Patterico's Pontifications

9/30/2009

Obama: Ambivalence or Arrogance?

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 9:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Instapundit links a RealClearPolitics op-ed by Ruben Navarrette on President Obama’s ambivalence as a leader:

Here’s the confusing part. Obama knows how to fight. During last year’s campaign, Obama would say: “We don’t throw the first punch, but we’ll throw the last.” Indeed, when Obama slugged it out with political opponents, he would take a blow and hit back twice as hard.

That kind of machismo might come in handy when dealing with the likes of Ahmadinejad. Obama still believes U.N. sanctions will pressure this tyrant into abandoning Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But, as Sarkozy points out, Iran has ignored five U.N. resolutions on that issue since 2005.

Instead, just like when he canceled missile defense systems for Poland and the Czech Republic, Obama seems to be doing everything he can to avoid conflict.”

Sometimes I wonder if Obama only commits to fight “safe” battles. He runs for President but consistently lets surrogates portray him as the underdog and a victim of racism, thereby making sure his reputation would survive a loss. He speaks long and often about health care but won’t offer specific legislative details whose rejection could be blamed on him. And he is boldly confrontational with domestic opponents and tiny nations like Honduras but meekly conciliatory when it comes to the threats posed by Iran, North Korea and Russia.

On the other hand, Pittsburgh newpaperman Jack Kelly reports some — like French President Sarkozy — have a more jaundiced view of Obama’s motivations:

“[Kelly’s two sources say] Sarkozy thinks that President Obama is incredibly naive and grossly egotistical, so egotistical that no one can dent his naivete. And he is very worried about what that means for the West, because the President of the United States is the leader of the free world and if the President of the United States isn’t going to lead the free world, it isn’t going to be led.”

— DRJ

46 Responses to “Obama: Ambivalence or Arrogance?”

  1. You get the feeling from Sarkozy, The Poles and the Czechs that if they could upend Obama by denying him the Olympic games in 2016 that they would .. just to bring him back down from the rarefied air of the gods.

    Neo (7830e6)

  2. I get the feeling that if Obama could trade some vital defense priority for these Olympic games, that he would happily do so.

    We are really, really at risk for having this guy as president. He’s just not prioritizing the USA as a whole over anything. Chicago’s olympics demand his personal visit? But he can’t talk to the Afghanistain commander? INSANE. Dear God I hope his old cocaine dealer doesn’t blackmail him for top secret information. Obama is a character from a bad Tom Clancy novel.

    Dustin (0bdb72)

  3. The day we let a dirty Frenchman call an American “conceited” without laughing in his cheese-nibbling, wine-swilling, Roman Polanski-defending face is a dark day indeed.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  4. I saw a bumper sticker today that said “My Governor is Worse Than Your Governor.” It didn’t make sense until I noticed the NM license plate.

    EDIT: Leviticus — I don’t intend this comment as mean-spirited but, having re-read it, it sounds that way. I know you have ties to NM so it reminded me of the bumpersticker but I don’t completely share that viewpoint. I think there are better governors than Richardson but he seems moderate compared to many Democratic governors. I also think he’s sincere about wanting to help NM and New Mexicans.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  5. “Indeed, when Obama slugged it out with political opponents, he would take a blow and hit back twice as hard.”

    Funny, the way I remember it, it took the whole Democratic Party to save him from Hillary Clinton. He takes a blow like a marshmallow Easter bunny.

    Glen Wishard (02562c)

  6. Do they eat Velveeta in Paris? They could call it ‘Freedom Cheese’ from now on instead of American. I think Freedom Cheese has a GREAT ring to it.

    Dustin (0bdb72)

  7. It is very hard to watch the French leadership be far more intelligent and stronger than the American leadership.

    Never thought I would see the day.

    Thanks for the “hope and change” idiots.

    Baxter Greene (af5030)

  8. That’s gonna leave a mark.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  9. Hmmmm…I’m thinking that the strategy now is to let France and UK take the lead and make Obama the outlier so as to make the Iran defanging less contentious.

    At least I’m hoping that’s the deal. Obama otherwise is just a total ass.

    Patricia (c95a48)

  10. Last year Sarkozy said Obama was an empty suit, so at least he’s being consistent.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  11. “I saw a bumper sticker today that said “My Governor is Worse Than Your Governor.” It didn’t make sense until I noticed the NM license plate.”

    – DRJ

    If by “worse” they meant “Ten times more badass”, then they were right – especially when he had the beard. He was “Brown Santa” to me and the DC crew in those glorious days.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  12. Obama has openly supported Sarkozy’s opponents. This has dramatically weakened our diplomatic standing in Europe. Obama likes to involve himself in the internal politics of other countries and push for the more liberal candidate. With France, that’s merely annoying and counterproductive, but in other countries, it’s probably getting people killed.

    Obama could have made friends with Europe’s leaders. Most of them got along well with Bush, despite dramatic disagreement. As Obama’s supporters note how darn hard his job is, Bush’s quiet ability to keep up with all these little administrative tasks seems impressive.

    Dustin (0bdb72)

  13. Patricia, I do not use the language you do (but my daughter does when she’s permitted by law to do so), but, regarding your last sentence, please remove the word “otherwise” for greater accuracy.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  14. And no worries, DRJ – I’m just glad you’re still talking to me after I unfairly impugned your motives a week or so back. Still sorry about that.

    But don’t worry about New Mexico jokes – I just think of our detractors as well-meaning Philistines.

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  15. Leviticus,

    I don’t know what he meant but I doubt that was it. It actually surprised me when I first saw it. Also, I’m glad you saw my Edit on that comment.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  16. Leviticus, Rick Perry is certainly not a badass. He’s the Republican John Edwards when it comes to macho. But something about the way Texas is being run is pretty damn awesome lately.

    We’re rich, biatch! I’ll take Mitt Romney with a drawl over debt and screw ups. This is the same point of my other comment… these little administrative tasks we don’t read about in the papers every day are really important.

    It’s a disaster to have the administration half empty and focused on graft and corruption to ACORN or from the NEA. The USA government is a huge animal that needs an extremely strong leader. Texas is also a complicated government. People will always care more about pure political policy, but the ability to manage is very important, and Obama will make it an issue we pay more attention to. Rick Perry is unpopular in Texas until he’s compared with someone who probably just can’t manage the state.

    Dustin (0bdb72)

  17. Don’t worry about last week, Leviticus. I forget about disagreements unless I am certain people intend to be mean. The good news is the older I get, the more quickly I forget!

    DRJ (b008f8)

  18. The reality is that Obama has no leadership skills at all. He’s “led” nothing. He’s an empty suit with some teleprompter reading skills. He is a cheerleader at best.

    This is clearest when you compare his campaign rhetoric to his actions over the last 9 months. He can’t even lead himself.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. sounds like the rest of the world should just send their local military attache down to the nearest American Legion or VFW Hall and buy a few drinks to see who isn’t talking schise, then bring one of them back as the new American President.

    except for the First Klingon, we’d all be better off.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  20. Obama IS leading his idea of the “free world.” He just thinks the “free world” is Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Libya and such, and that the capitalist world is the enemy.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  21. And he is boldly confrontational with domestic opponents and tiny nations like Honduras but meekly conciliatory when it comes to the threats posed by Iran, North Korea and Russia.

    The very essence and one of the main symptoms of Ass-Backwards Syndrome, which the current president of the US suffers from to a ridiculous degree.

    Sarkozy thinks that President Obama is incredibly naive and grossly egotistical, so egotistical that no one can dent his naivete.

    It’s rather telling and unnerving when some of the leaders of otherwise (and generally and mostly) latte-leftist Europe are less leftwing than the guy now in the White House.

    Mark (411533)

  22. Either that, or Chauncy Gardner is finally President.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  23. Obama’s strategy — no major mistakes — is a setup for what will surely be the focus of attacks launched against him during the next election: no major accomplishments. Let’s just hope that health care reform is on that list of accomplishments that didn’t happen.

    Icy Texan (43c637)

  24. The French, God bless ’em, are a little late in touting the benefit of strong US leadership. I don’t see them suggesting European leadership as an alternative. How strangely expected that is.

    Someday we will realize that it is lonely being THE superpower, but the alternatives are far worse. For everyone.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  25. I don’t know, DRJ. There has to be SOME governors who are worse than Richardson. He may be exceedingly corrupt, but he’s at least a moderate on many issues (gun-control for example).

    Newtons.Bit (ba2dac)

  26. Careful what you wish for. You don’t want the US exercising its hyperpuissance?
    Looks like now you got it.
    Enjoy.
    Sort of like your adolescent sneering, “I hate you. Now take Brittany and me to the mall.”
    If you take responsibility away from somebody–see the welfare community–or never give it–see kids–they’re going to act like kids.
    Who should rarely be given what they ask for.
    And the US has taken responsibility for a great many things in the world since 1945.
    Got our guys killed in places we couldn’t spell taking care of other people who’d never heard of us, unless to curse us.
    We’re tired.
    Think we’ll take some time off.
    Let us know how it works out, chumps.

    Richard Aubrey (a9ba34)

  27. The day we let a dirty Frenchman call an American “conceited” without laughing in his cheese-nibbling, wine-swilling, Roman Polanski-defending face is a dark day indeed.
    Comment by Leviticus — 9/30/2009 @ 10:23 pm

    It is a dark day indeed. He is right.

    It’s probably an even darker day when, as said above several times, when the leader of France takes a harder pro-democracy “even if it means the use of force” than our president.

    Obama has openly supported Sarkozy’s opponents. This has dramatically weakened our diplomatic standing in Europe. Obama likes to involve himself in the internal politics of other countries and push for the more liberal candidate. Comment by Dustin

    “We will not interfere in the internal affairs of a country, (unless it helps solidify the power or dictators, tyrants, or those who have the audacity to disagree with me, the Audacious One, of whom the world has great expectations.”

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  28. Anyone coming into a new job has a learning curve. But it seems that Obama is fooling himself about just how talented he is. I think this “I’m not Bush” approach is instilling false confidence.

    The real problem is that his liberal ideas are letting him down and there is nothing he can do to change that.

    Does he really think that the stimulus will work? Or does he merely view it as a payoff to his cronies?

    The one theme I see is his reliance on tricky language to dance around big issues. This is obvious in the health care debate.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  29. Obama is popular in the US and Ahmadinejad is considered legitimate by 80% of Iranians.
    worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brmiddleeastnafricara/639.php?nid=&id=&pnt=639&lb=

    On Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the survey finds that eight in 10 Iranians say they consider him to be the country’s legitimate president.

    And Iranians want renewed diplomatic relations, but don’t quite trust Obama. That should make you happy.

    Obama plays it light because he can’t come off as an angry black man. And he’s still facing a racist pathological backlash. No denying that at this point. Census taker killed with “Fed” scrawled on his chest. NewsMax author calling for military coup. Web polls on whether Obama should be assassinated…
    And you link to Sarko? Hardly the voice of reason

    bored again (d80b5a)

  30. poor poor Barack. That’s the faint yet plaintive sound of FAIL I hear in the distance. And it’s getting louder.

    haoppyfeet (6b707a)

  31. oops. that was me.

    happyfeet (6b707a)

  32. Don’t know why all the disgruntled swing voters who went for the hope-a-dope are so surprised by this president’s strategic cluster-you-know-what. He came into the office with his major career history listed as community organizer. Now it’s community organization from horizon to horizon. And we all know how well the inner city organizing thing turned out after these past few decades.

    My agnosticism has arrived at historic highs. Making me very low.

    political agnostic (e06f4b)

  33. Journalism is disappearing, just like the Cheshire Cat.

    Pretty soon it will be all gone.

    About all that’s left today is just the toothy smile, best thought of as Jerna-Lizzum.

    So it goes.

    faxhorn (e6f540)

  34. Oh come now.

    Navarette wants to declare Obama amivalent because he wont save the French from potential mid-east nuclear threats ?

    HEY FOLKS – WAKE UP – THE F R E N C H ARE Nucelear proliferation to the third world. As much as any other country France has provided the engineering and materials necessary for these technologies to find their way into the third world.

    And perhaps THEY’VE been ambivalent about their contribution to nuclear proliferation because they could hide behind the apron strings of “mother USA” – until now.

    How stereotypically FRENCH of their president to cry when he is threatened by technologies his country has been so blase’ about delivering.

    How stereotypically FRENCH of Navarette to not recognize the WISDOM of allowing others to incur the potential consequences of THEIR OWN ACTIONS.

    That my friends is not ambivalence – it is WISDOM – as every parent knows.

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    EEDEEOTTS (f74fc4)

  35. Bambi talks tough, but I’d be willing to bet he’s never been in a fist-fight in his life – at least, not one he won, or even put up a credible defense.

    No proof, just a feeling. Guy’s a wimp.

    mojo (8096f2)

  36. There has to be SOME governors who are worse than Richardson

    You’re kidding here, right? Take a look at my sterling state’s list of convicted felons who once were Governors:

    – Otto Kerner (D)
    – Dan Walker (D)
    – George Ryan (R)

    …and soon to be sharing a cell with his Gubernatorial predecessor, Gov. “Hot Rod” Blagoevich!

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  37. Obama knows how to fight.

    Correction: He sounds like he knows how to fight.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (76097c)

  38. Yeah, TOTUS is the bad ass here – POTUS, not so much.

    Dmac (5ddc52)

  39. BHO is the poster-child for “Rectal-Cranial Inversion Syndrome”!

    AD - RtR/OS! (827e91)

  40. bored again is giving us more comedy, I see.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  41. And he’s still facing a racist pathological backlash. No denying that at this point.

    No? Really? That’s like . . . what? . . . a rule?

    It’s funny – I see these statements all over the map – people telling me that something is a completely settled question, an undeniable fact, a “consensus”, if you will – and it took me some time to figure out that this is the clear mark of the Big Lie.

    So, no, you can’t have your way simply by holding your breath until you turn blue, or by crying that every obstruction is racially based. It used to work, but y’all overdid it. Now, it’s just pathetic. It’s become the new Hitler in the old Godwin’s Law.

    Most of us do not dislike Obama because he’s black. We dislike him because he’s a far-left egotistical thieving ignorant know-it-all. He could be a purple far-left egotistical thieving ignorant know-it-all, and I would like him just as much as I do now.

    bobby b (4baf73)

  42. I don’t believe Obama knows how to fight. He knows how to act as the figurehead for a Chicago political machine that knows how to fight.

    He isn’t an empty suit; he views the world through the same ideological prison as they do. The problem with the world is that the US commands too many of the world’s resources, and too many of those resources aren’t controlled by a central authority with them in charge of it.

    It isn’t inexperience or naivete that shapes his policies. If it were, there would be some hope of him eventually permitting himself to be influenced by contrary evidence. Instead he’ll simply retrench, in the firm conviction that any problems that he hasn’t solved are simply evidence that he hasn’t centralized enough authority.

    Obama doesn’t know how to fight. His enemies are all within the borders of the US, and his allies are perfectly willing to take them on for him. He won’t have to do his own dirty work, which permits him to act as if he’s above it all. And let’s him have it both ways.

    It’s getting to be a threadbare act. Too bad people didn’t catch on to the fact that it’s an act a year ago. But maybe it’s better late than never.

    Steve (f79f95)

  43. The problem with the world is that the US commands too many of the world’s resources

    Not taking issue with your comment other than this particular phrase. You are confusing “command of” with “consumption of.” Meaning the US purchases from foreign entities all the resources that are not available domestically. Just to provide one resource example, it is generally accepted that approximately 80% of petroleum is controlled by foreign state owned or controlled oil companies. So much for all the ragging on “American Big Oil” in that they purchase most of their oil from foreign sources…at prices dictated by foreigners. Since oil is one the US’s greatest imported resources you can see how the US arguably does not command the world’s most in demand resource. In fact, the US is in jeopardy of even more competition for crude oil from the emerging markets of Asia and other less fettered economies. That is, our consumption is less than guaranteed going forward. As it turns out, the resource rich nations are keeping more and more of their own production and taking it off the table.

    political agnostic (e06f4b)

  44. Well, maybe I was trying too much cover ground. But I meant more by “commands too many resources” than the ability to buy energy from foreign sources, or even our consumption of raw materials in general.

    I was was also thinking of elements of national power.

    Steve (9456f6)

  45. Dear (Arrogantly Deaf) Mr Obama, A Video…

    I remember hearing that Barack Obama, before he ever gained political office, refused to hear any opinion that countered his. It was at a time when he was playing professor. (I don’t know if he was ever officially a professor or if he taught in …

    Truth Before Dishonor (bd1ac8)


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