For John, BLUF: Who is President Obama? Nothing to see here; just move along.
I know that there is a small group of Citizens who think President Obama is doing a bad job. Most of those who I know think that the President is a crooked political manipulator (e.g., he runs against opponents who are divorced and their sealed divorce records somehow pop into the open). I have been arguing that he is feckless and uninvolved.♠ I am apparently in the minority. Now I have some support.
Law Professor and Blogger Ann Althouse points us to an OpEd by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, from yesterday. The Althouse Blog title (and Mr Milbank's lede) is "President Passerby needs urgently to become a participant in his presidency."
Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason asked [White House Press Secretary Jay Carney] how Obama felt about “being compared to President Nixon on this.”It isn't just Columnist Dana Milbank and myself. Here is a clip from Downfall, showing the German Chancellor being not so enthralled.
The press secretary laughed. “People who make those kinds of comparisons need to check their history,” he said.
Carney had a point there. Nixon was a control freak. Obama seems to be the opposite: He wants no control over the actions of his administration. As the president distances himself from the actions of “independent” figures within his administration, he’s creating a power vacuum in which lower officials behave as though anything goes. Certainly, a president can’t know what everybody in his administration is up to — but he can take responsibility, he can fire people and he can call a stop to foolish actions such as wholesale snooping into reporters’ phone calls.
How do you see it?
Regards — Cliff
♠ That is to say, the inmates (staffers) have been running the asylum (Executive Office).