President Obama is demonstrating why born, bred and even accomplished academics prove quite often to be terrible leaders. The academic world is of course enormously valuable to America, populated with extraordinary and thoughtful individuals; but by definition, it is a world of debate; it is a world of theories and suppositions. If you add to that a litigious nature; you have a law professor, add to that a peculiar childhood with radical Marxist influences throughout, you have Barack Obama, an effective activist, professor and community organizer. However in the case of now President Obama it is worse. It is worse because of his current title. President Obama has never held in his public or private life a single position of consequence until now and that is dangerous for all of us no matter your political ideology.
Mr. Obama was never a mayor or a governor whose charge it was to make executive decisions; he never owned or even managed a private sector business; met a payroll, managed a budget or had to produce a profit. My point is that each of those positions offers real world exercises in leadership and the wisdom gained from both the successes and failures that result from the decisions one makes. It is the pressure of being 100 percent responsible that teach, build or expose character and serve to either forge or crack ones’ personal mettle. Mr. Obama has never had to take, let alone pass any of those tests. Should any of us be at all surprised that he is failing them now?
The past year and a half has given us several examples of poor leadership and what Sen. Mc Cain during the campaign said we as Americans could not afford in a President; which was “on the job training”. The most recent example of this poor leadership and on the job training is the oil disaster in the Gulf. No one is blaming President Obama for the explosion that caused the breech; although it must be said that the reason we are fifty miles out and a mile deep to begin with; where it’s clearly impossible to fix any problem that may result, is because companies are prohibited from drilling in closer, shallower waters or on land. However, as I said he’s not being blamed for the oil disaster, he is being blamed for the response disaster.
When Bobby Jindal, the governor of a state facing economic and cultural devastation under siege from approaching oil tells you he needs to build barriers if he has any hope to avert or minimize the looming generational long tragedy, you build them damn barriers! What you don’t do is take it under advisement, you don’t study the environmental impact nor cost of the barriers when the environmental impact and cost of not building the barriers is clear and catastrophic on both fronts, are you kidding?
Leadership is selfless not selfish, it is the abundance of humility and the lacking of hubris and it is the power of passion not the passion for power. I believe that great leaders are born in the moments they define and that poor leaders are exposed when those moments define them. This is why character, more than any other quality, is the most important aspect that makes up the personal constitution of any man or woman seeking to be the President of the United States. That is because I believe character is the trait, which if one possess, allows that individual to rise to the occasion. It is the ability to communicate from your heart, not from a teleprompter. If you truly want to sympathize and empathize with, and then rally your people to a common goal be it one of achievement or recovery; it must come from your heart. I was not and am not now a fan or supporter of President Clinton, but President Clinton “got it” in large part because he lived it. It’s not about policy it’s about passion and accountability. Say what you will about the former President, and there is much to dislike for me with regard to policy; but as a three-term governor he understood the executive position, the power of both being stubborn as well as the power in truly compromising. He understood, though you may have disagreed with his positions, that people demand results from their executive. In addition, he lived a life, in large part prior to the governor’s mansion and the White House that when he said to people “I feel your pain” they believed him and rightly so, mostly because it was true and he did. President Obama was not ready for this position, not by any measure. It has been said by many that there is a difference between campaigning and governing once the responsibility to govern is truly yours. I believe that tragically we are seeing the worst example of that sentiment played out before our eyes with severe consequences. Having the ability to organize a community does not mean one possess the ability to organize a nation.
Michael Wendling is currently a senior sales associate with a leading resort company. He is also a business entrepreneur currently in development of a social networking site on track to launch later this year. He spent more than two decades in the restaurant industry from a bus boy to general manger, most notably the historic Occidental Restaurant adjacent to the White House where he served on the management staff, focused on service and wine.