The chattering class was entranced with candidate Barack Obama. So literate. So polished. So cool. We were assured that his lack of executive experience was irrelevant. After all, he ran a campaign. And then there were his years as a community organizer and Harvard Law Review editor, which showed… well… it showed something about his magnificent intellectual skills. But it turns out he lacks some key abilities — executive leadership, decisiveness, deal-making prowess, flexibility, and basic people skills — that are essential to a successful presidency.
This is not simply the conclusion of conservatives. The entire country witnessed his agonizing decision-making process on the Afghanistan war strategy. Now on health-care reform, his own party is frustrated and dismayed with the non-governing president. As this report notes:
President Barack Obama has left Democrats as confused as ever over how the White House plans to deliver a health care reform bill this year, following two weeks of inconsistent statements, negligible hands-on involvement and a sudden shift to a jobs-first message. Democrats on Capitol Hill and beyond say they have no clear understanding of the White House strategy – or even whether there is one – and are growing impatient with Obama’s reluctance to guide them toward a legislative solution.
…And some Democrats feel that every time they look to White House for clarity, they hear something different, as though the strategy is whatever the president or his top advisers said that day.
His floundering is not surprising, considering that Obama never ran a state, a city, or a business, and during his brief time in the U.S. Senate, he was never front-and-center in any significant legislative undertaking. Yes, he’s touted as an author, and he won the presidency (beating two flawed candidates who ran awful campaigns). But it turns out that all this was insufficient preparation to be chief executive and commander in chief.
In 2012, Republicans will look for a standard-bearer to retake the White House. And while a grounding in conservative principles will be essential to winning the nomination, Republican voters might do well to consider what experience and what talents are essential for a successful presidency. They might look for candidates who have done something — other than graduating from Ivy League schools, writing memoirs, and giving frothy speeches. By 2012, the country might be ready for someone who knows how to get something done.