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Obama is a stranger to leadership, not "adversity"

In HughS's previous post on the impending crackup of the Obama Administration, he quotes Roger Simon who observes, "Barack Obama has never had to deal with any personal adversity in his adult life."

That's not entirely true, and what is most revealing about Barack Obama is how he has handled past challenges and failures.

Barack Obama failed as a community organizer. After spending three years in the Altgeld Gardens community in Chicago, with only a handful of victories to show for his organizing efforts, Obama pulled out of community organizing and entered Harvard Law School in 1988, eventually becoming President of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 and earning his law degree in 1991.

After becoming not just the President, but the first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review, a literary agent named Jane Dystel contacted Obama after reading a favorable piece about him in the New York Times. Dystel convinced Simon and Schuster to advance Obama $125,000 in exchange for what Dystel promised would be a fascinating memoir about a young mixed race boy who beat the odds and became one of the Ivy League's bright lights. After working for several years, Obama utterly failed to produce anything resembling an acceptable manuscript, and his contract was cancelled. Yet just a few years later (and coincident with the beginning of a very close relationship with Bill Ayers, who is also an accomplished author) Obama managed to produce the astoundingly good memoir "Dreams of My Father."

Obama formally entered politics in 1996, running for the Illinois State Senate. With the help of powerful allies in the Chicago political machine, he employed the extremely clever tactic of challenging the validity of signatures on the petitions that placed his three challengers on the ballot:

As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.

The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.

Obama easily won that election. But when he challenged incumbent Bobby Rush for his seat in the US House of Representatives in 2000, Obama suffered an embarrassing defeat. Obama's Harvard-bred "golden boy" image was successfully used against him by Rush, whose campaign portrayed Obama as "the white man in blackface in our community."

After his defeat by Bobby Rush, Obama worked very hard to reconnect with the mostly Black residents of the poor Chicago neighborhoods that he represented in the Illinois State Senate. Much of his rehabilitation came about as a result of his renewed involvement with Trinity United Church of Christ and its powerful leader, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

In 2002, Democrats won control of the Illinois legislature, and the new Senate Majority leader, Emil Jones, took a liking to Obama:

Republicans controlled the Illinois General Assembly for six years of Obama's seven-year tenure. Each session, Obama backed legislation that went nowhere; bill after bill died in committee. During those six years, Obama, too, would have had difficulty naming any legislative ­achievements.

... Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, [Emil] Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city's most popular black call-in radio ­program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

"He said, 'Cliff, I'm gonna make me a U.S. Senator.'"

"Oh, you are? Who might that be?"

"Barack Obama."

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

"I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen," State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. "Barack didn't have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

"I don't consider it bill jacking," Hendon told me. "But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law -- including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics -- and he couldn't have done it without Jones.

And there you have it. Barack Obama has routinely dealt with adversity in one of two ways: 1) by dropping out and refocusing his efforts on endeavors where he had already achieved a track record of success, or 2) surrounding himself with "guardian angels" who could do most of the heavy lifting for him, thereby enabling him to easily achieve one level of success after another.

What Barack Obama obviously, sorely, lacks is meaningful experience as a leader. As much as a dislike Bill Clinton, I have no problem acknowledging what made him an effective President. During his twelve years as governor of Arkansas, Clinton learned the art of negotiation and compromise. Clinton was a shrewd politician and worked steadily to keep as much political power as he could -- witness his continued attacks (with the aid of the mainstream press) against Newt Gingrich. Yet when it came to government policies, Clinton more often than not followed the lead of the Republican-controlled Congress. His willingness to work with Republicans angered the far Left, but probably contributed more than anything to his re-election in 1996.

In contrast, Barack Obama still appears to be an over-educated ideologue, firmly convinced that he and his acolytes know far better than the great unwashed masses what is best for us. After the defeat of Marsha Martha Coakley in "Massachusettes" earlier this week, President Obama told George Stephanopolous, "...I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values."

Notice the language: "speaking directly to the American people," not "listening to the American people." Even now, Obama appears anxious to enact new programs designed to punish the banking industry at a time when economic recession has already forced lending down to all-time lows -- a sad example of misguided populism that could only be dreamed up by elites who have spent most of their working years insulated from reality behind ivy-covered stone walls, analyzing problems instead of actually solving them.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama's tried and true technique for solving problems seems to be picking up the phone and looking for someone to do a favor for him. He has little experience negotiating, and seems to have only paid attention to others when he was interested in using their advice to improve his political fortunes. Leaders who do not listen do not know how to lead. And leaders who do not know how to lead are usually very quickly replaced.


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Comments (34)

It's not that he surrounds ... (Below threshold)
Poole:

It's not that he surrounds himself with "guardian angels", which implies decision, planning and action on his part, but that the "guardian angels" flock to him in a time of need.

It has been reported that he had help in getting into Harvard Law, he was picked to be on Law Review and subsequently its editor, he was helped in the writing of his book, he was helped by being given so many bills to sponsor in the state legislature, he was twice helped by the press that used legal action to gain access to sealed court records.

I am sure that there are many more examples that have been omitted.

The people who have always helped him in the past have been people of power. They extended a helping hand to pull him up. He is now the President of the United States - who is more powerful than the President? Who remains to help pull him up once more?

Affirmative Action presiden... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Affirmative Action president.

Gee, where were all the MSM stories like this back when they should have been vetting him during the election?

Good article, Michael.

So Obama went to Ohio yeste... (Below threshold)
kathie:

So Obama went to Ohio yesterday to talk to the people.

What struck me is that he didn't use a teleprompter, he spoke from notes, I suspect the notes were topics he wanted to cover, not full sentences.

Did anyone hear the guy.....I'm thinking George Bush sounded terrific compared to the slip into slang, dialect of the day, fumbling, bumbling Obama. I guess he thinks getting down to the level of "street" is talking to the people.

" His willingness to work w... (Below threshold)
retired military:

" His willingness to work with Republicans angered the far Left, but probably contributed more than anything to his re-election in 1996.
"

I think that honor goes to Ross Perot.

Obama is a poster boy on why affirmative action and racial quotas dont work.

The article is dead on.... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The article is dead on.

He has never lead. He has never worked for anything that he has had. Raised and mentored all his life by left wing ideologues, he is an ideologue himself.

He has used affirmative action and powerful friends to get what he desired. He is reasonably good looking and can deliver a speech competently. Once gaining a position his sponsors have always done all his work for him. What little he has done on his own (such as in Illinois blocking legislation that would prevent infanticide as a form of abortion) has been starkly ideological and without any sense of compromise.

Now as President, he has again surrounded himself with political hacks to do he actual work. He sees his job as to entertain (throwing a party every 3 days on average) or to speechify.

His history of being given political office shows in his presumption that he merely need show up and deliver a speech in order to elect another candidate (Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts) or close the deal on some major event (the Olympics and the Global Warming Conference in Copenhagen).

Because he has never ad to work and because he has always been surrounded by ultra far left ideologues he has no idea how to lead and even less of an idea of how to compromise. He has never spent meaningful time around anyone who disagrees with him. The combination of always being agreed with and getting everything he wants served up on a silver platter appear to have ad he effect that he is incapable of forming the idea that what he does or how he does it is wrong.

Combine that in a man who has little or no interest or understanding of history and an understanding of international affairs that seems to have arrested its development in high school and you have a very dangerous man to be President.

Great read. I live in IL an... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Great read. I live in IL and recall some of this has it happened. Still had no reason to ever pay attention to him because he accomplished---nothing.

Barry NEVER was a 'leader'.... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Barry NEVER was a 'leader'. As for the MSM, the liberal elite ADORED him, and their 'white guilt' kept them from doing any background on him. After all, they didn't want to be "racist". So they prostituted themselves and their credibility. Barry's finally finding that when your entire image is based on falsehoods, sooner or later, it catches up to you.

Splash Kennedy thought he was oh-so-clever in twice getting the senatorial succession law changed in Massachusetts to favor the Democratic party. Too bad he didn't live long enough to see it blow up in their faces. And the supreme irony is that Splash's seat will be the nail in his "Health Care Legacy".

Pretzel,I used to ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Pretzel,

I used to live in Illinois and I remember Obama as a complete cipher too. I left for the new red state of Massachusetts last year and already I have a GOP Senator. Not a bad deal.

Poole and jim m, great comm... (Below threshold)

Poole and jim m, great comments.

There are many, many other examples of someone else stepping up to the plate and pinch-hitting for Obama when he seemed to be in a jam.

I had forgotten about the Jack Ryan scandal during the 2004 US Senate race. At the time, there was a lot of suspicion that powerful Democrat operatives were behind the move to unseal Ryan's divorce records, in an effort to destroy the only serious challenger to Barack Obama's campaign.

jim m wrote,

Because he has never ad to work and because he has always been surrounded by ultra far left ideologues he has no idea how to lead and even less of an idea of how to compromise. He has never spent meaningful time around anyone who disagrees with him. The combination of always being agreed with and getting everything he wants served up on a silver platter appear to have ad he effect that he is incapable of forming the idea that what he does or how he does it is wrong.

Spot on.

And you're right, Poole, the only person who is more powerful that the President of the US is ... ? The buck stops squarely at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There aren't any more powerful operatives higher up in the food chain for Obama to call upon when he is in trouble. Too bad his first real taste of this predicament only came after he was elected President.

"....eventually becoming Pr... (Below threshold)
Dr Carlo Lombardi:

"....eventually becoming President of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 and earning his law degree in 1991."
President of the Harvard law review before earning his law degree?
I suspect this position was "achieved", like most of Barry's ascension, because the school's uber left establishment wanted a 'cool black guy' with a baritone voice to have that position.
The same 'American Idol' mindset that put the empty suited narcissist into the oval office.

By God, I think I have figu... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

By God, I think I have figured it out. Of course I am a racist. I'm white and a conservative. What else could I be? But ...

But I can magically become not a racist. It's so easy! My racist sheets can be washed as white as snow if I will only Vote Democratic.

VOTE DEMOCRATIC!!!

I don't know why I never saw that before. That's what all the liberal trolls have been trying to tell me. Geez, all this time I thought they were just being mean and really they have been trying to help me.

Thanks, Steve, Bruce, bryan and the rest!

It's my understanding that ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

It's my understanding that president of the Harvard Law review is a student position. The more significant issue is his becoming the first president to never write an article. He got the position due to his ethnicity and not his ability. He never published as a lecturer at University of Chicago either. It appears that his two autobiographies were ghost written as well.

So the man cannot write, but seems to be carried by his talent at reading he teleprompter.

Michael,I agree, goo... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Michael,
I agree, good post. In fact I think you have just written the complete biography of Barack Obama's political life up to this point because this is all we know about him.

I don't know how hard it is to be a community organizer but I am guessing you have the luxury of being more of an agitator for change than actually being responsible for solving problems. You petition others to do the latter job for you. Unfortunately, that mindset doesn't work when sitting in the Oval Office. Like I've said before where Alinsky seems to envision a constant struggle against the establishment he doesn't tell you what to do when you suddenly and surprisingly find yourself as part of the establishment.

I would love to find someone - anyone - who is willing to come forward and describe what it was like to sit in one of Obama's constitutional law classes.

Michael L. writes:... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Michael L. writes:

"Barack Obama has routinely dealt with adversity...by...surrounding himself with "guardian angels" who could do most of the heavy lifting for him, thereby enabling him to easily achieve one level of success after another."

True. "Angels". But why are the mention of Obama's ARCHANGELS apparently taboo?

headline (Politico):
"Obama officials gave Bilderberg briefings"

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22957.html

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20010.html

And once again bryanD steps... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

And once again bryanD steps in with a totally irrelevant bag of bullshit!

Way to go bryanD! What's the matter bryanD, don't like people taking a CLOSE look at your Obamassiah? Why don't you slide back over to DK and wallow in some good Democratic "white guilt".

"Obama officials g... (Below threshold)
"Obama officials gave Bilderberg briefings"

I KNEW IT! IT'S THOSE $#@*! BILDERBERGERS AGAIN! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE AND CONTROL EVERYTHING!! DOES ALEX JONES KNOW ABOUT THIS? WHERE'S MY TIN FOIL HAT? I HEAR SECRET INSTRUCTIONS IN MY TOOTH FILLINGS! OH NO, HERE COME THE BLACK HELICOPTERS!!! WE'RE DOOMED!!!

The reason Obama won't rele... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The reason Obama won't release his Columbia undergrad records is that they will prove he was affirmative action Harvard Law. All he did at Columbia was drugs and hang around being, ahem, "mentored" by black Marxist Frank Marshall Davis, who had "mentored" several other young male undergrads before him.

Here's his explanation for Scott Brown winning due to the backlash: "I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law or if we're making a good rational decision here, then people will get it."

IOW, he thought we were smart enough to "get it" but it turns out we rubes and hicks are just too darned stupid to understand his brilliance, so he will have to BEGIN "talking to the American people" now.

BEGIN. After over 400 speeches and 150 media interviews in his first year, he thinks we don't "get" him because we haven't seen enough of him?

This guy was sold as a post-partisan, centrist reforming leader who could deal with both sides of the aisle. The problem was, he was NEVER EVER ANY of those things.

So we have a narcissistic, preening peacock as President. If we could only find him a room walled in full-length mirrors, he might never come out again.

Now now I think you guys ar... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Now now I think you guys are being a bit disenguous when you said that Obama never had to deal with hardship.

I mean it is really really hard to figure out how many different ways to play the race card when ever someone doesnt agree with you.

Jim Addison makes me wonder... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Jim Addison makes me wonder....
If Obama really thinks he needs to communicate MORE this is going to be something to watch. As his first year progressed it seemed the more he talked the worse his poll numbers became. I think he pretty much exhausted the it's all Bush's fault meme. His most recent speeches have been rambling to virtually incoherent. It is clear that many of his promises to the American public in his presidential campaign were intentionally without merit. He is irrational; that is, he says he wants to jump start the economy/ turn around the deficit but insists on proposing social programs clearly designed to guarantee to suck capital as well as confidence away from the productive sector. The level of deafness of the Democrat leadership to public opinion in the past year was - dare I say it - unprecedented compared to any other administration I can remember. The power of the Democrat Party in Congress needs to be whittled down significantly and the well-entrenched legislators of the Republican Party must take note also. Obama's ideology is simply not a good fit for this country on the national level. He is just too painful to watch anymore.

So we have a narci... (Below threshold)
jim m:
So we have a narcissistic, preening peacock as President. If we could only find him a room walled in full-length mirrors, he might never come out again.

I object to that characterization!

- Peacoacks look good
- Peacocks don't go spending vast amounts of other people's money.
- I've never been lied to by a peacock.
- Peacocks aren't trying to socialize my country.
- A peacock makes his own way in this world and doesn't need government handouts or affirmative action.
- A peacock can say what he wants to without the need of a teleprompter.


There is only one way that Obama is like a peacock: The Peacock is constantly on MSNBC and is always shown in a reverential way.

"Way to go bryanD! What's t... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Way to go bryanD! What's the matter bryanD, don't like people taking a CLOSE look at your Obamassiah?"-gf

I say my links are much more revealing of Obama the politician and change agent than the quotidian misdemeanors offered at Wizbangblog.

Michael L's attention to Obama's "speaking", "not listening" to the "American people", is the subtext to my links.

"OH NO, HERE COME THE BLACK HELICOPTERS!!! WE'RE DOOMED!!!"
16. Posted by OregonMuse

Judging by your obliviousness to your "own" "OregonMuse" hyperlink having been in the clutches of parking site buccaneers for months now, your sarcasm is funny in an unintended way, indeed.

I hope you don't run a boarding house. An old lady is a perfect cover for nogoodniks.

BryanD"I say my li... (Below threshold)
retired military:

BryanD

"I say my links are much more revealing of Obama the politician and change agent than the quotidian misdemeanors offered at Wizbangblog."

Feel free to start your own blog and never darken the doorstep here again.

Dont go away mad. Just go away.

BryanD face it your preside... (Below threshold)
Michael:

BryanD face it your president is going down and it is a beautiful thing. OBAMA FAIL!

Ever notice how bryanD AVOI... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Ever notice how bryanD AVOIDS questions put to him. Must be hell being an Obamabot. Barry fucks up everything he touches AND IT'S SOMEONE ELSES FAULT! So the Obamabot dutifully chimes in "It's Bush's fault". "Stimulus" ain't working. Bush's fault. Can't release 50 from Gitmo. Bush's fault. Majority in both Houses of Congress, can't pass Health Care Reform. Bush's fault. Can't pass Cap and Trade, Bush's fault.

You've worn that one out bryanD. Now it's going to be 'the angry masses'. Huh? Short time ago that 'angry mass' was the darling that elected Barry and all those sweet Democrats in Congress. Damn ingrates, they expected something to be done.....besides PAYING OFF their buddies. Imagine, them expecting Barry to do something about jobs!
Doing something to get the economy going instead of pushing it down! Some "Stock Market Ralley"! It's tanking again! Thanks to Barry. Or is it Bush who's pushing for $90 BILLION in targeted taxes on banks?

As for links byanD, how about some to your 'truther' sites? Or maybe Barry's Education Czar can direct you to some pedophile sites.

Buy some KY bryanD, that way you and your pals won't get too many splinters when the electorate shoves Barry up your ass this November.

"Feel free to start your ow... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

"Feel free to start your own blog and never darken the doorstep here again."-rm

Presence of SOME kind of opposition here in the open comments thread is Exhibit 1 that Wizbang is not some type of male discotheque/BBS.

"BryanD face it your president is going down and it is a beautiful thing. OBAMA FAIL!"
23. Posted by Michael

So bawls the happy man...

See what I mean about bryan... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

See what I mean about bryanD?

"BryanD face it your presid... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"BryanD face it your president is going down and it is a beautiful thing. "

Are you saying that Obama sucks?

Sorry. Had to ask.

Excellent post Michael and ... (Below threshold)
HughS:

Excellent post Michael and thanks for the background information. You might want to rerun this post every 30 days as a public service for the ill informed that won't/can't be persuaded easily.

Also, the Ryan "divorce story" has been covered several times at Wizbang but continues to be ignored. Wonder why?

I see Obama is bringing bac... (Below threshold)
Patrick:

I see Obama is bringing back the former head of his campaign David Plouffe to try to right the ship but to me this is merely yet another indication that he just doesn't get it. This is not about optics anymore - it is about competence. This vital ingredient is utterly lacking in the White House right now. Also, Obama's lack of leadership skills has been exposed for all to see and getting back the aura of superior intellect will be about as easy as getting toothpaste back into a tube.

I also wonder yet again why we never saw complete medical records for this guy. I remember reporters complaining that they did not have enough time to look at the hundreds if not thousands of pages of medical records John McCain released but when Obama released a one page letter from his doctor proclaiming that he was in perfect health there was nary a word of protest uttered by the lamestream media. Just because a man appears to be healthy and youthful does not mean there is not anything in his health records (his admitted cocaine use and smoking habit alone should have made the media more curious than they ended up being about the subject) that would cause any concerns. I truly wonder if there was a reason why we were never provided with a more complete accounting of his medical history. But this is just another example of how little we know about this guy's past and the fact that he was never vetted by the media. Also, one would have thought more people who went to school with him would have come forward with stories and anecdotes about Obama's scholarly exploits and his interactions with them. That has been something that has always seemed very strange to me.

Yeah, did you see David Plo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Yeah, did you see David Plouffe's commentary in the WaPo? Obama "gets the message" then Plouffe says that in order to win in November, the Democrats have to pass the Health Care Bill now! Where the hell has Plouffe been the last several months, on Mars? He then repeats the same tripe that people will LOVE ObamaCare as they'll see the benefits IMMEDIATELY! Has this asshole even read the bill? The "benefits" are down the road. The TAXES start now.

Patrick -"I see... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Patrick -

"I see Obama is bringing back the former head of his campaign David Plouffe to try to right the ship but to me this is merely yet another indication that he just doesn't get it. This is not about optics anymore - it is about competence. This vital ingredient is utterly lacking in the White House right now."

Obama's ALWAYS been about image - right from the start. He's even described himself as a blank slate that others projected their image of him on.

But when the show's ended and the projector's turned off - the slate is blank, the movie screen is empty. Obama's run out of script, he's run out of ideas, and he's running out of support.

And when he was elected? We ran out of luck.

JLawson:I could no... (Below threshold)
Patrick:

JLawson:

I could not agree more. As Obama is only now discovering, campaigning is easy but governing is hard. It is frightfully easy to throw out a bunch of promises but actually delivering on them is much more difficult and quite often impossible if you have no real executive experience and a tone deaf approach to tackling such serious problems. Hence we have glaring failures on health care reform, a worsening employment situation, inexcusable lapses in our national security apparatus, no progress on stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions and an out of control deficit situation. And all this does not even include his failure to close Gitmo although perhaps is a blessing in disguise to those of us who see it as the facility as the best possible option for keeping the American people safe but a failure nonetheless because it was a cornerstone of his campaign.

He is an arrogant Kenyan mu... (Below threshold)
poptoy:

He is an arrogant Kenyan mulatto.

He could be green with frig... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

He could be green with friggin' puce polkadots, poptoy, and it wouldn't matter.

Arrogant? Sure. Kenyan? Doesn't matter. As Reid and Pelosi prove, arrogance doesn't have a nationality.

Obama was trained in the Alinsky methods. With the Chicago machine behind him, lifting him up, he got to be a political star. But he never learned how to be an actual leader - he never 'failed', and had to learn from his failures. The press hailed him as a leader - but there's a big difference between being called a leader and actually leading.

As we're all, sadly, finding out.




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