Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
Ten days ago I was offered an opportunity to, “write for money”(sweet !) about what I thought about the President’s job performance in 2013. It was with trembling fingers that I touched the keyboard and responded that I would only write such, if I had the opportunity to summarize the written words when visiting with my friends from the EastWing on Sunday Evening. With just a little tweaking of the language, we worked out the details to the extent of what I could say from the EastWing when describing the agreement. And so I summarize:
2013 turned out the be the most horrific year yet for President Obama. 2014 may very well turn out to be even worse due to the increasing amount of self inflicted wounds this administration has brought upon themselves.
The collapse of everything from ObamaCare, to the NSA, to the Benghazi, to the IRS, and they just keep growing and growing. There is an ever mounting sense among Americans outside Washington DC that while President Obama makes good speeches, it’s only when other people write the words and the President speaks the words from the teleprompters. he is poor example of a leader for the greatest nation on Earth. He’s all talk and all show. Yet it’s all talk and no go.
It didn’t start out that way, they looked, talked and sounded like they knew what they were talking about. They were the top dogs, all the President’s Men. They looked good on paper and sounded even better in person. After all, the Ivy League degrees flowed like fine wine at the wedding fast. They talked a good show, they’d practiced saying all the buzz words to convince us that all was well, and that hope and change was on the march. But their words never turned into action, and on the rare occasion of when they did, catastrophe walked about.
So what happened? What went so wrong with all this hope and change this fellow brought to the political arena? The hope and change that would improve our lives forever. Like everything else in life, the signs were there before our eyes, yet we didn’t see the signs. We only looked into the hope, and never questioned the change. We should have. Then things would have been different. Way different.
For the first time in the history of this country, the great majority of the president’s cabinet officers were drawn almost entirely from liberal think tanks, universities and the public sector. That alone should have been a wakeup call to we the people, it was not. We bought into the hope side. We trusted the man that only said “Hope and Change”. We never asked about the change part. We bought into the hope.
We knew almost nothing about the man offering us “Hope and Change”. His past record of accomplishments were never disclosed, simply because there were no accomplishments worth disclosing. In the Illinois legislative position, he voted present more times than he voted yes or no. His ability to lead was based solely on his ability to read a speech from a teleprompter. His whole life has been pretty much spent in the public coffers. Living in an environment with little or no accountability, his whole education has been on the public dime.
President Obama, himself, along with the vast majority of his top advisers had never ever had any real world experience. Almost none of them have ever built anything. They have never met production deadlines or had their budgets cut. They’ve never faced disgruntled employees or been held accountable for products that failed in the marketplace. They’ve never learned from experience because the only experience they’ve had was in the world of theory and hypothesis. In the world of theory and hypothesis you never fail, you only take a different approach to the failed attempt.
Now when the widget your company makes is a lemon, you take the loss, redesign the lemon, and manufacture a new widget, and take it back to the marketplace. At a think tank if your theory is proven to be false, you write a new book with a new theory. President Obama and his team have never understood the age-old expression, “it’s not what you say it’s what you do that counts.” In a world of theory and hypothesis, what you think is all you can do.
It was during the Reagan Administration, that every cabinet position was afforded the opportunity to review every speech the president was to deliver. The review was for input, for corrections of erroneous information. To make sure that every word uttered by the President of the United States was true and factual. It was the Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman, who fought so hard to include a line in every presidential speech that talked about a need for a 600 ship navy.
At that time, we didn’t have a 600 ship navy, but Lehman wanted one. He knew if President Reagan ever uttered the magic words, “600 Ship Navy,” in a speech, the Secretary of the Navy could take it from there and build a 600 ship navy. Secretary Lehman understood a fundamental principle of government bureaucracy. Get the boss to say something, and then work behind the scenes to make it happen.
But it didn’t stop there. Navy Secretary Lehman knew the first step was to get the funding, but the next step was to build the ships. He had to make sure the shipbuilding program didn’t have massive cost overruns, that the ships were built to specification and delivered on time.
So Secretary Lehman reformed the procurement program and pushed for fixed price contracts, penalties if the ships were late and bonuses if they came in early. In the end, the United States got a 600 ship navy, and it was that navy who was instrumental in our winning the Cold War. Russia knew very well of the 600 ship navy.
The problem President Obama faces is he doesn’t have anyone like John Lehman. He makes great speeches, there is no doubt. But that’s where it all stops. Behind the scenes there are no competent people turning words into deeds. There’s no follow through. No implementation. No penalties if something doesn’t work or deadlines aren’t met. There are also no rewards for success. Nobody is held accountable for anything. ObamaCare, NSA, Benghazi, IRS, has anyone heard of any accountability on any of these issues? I’m not aware of any accountability on the handling on these blotched failures by the administration.
Why not ? Because in the World of Obama, nothing really goes wrong for long. Everything is a small bump in the road, a temporary inconvenience, a glitch caused by some low level bureaucrat in Cincinnati OH or a simple video that causes people in Benghazi to riot. All that’s needed is better P.R. more spin and better messaging. In the Reagan administration a great speech was just the first step in a long process. In the Obama administration it’s the one and only step. It all ends with the speech. The Obama speech ends the matter. And the start of the next speech is being written.
Words alone never translate into deeds. In the classic movie, “The Ten Commandments” the Pharaoh says, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” But that didn’t work out too well for Pharaoh, and it hasn’t worked any better for President Obama, either. In the real world words don’t automatically translate into deeds.
Words may move public opinion polls, but only temporarily. They may convince the slavish and gullible Washington press corps, who despite all evidence to the contrary, still takes anything Obama says as gospel. But a few good speeches don’t redirect the large, cumbersome, superfluous ship of state to change course. Words don’t get websites built, or balance budgets, or rein in unaccountable bureaucracies. Nor do they build 600 ship navies. They just don’t.
So far, the administration’s appalling management has touched very few average Americans directly. But health care is the straw that will break the camel’s back, because it will affect everyone. That’s everyone from me to you.
We don’t need the filter of the media to tell us what to think about our health care system, we’re experiencing it firsthand. We will know it when our premiums rise, our doctors are no longer available, our prescription prices double. And just wait until the lack of website security leads to large scale identify theft for participants.
The unsolved problems of 2013, like ObamaCare, NSA, Benghazi, the IRS, unemployment, Iran’s nuclear program, Al Qaeda’s expansion, they won’t go away just because the calendar year changes. These problems will only roll into the new year. Increasing the likely hood that 2014 will be more disastrous for the president than 2013.
These issues can only be solved when the president and his advisers make some drastic course corrections. But, I predict they won’t. Frankly, they probably can’t. They don’t know how. The problem with people who live in a world of speeches and books and theories is they don’t know how to fix things in the real world when those things go wrong.
When things go wrong these people pretend ignorance, blame others, and make more eloquent speeches. Should you count the number of times President Obama has said that he learned of the matter the same time you did on TV, or how many times President Obama has blamed President Bush, you can better understand what I’m getting at here. When things go wrong these people DO pretend ignorance, blame others, and make more eloquent speeches.
While I was a working hospital administrator and studying for my degree in Hospital Administration at the Ohio State University, my real world of hospital management and academia clashed. My on the job training and the academic world of hospital administration at The Ohio State University, on one particular occasion, came into severe conflict. It was a war that I had the upper hand. I won the battle due to the fact that I’d walked the mile in the shoes of reality, and the professor had only walked in the text book model of the issue. My model was supported in fact, it had been proven under fire. The professors model was theory and hypothesis. Theory and hypothesis that had never been taken to the real world. The point being, there is no substitute for real world experience when it comes to matters of people dealing.
The eloquent speeches of the President of the United States tend to lack substance and tend to produce zero ability to follow through. That’s really too bad for this great nation. He’s all talk and all show. Yet it’s just talk and no go. And it appears he can’t change to make it better.
My assessment of President Obama and his job performance in 2013 came to an end. For this new year of 2014, I hope my predictions for President Obama’s job performance going forward this year are completely wrong. And so I told the folks that asked me to write the same thing I tell every client I’ve ever engaged for business consulting services. “You didn’t hire me to be your friend. If you don’t like what I’ve said, it’s your problem not mine.” It’s part of the reason why in that type of work, I try to get paid up front.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From The EastWing, Writing For The Money, 2013 For The President Of The United States It Was The Worst Of Times.
I Wish You Well,