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Will Obama Turn Out to be Mediocre?

A friend, who is a CEO, has told me for some time now that Obama exercised exceedingly poor judgment in running for president without first obtaining some experience as an executive.  According to her,  Obama would have been wise if he had first paid his dues as governor of Illinois, his home state, before going on to the presidency.   She’s been telling me that since before he was elected.

My counter has always been that, while it’s true Obama lacked executive experience,  he’s been the best choice given the alternative was McCain.

The trouble is, merely being better than the alternative is still sometimes not good enough.  To be better than McCain does not entail you can run a government.

I’ve been wondering about my friend’s point this evening because of some events surrounding last week’s Supreme Court decision.  The Court ruled that convicted criminals have no right to subject the state’s evidence to DNA tests in order to prove their innocence.  It is inevitable, because of this ruling, that some innocent people who would otherwise go free will continue to be imprisoned. The decision is worthy of a dictatorship.

The sad thing is, Obama’s Department of Justice came down on the wrong side of this issue.  Instead of arguing that prisoner’s have a right to DNA testing that might prove their innocence, his DOJ aggressively argued for the oppressive conservative position that the Court ended up adopting.   And it did so despite the fact that, as an Illinois state senator, Obama sponsored and lobbied for legislation that gave all inmates a post-conviction right to DNA evidence.  So Obama has either changed his convictions about inmate’s rights, or his DOJ is out of his control.

It is possible that Obama will turn out to be a mediocre president.   That would be a tragedy given the man’s talents and promise.  But I think that if he does turn out to be mediocre, it will be in part because he entered the presidency lacking the executive skills necessary to make his will felt through-out his administration.

There’s a large part of me, though, that does not want to contemplate the possibility of a mediocre presidency.  Not now.  Not when we need so much more than a mediocre president.

6 thoughts on “Will Obama Turn Out to be Mediocre?”

  1. For this to be used as evidence of Obama’s inexperience, or as a harbinger of what turns out to be his mediocrity, I think there would need to be information that he actually supported this legal view, and directed the DOJ to proceed accordingly.

    I have never seen any such indication. It seems more that this DOJ action was just sort of swept forward by its own leftover momentum from the Bush Administration. This case was argued in February, after all. The inner bureaucratic workings of federal agencies hardly turn on a dime the day after an inauguration. And let’s face it, Obama was damned busy.


  2. Hi Center Square. Welcome to the blog!

    I think if Obama supported what his DOJ did, that would be evidence he is in charge. As it stands, I think there is some evidence that Obama did not support what his DOJ did and therefore is not in charge.


  3. Looking at it from Canada, I guess the US citizens are too hasty. The case was argued in February, Obama took charge on 20th January, the guys on that case were Bush appointees despite there being a new, and not confirmed, DoJ head. Come on, before wondering about the worst, give the guy time to get the furniture in.
    As I said elswhere, wait and see, turning the civil service around takes at least 2 years, in the best of circumstances. Try stopping a 120 plus cars freight train in 60 feet!.


  4. I do not expect to see anything but the same old same old from Obama. If he was in any way a threat to the power system he wouldn’t have made it anywhere near the presidency. Maybe I’m overly cynical but presidential politics feel like a distractionary puppet show to me.

    Also, more specifically – he ‘lived down’ to my negative expectations from early on, when he helped the telecomm immunity BS to sail through, flipping on his campaign promises to fight it tooth and nail …

    The only change I have hope for is change from within, local and individual. Perhaps the quest for top-down change is a waste of energy, and essentially a distraction from meaningful change, within ourselves …


  5. If I were Obama I would make one of those amazing speeches like he had during the election season that unified the party and moderates. I would apologize for actions taken and not taken (apologize for the DOJ actions and unaction on GLTB issues). Come up with solutions for moving forward, and implement them. People are getting restless when right now we need someone to come forward and push us ahead.


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