Who said you can't be in two places at the same time?
I have an old dear friend who was a major operative in the Carter White House. He was a Clinton supporter and said that he feared that Obama would be dominated by the Congress due to his lack of political experience. Well he was correct. Every single major legislative initiative has come from the Congress. Cap-and-trade and health care reform were both written in the Congress and Obama embraced them as his own. Members of congress have complained that they were getting little leadership on these issues from the president and no direction. When health care ran into trouble in both houses, there is little evidence that the president asserted a leadership role in resolving them. Rather it appears that he has agreed to whatever was put before him. It is hard to imagine such a hands off approach to what has been called his signature event. People have said that the domestic policy is confused and in a shambles. There has also been major grousing over the administration's foreign policy. In several key areas, the administration has continued the same policies of the previous administration that it had criticized. In others, the president has met with embarrassment and ridicule (Venezuela, China, Iran). The president has appeared to abandoned our allies in Eastern Europe - namely the Poles and the Israelis view him suspiciously. Thus, foreign policy is also confused and in a shambles. So to quote Vince Lombardi "What the hell is going on out there?" I think what we are seeing is a lack of leadership. It is obvious that the president has not laid out his agenda either domestically or internationally. What is the plan? What are the objectives? Where is the leadership? Well I have concluded that he hasn't had the time. CBS News has reported than in his first year, Obama has made 411 speeches, held 42 news conferences, granted 158 interviews, attended 23 town hall meetings, made 42 domestic trips, 10 foreign trips, attended 28 fund raisers, 7 campaign rallies, had 74 meetings with foreign leaders and vacationed 26 days. It is apparent that the toughest job in the administration is being the president's appointment secretary. Instead of leading, the president has remained in campaign mode and abdicated governing to others.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com