Day By Day

Sunday, March 08, 2009

If This Doesn't Scare You, Nothing Will

The Telegraph reports:

Barack Obama's offhand approach to Gordon Brown's Washington visit last week came about because the president was facing exhaustion over America's economic crisis and is unable to focus on foreign affairs, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.

Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.


Allies of Mr Obama say his weary appearance in the Oval Office with Mr Brown illustrates the strain he is now under, and the president's surprise at the sheer volume of business that crosses his desk.

A well-connected Washington figure, who is close to members of Mr Obama's inner circle, expressed concern that Mr Obama had failed so far to "even fake an interest in foreign policy".


The American source said: "Obama is overwhelmed. There is a zero sum tension between his ability to attend to the economic issues and his ability to be a proactive sculptor of the national security agenda.

Read it here. [emphasis mine]

At the least, this indicates that the President and his team were not prepared for the responsibilities of the positions they sought. But this also raises the question of Obama's personal inadequacies, both physical and mental, for the job he now holds.

We've heard the tiredness excuse before, during the campaign when Obama's lapses were blamed on his exhaustion [here]. At the time there were some questions raised concerning his health, but they were brushed aside. Now with more evidence of Presidential frailty, they emerge again. Is Obama physically and mentally up to the task of the Presidency? He seems to be wearing down quickly. It can't be that he is working too hard. He takes regular vacations and parties a lot..., a lot!

Maybe that's the problem.


Villainous Company has started an "Obama Exhaustion Watch" [here]. Check it out -- some funny stuff there.

Remember how they used to savage Reagan for taking naps? Of course you do.


Former spook over at "In From the Cold" also finds this report to be "scary stuff". He notes that other presidents, FDR, Reagan, Dubya, etc. faced similar or even greater crises early in their terms, yet none complained about the burdens of their jobs, recognizing that whining would simply diminish their credibility and their ability to confront the crises.

He writes:
As President Obama is about to discover, his sabbatical from international issues will soon come to an abrupt end, with potentially disastrous consequences. His recent decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan were comparatively easy, following courses already established by the Bush Administration.

Now comes the hard part. North Korea..., Iran...., Israel..., possible energy crises, [and the like].


If Mr. Obama is already overwhelmed by the requirements of his office, just wait a few months. His learning curve is just beginning.
Read it here.

This is scary stuff indeed. It is time for the Young Messiah to man up, to get serious about his job, and to begin to assume the responsibilities of the position to which he was elected.

I wonder when we are going to see SNL comics portraying Obama complaining about how hard the Presidency is.


Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club writes:

Everything is changing. Now they are facing the revenge of the second derivative: the rate of the rate of change. They are trying to restructure the government so it is run with Czars instead of cabinet secretaries; “engaging” hostile nations with little or no preconditions and getting blown off; changing the basis of the economy to conform to their untried vision of the future; creating the single greatest expansion of government since FDR; redesigning health care; holding consultations on everything and planning to save the world from Climate Change. They’re busy because crisis creates an “opportunity” for their own vague revolution.

The cumulative consequence of these actions is a vast increase in the amount of risk the entire system has to endure because variables are being added faster than they are being solved. The margins are gone — removed by design. The margins are in the way. But while things might hold together for so long as the road ahead is smooth, what happens if things hit a bump? What happens in the Obama administration, too preoccupied to “even fake an interest in foreign policy meets a sudden challenge?

So far the Obama administration has only had to deal with the economy. And despite their campaign handwringing about how much less safe America has become, its foreign enemies, perhaps still picking themselves up off the ground from the pasting they received at the hands of George W. Bushchimp, have not yet made a move. But one day they too may notice that nobody is at home.

Read the whole thing here.

Scary, indeed!