Is the President a Political Amateur?

Posted on December 5, 2010 by

Will President Obama cave again?

That’s what everyone wants to know.

Is this guy capable of adjusting his political style to the realities of governing or are we seeing a leader who is simply unprepared for the job?

This goes beyond the Bush tax cuts, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the federal pay freeze. 

And it’s not just that the “the left” is disappointed.  Centrist democrats and independents who may support the president’s war policy in Afghanistan, his deficit commission or his gentle treatment of Wall Street and the banks are also sizing him up. 

Have you heard this NPR segment about Obama’s negotiating style?

These are not his opponents working him over, but law, diplomacy and business academics scratching their heads about the president’s approach.

Even if you don’t buy this argument, the image of a weak president is spreading fast and could be disastrous for democrats.

I worry that in this super-heated, internet-driven political atmosphere, the public perception of  Obama may be heading toward a point of no return.

I hope I’m wrong:

That we’re just caught up in a kind of groupthink frenzy; that we have a leader who’s smart, confident, principled and knows what he’s doing. 

And that those qualities will become apparent sooner rather than later.

Comments (9)


  1. bobwaggoner says:

    The reps make outrageous statements and claims and the dem dont counter

  2. Jann Whetstone says:

    It’s not just Obama that might appear weak it is also several other Dems, since when was a Dem afraid to stand by the regular working man, even some of our” so-called” labor friendly electeds forget about and don’t counter act or respond to Reps. How did we give up power to them? In CA we were able to elect Jerry Brown but we have let the power go nationwide. Obama can also only be as effective as his soldiers and if he doesn’t have enough Dem soldiers the work can NOT get done, he has no back up no power!

  3. Aaron says:

    Hi Lou, I try to read between the lines however, one item I agree with is the President is too quick to compromise rather than stand up and fight hard for what he believes. When we had control of congress and the White House the Dems could not even take advantage of that political clout and yet we are discussing the issues about the President being weak. Don’t forget the GOP (Fox News, Rush and countless others soldiering on to push their agenda) while we ponder if the President is weak? We have a Dem as President. What else could you ask for? We all know what is going to happen. The squeaky wheel is gonna get the oil and it sure is not going to be the Dems. Love them or hate them the GOP are very good at fear mongering and convincing the weak minded about their agenda. I had to turn off meet the press last night as I heard this guy talking about continuing the economic policies Bush set forth. Is this not what created the economic mess in the first place and Obama has to clean it up and now is being blamed for it. WTF?

    Wait, the GOP is great at masking the truth. I say “just because you put lipstick on a pig it is still just a pig! The GOP is trying to continue the policies that benefit the rich and widen the gap between the rich and poor. Somethings got to give.

    I am thoroughly frustrated with this whole thing.

  4. Gavin says:

    Obama must remain strong where it counts and not make compromises on matters that forward the Republician’s clear and stated political agenda of taking over the White House and not at the public good while at the expense of Obama’s and the Democrat’s agenda.

    If one must horse trade, I feel we should ensure no tax breaks be made unless we follow the Republican statements made that it be done without borrowing (as it currently being done). Much like what the Republicans are saying about paying to extend unemployment.

  5. Steph B. says:

    I keep thinking that, like Nixon’s “Secret Plan” for ending the Vietnam debacle, that President Obama will whip out 4 aces and send the whole Republican card game to the showers. Yes, I keep thinking that. Yes, it’s gonna happen. It’s coming soon.
    Oops, wait a minute.
    It wasn’t nuthin, just some jack-booted brownshirts asking me questions about my neighbor.

  6. There is no president that knows what he is doing. They learn as they go. It is a trial and error job. The problem that President Obama has is that he has to answer to the money that elected him. The money people are calling the shots. All this talk about a new kind of politics and change in Washington is what people expected, but they will never get it. We cannot expect that just because we elected someone new that things will change. We have to continue to fight from below. We have to fight for everything, all the time. President Roosevelt said something like “I agree with everything you say, now go out and make me do it.” What I fear is that people will stay home and not vote. This is a huge mistake. Our military fought and died to protect this right. Let’s not take it for granted. If more people voted like they do in other countries, Cuba for example, the results would be quite different. We would have national health care by now and the congress wouldn’t be trying to take away our social programs. If we don’t vote and only complain that the President is weak, we have no one but ourselves to blame.

  7. Cyndi Kahn says:

    Extending Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% costs the American people 700 billion dollars. Extending unemployment benefits cost the American people about 17 billion dollars. We all believe that Obama is a very intelligent man, but he sure seems to have his head stuck in the sand. How much money do you receive annually from Bush’s tax cuts? Is it worth giving 700 billion dollars to people that need it like a hole in the head? Obama says that the American people don’t want to see less money in their pay checks. But he’s dead wrong. The amount of extra money I see from Bush’s tax cuts is insignificant. I would much rather save 700 billion dollars!

  8. Betty says:

    Obama got something for everyone. The problem is none of it lowers the deficit. Who got what? Will it stimulate spending and job growth? Will the Dems get credit for tax cuts or will GOP Reps claim all the credit since Obama seems to be giving and the GOP Reps taking.
    13 months extension unemployment for 7 mil. workers Cost:$56 bil.
    Business tax rates remain the same for the next two years
    Business write off 100% (was 50%) Generating $50 bil. Cost: $150 bil.
    Cut employee payroll taxes 2% next year saves family $1,000 & up for higher earners Cost: $120 billion
    Employees pay 4.2% Soc Sec Ins instead of 6.2% saving a family $1,000 per yr. Boosting spending 30-90%
    Students for next two years $2,500 tax credit
    Child tax credit $1,000 for next two years
    Estate Tax up to 5 mil. tax free
    All this to spur spending in the economy. Personal debt reduction may effect total spending.
    Cost 900 million added to the national debt.

  9. [...] was in a full slide into political despair when Republicans took the House in November, 2010. Is the President a Political Amateur? I asked, “…a leader who is simply unprepared for the [...]

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