he's floundering so quickly. I for one thought for sure we wouldn't see how incompetent the man was for at least 6 months.

Unlike his other positions in the Illinois senate and the US senate, there is no other job above President of the United States, so he's pretty well stuck. He's going to have to do what he has never done before: make decisions that will provide visible, positive results, and much to many of Obama's Washington establishment supporters' dismay, it's not working out so well.


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Comments (29)

Obama helped spend over $10... (Below threshold)
hermie:

Obama helped spend over $100 million of Annenberg Challenge money, and not one dime actually improved education in Chicago. That told lots about Obama's qualifications to handle money.

One of the worst things abo... (Below threshold)

One of the worst things about being in a job for which you are completely unprepared and unqualified is that you are utterly at the mercy of the people you surround yourself with who you then count on...and when you are a terrible judge of character (by the standards of most Americans) well, you can see where I'm going with this. Take this transcript excerpt from his first big signing, the one with the Gitmo closing (note the painful parroting - I wonder if they wrote 'Teleprompter' on Craig's forehead), he seems to have no clue what's going on beyond reading the text of the orders (which is what I ellipsed out) and then asking Craig what to say or what it means:
==

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ... we then provide the process whereby Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.

We will do -- is there a separate executive order, Greg, with respect to how we're going to dispose of the detainees? Is that written?

GREGORY B. CRAIG (White House counsel): (Off mike) -- set up a process -- (off mike).

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We will be setting up a process whereby this is going to be taking place.

...

PRESIDENT OBAMA: What we're doing here is to set up a special interagency task force on detainee disposition...So this task force is going to provide us with a -- a series of recommendations on that.

Is that correct, Greg?

MR. CRAIG: That's right. And detainee policy going forward.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And detainee policy going forward, so that we -- we don't find ourselves in these kinds of situations in the future.

MR. CRAIG: And we have clear guidance for our military as well as -- (off mike).

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And that we are providing clear guidance to our military in terms of how to deal with it.

--
And people think he can micromanage a multi-trillion dollar economy?

Kim, why should anybody sud... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Kim, why should anybody suddenly give a shit about what the Washington establishment thinks about anything, perhaps other than the Washington cocktail party circuit?

Why should we care? Becaus... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Why should we care? Because these are the people who supported Teh Messiah most fervently. The ones who told us his inexperience and voting record didn't matter. So, even though we're ALL screwed, it's still kinda nice to see these dumbasses finally wake up and see what they've done.

Hyperbolist,Any one ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Hyperbolist,
Any one of us may not like the Washington "establishment" at any particular time. But I don't know how an administration accomplishes its objective without support of the so-called establishment. Two edged sword here. You seem to approve of Obama creating a greater intrusion of government in our lives which leads to a centralization of power in Washington. So now because it's inconvenient for you we must ignore that establishment. I don't follow the logic.

Obama is not only an empty ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Obama is not only an empty suit, he is a cheap suit. He has no experience leading, changing anything of consequence yet the left went ga ga over him because Oprah said he was great. So, Oprah is the democratic leader. She annoints and then it happens.

I hope and hope that the lefties finally see that they were taken in by the glitz.

Of course the Washington elite and establishment are two separate but equal brokers. I am sure Hyper and the rest of the lefties will fully support a conservative CIA agent or other entity who comes out against some of the programs Obama trys to put in under the radar.

I grew up during the Cold War, but I never feared for my country as I do now. This is out of control government lead by a guy who cannot say a thing unless it is written for him and projected on a teleprompter. ww

Good post. Fineman's more o... (Below threshold)
RB:

Good post. Fineman's more or less on target, but what makes him think that Obama would have made "a fine judge"??? Based on what?

Sounds like Buffet is suffe... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Sounds like Buffet is suffering from denial as well as buyers remorse. Wonder how much longer Ol' Warren will tolerate this idiot before he blows his stack and realizes he's BEEN HAD?

While its certainly comfort... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

While its certainly comforting to be able say "I told you so" to all of the hope and changers out there in Ohmygodhereallyisasocialist land, we're still stuck with President Overwhelmed for the next 4 years.

Falze:And peopl... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Falze:

And people think he can micromanage a multi-trillion dollar economy?

That's what we've got - a micromanager in the White House. What's even worse, he's a micromanager with no managment experience, dealing in finance, with no financial expertise!

God help us - it's going to be an INCREDIBLE fail...

You can see it coming, just like a Youtube of a guy on a skateboard, heading for a rail - you KNOW what's going to happen. And still you watch, and wince, and chuckle... because YOU wouldn't be so stupid.

Damn shame we're ALL going to be taking the rail in the nuts!

And what you have to keep i... (Below threshold)

And what you have to keep in mind as he's trying to micromanage the multi-trillion dollar economy is that he's also planning on recreating and micromanaging health care, reforming the military, fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and probably Pakistan, trying terrorists, finding judges to nominate, micromanaging the 2010 census (the parts he doesn't sub out to ACORN), aborting babies around the world, stopping global warming (admittedly this one will be easy since it stopped about a decade ago), rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, opening diplomatic relations with terrorist and repressive regimes, operating our banks, reforming our mortgages, reforming government, shutting down conservative talk radio, attacking entertainers (like Rush Limbaugh and making fat jokes about female celebrities), going through budgets line by line, and, in his spare time, replacing fossil fuels with alternative sources of energy that currently supply a whopping 7% of our energy. Did I leave anything out? Oh, and printing money day and night to pay for it all. Plus he has to start really campaigning for 2012 pretty soon, not that he's really stopped, yet.

No wonder Buffett is telling him to wake up and smell the coffee and worry about the most important issue before everything gets flushed.

Just wait until the rest of... (Below threshold)

Just wait until the rest of the country realizes that Obama is an intellectual lightweight and His approval rating sinks to the mid 40% range or lower. That is when it will get interesting.

In the midst of extensive economic damage, Obama and the Democrats will fall back on their usual methodology - blaming others. Many in his own party are now jockeying to be the first on record to say that the incredible spending and borrowing will ruin the economy. It will take a conservative several yeas to fix.

Good post. Fineman... (Below threshold)
Good post. Fineman's more or less on target, but what makes him think that Obama would have made "a fine judge"??? Based on what?

Temperament. And I think I agree with Fineman here, or at least this far: Obama's temperament makes him more suited to be a judge rather than an executive. True, I would probably agree very little with any of his judicial decisions, but at least that would be a job he could do, rather than the one he has now, at which he is proving to be monumentally incompetent.

So now because it'... (Below threshold)
So now because it's inconvenient for you we must ignore that establishment. I don't follow the logic.

You weren't meant to. Hyper's comment was not an attempt to engage the issue. It was, rather, an attempt to change the subject. I think that even Obama's most partisan supporters, such as hyper, are starting to see that their candidate's continuous stream of screw-ups is reflecting badly on him, as well as them, particularly since they've spent the last eight years calling the previous president "stupid". So seeing that Obama is not defensible, and unwilling to admit to themselves the obvious fact of his monumental incompetence thus far, they respond by engaging a diversionary attack somewhere else, in this case, by a snarky mimicking of a conservative argument.

Which, at this point, is all they've got.

hyper - "Kim, why shoul... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "Kim, why should anybody suddenly give a shit about what the Washington establishment thinks about anything, perhaps other than the Washington cocktail party circuit?

Maybe because that's the way the system has been corrupted for decades?

Lobbists, other "power brokers" and various and sundry other individuals all hold enough power to get their voice heard within the Beltway.

If you fail to see it, or understand it, I'd suggest you hang around Ottawa for a while. They have the same problem.

I don't even think Obama is... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I don't even think Obama is an intellectual lightweight. He is just a lightweight. I have no idea why people think he is intellectually curious. There is no example from his past that even comes close to it. By the way he shows off the parties and flying air force one, he is like a southerner going to NYC for the first time. ww

he is like a south... (Below threshold)
he is like a southerner going to NYC for the first time.

Hey!

Wait just a minute now.

Don't you dare go comparing Obie to us southerners.

I don't know why anyone exp... (Below threshold)
Aubrey:

I don't know why anyone expects Obama to try to do anything about the economy. He has no background at all in this area, and hardly any expertise among his advisors. If his Treasury Secretery continues to come up empty, he will have to be replaced and that will take time. And since he views the financial crisis as cover for his real objectives, energy and so forth, why try to solve it, in fact, why not let it just rock along?

And the rest of the cut seg... (Below threshold)
jmc:

And the rest of the cut segment.

Buffet: So, I think -- I think that the minority has -- they really do have an obligation to support things that in general are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way. And I don't think you should -- I don't think before D-Day on June -- on June 5th you ought to have -- or June 1st maybe -- have a congressional hearing and have 535 people give their opinion about where the troops should land and, you know, what the weather should be and how many troops should land and all of that. And I think after June 6th, you don't -- you don't have another hearing that says, "Gee, if we'd just landed, you know" --
And your excerpt changes ex... (Below threshold)
marc:

And your excerpt changes exactly what jmc?

Warren Buffett point is barack hussein obama's emphasis should be on the economy, FIRST, not his larger agenda of health care, Card Check legislation, pork barrel spending, etc... etc.

Nothing your quoted changed that thought.

But you knew that didn't you? It was just of more importance to yell, "hey look over there!!!"

I'd like to add my two cent... (Below threshold)
w:

I'd like to add my two cents if I may. First, Buffet is for Buffet. He loves great bargains and monopolies. When he (and Soros I might add) started buying Democrats they were a bargain...And they stay bought!
Look how the new President is pooping all over his electoral supporters in favor of his financial ones. He's just paying back (or off if you prefer) the one's he needs to now so his supporters will "willfully forget" all this by 2010.
Bigger picture, we have to get past this whole Democrat-Republican illusory and also false duality. It's become apparent more and more each year by both parties actions and deeds that it's now them-versus-us. Maybe it's always been that way and I just never knew it. I do know if a comet were to wipe-out Washington tomorrow it wouldn't matter one lick to the rest of us, except maybe to the reporters. We'd manage just fine without them.

Nothing your quot... (Below threshold)
jmc:
Nothing your quoted changed that thought.

And? I just find it funny you ignore the critique of obstructionist republicans also in that message.

I'm starting to think that ... (Below threshold)
rachel:

I'm starting to think that Buffet is alot luckier than he is bright. Shrewd maybe, but not very smart.

Buffet: So, I thin... (Below threshold)
Buffet: So, I think -- I think that the minority has -- they really do have an obligation to support things that in general are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way. And I don't think you should -- I don't think before D-Day on June -- on June 5th you ought to have -- or June 1st maybe -- have a congressional hearing and have 535 people give their opinion about where the troops should land and, you know, what the weather should be and how many troops should land and all of that. And I think after June 6th, you don't -- you don't have another hearing that says, "Gee, if we'd just landed, you know" --

Too bad Mr. Buffett didn't say this way back when Bush was in the White House, literally fighting two wars, while being bashed over the head, day after day after day after day.

More are Questioning if ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

More are Questioning if Obama is in Over His Head

BUFFETT: ... I voted for Obama and I strongly support him, and I think he's the right guy

In other words, another chalk up another false headline for Kim.

What are you talking about,... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

What are you talking about, Ashley Todd? I mean... Brian?

I'm amazed that someone lik... (Below threshold)
TOhio:

I'm amazed that someone like Warren Buffet who is known for his detailed analysis of companies could have been duped so easily by Obama. It didn't take much digging to see that Obama is a radical leftist who hates capitalism and has no experience successfully running anything.

In fact, I bet you that Buffet wouldn't have even hired Obama to run one of his Berkshire Hathaway companies! Yet Buffet was willing to support Obama running the entire United States.

As far as I'm concerned, this whole thing really looks bad for Warren Buffet. Unless things change, Buffet is going to go down in history as the capitalist who helped elect the man who brought down capitalism and ruined the United States. Buffet's name will go down in infamy.

For this reason, I believe that Warren Buffet, Jim Cramer, Andy Grove and Jack Welch (all businesspeople who supported Obama but have come out recently criticizing his policies) are banding with other people to stop Obama. We're only hearing snippets of it in the news. The real stuff is going on behind-the-scenes because now they are seeing the truth and these people aren't going to lose everything and go down the tubes for this Socialist.

Obama underestimated the power of these big money capitalists to turn against him so soon. This may be part of the reason why he was trying to move so quickly.

I welcome them to the fight. Maybe next time (if there is one), they'll use the same rigorous analysis for political candidates that they use for companies that they put their money into.

One needs to hav a head in ... (Below threshold)
Jack:

One needs to hav a head in order to be in over it.

The Obama is a brain-dead self-aggrandizing thug gangsta machine.

The Daily Mail published an... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

The Daily Mail published an article stating that Obama was "overwhelmed" by the Presidency and was too tired to "even fake" caring a bout foreign policy as a reason for Obama blowing off Brown.

Why isn't anyone covering that?




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