For months, the White House and its allies mocked critics of Barack Obama’s leadership, arguing that no president has “Green Lantern” superhero powers. Now these same people are predicting that Obama can salvage his agenda by waving a magical “pen and phone.”
The contradiction illustrates how far partisans will go to defend a flailing presidency, grasping at slogans and insults as a growing majority of Americans tune out. We witnessed a similar drama under President Bush, who set a low bar for public approval that Obama is close to matching.
More than that, Obama’s plan to exert executive branch authority, starting with his State of the Union address, further illustrates his unfamiliarity with the levers of political power, the limits of his leadership style, and the vast amount of time and potential squandered by the president so far.
“We need to assure the American people that we can get something done either through Congress or on our own because what they want are answers,” White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“He is going to look in every way he can with his pen and his phone to try to move the ball forward,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re putting an extra emphasis on it in 2014.”
I won’t be watching Obama read the State of the Union address tonight. Among the many reasons for that decision is that the chances of him saying anything truly newsworthy are slim and none. I could probably write a review of his speech right now and it would prove to be pretty accurate.
This is a really radical idea, but maybe Obama should spend the next three years trying to be the best lame duck he can. He’s the President of the United States, and he’s gonna hold that job for another 36 months.
What if he just tried to be a competent executive from now until he leaves office? No agenda, no big ideas, just take care of running the federal government the way it should be run.
Honestly, do we really need any more new laws? How about if we try enforcing the ones we already have? There is a huge federal bureaucracy that could use some managerial attention. Leave legislating to Congress and interpreting the law to the courts.
I got this idea from my mom. She spent 35 years as the secretary to the city manager of Merced. We have a part-time mayor and city council that do the politicking, speechifying and legislating. The city manager is a full time employee who actually runs the government. He’s the “chief executive”. We could use somebody like that in Washington DC these days.
I know, I’m not being realistic. It is Obama’s destiny to remake the world in his own image. He’s too important to waste his awesome abilities on mundane things like making government function.
So anyway, I’ll be watching the latest episode of Justified tonight. What will you be doing?