Obama Thinks!

Obama fancies himself The Thinker (by Auguste Rodin)

Gasp!

Did you know that Obama actually thinks? More than that, did you know that Obama thinks that the job of the President of the United States is to think?

H/t my ol’ friend Sol!

~Eowyn

The Thinker

Barack Obama explains his job.

By JAMES TARANTO - Wall St. Journal – May 28, 2010

What exactly is the job of the president of the United States? Let’s ask the man who currently holds that position, Barack Obama:

But he's really The MadHatter (Design by BKeyser)

My job right now is just to make sure that everybody in the Gulf understands this is what I wake up to in the morning and this is what I go to bed at night thinking about: the spill.

Obama’s job description is fascinating. He has been depicted as a proponent of “activist government,” but this may be a bum rap. Now he tells us he thinks that if he somehow gets people to think about him and how much he’s thinking about what he thinks they think he should be thinking about, his job is done.

Which raises only two questions: First, if the requirements of his job are so modest, why is he still having trouble meeting them? Second, couldn’t all this cogitation be done at a cost of less than $3.5 trillion a year?

Are we being too literal here? If we are, then so is the pro-Obama New York Times, whose coverage of the press conference at which the president made the above statement likewise emphasizes his thought processes. Here’s how it begins:

President Obama uttered three words on Thursday that many of his 43 predecessors twisted themselves into knots trying with varying degrees of success to avoid: “I was wrong.”

He strode into the East Room to mount a robust defense of his handling of the largest oil spill in American history, reassuring the nation that he was in charge and would do “whatever is necessary” to stop and clean up the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico. But by the time he walked out an hour later, he had balanced that with a fairly unusual presidential self-critique.

He was wrong, he said, to assume that oil companies were prepared for the worst as he tried to expand offshore drilling. His team did not move with “sufficient urgency” to reform regulation of the industry. In dealing with BP, his administration “should have pushed them sooner” to provide images of the leak, and “it took too long for us” to measure the size of the spill.

Actually, that’s not a self-critique at all, but classic passive-aggressive behavior: I’m sorry. I was wrong. I should never have trusted you.

Earlier this week, “one who was there” told the Washington Post that in an Oval Office meeting, Obama commanded: “Plug the damn hole.” This leak–of the information, that is, not the oil–shows that Obama is doing what he conceives to be his job, namely trying to persuade people that he is thinking about the spill.

But for those who would actually like to see the damn hole plugged, the president looks impotent and irrelevant–so much so that this response from the Ayn Rand Center is a model of common sense and clarity:

That’s the politician’s answer to every intractable problem: give orders, issue threats, and wait for obedience. But the creative human mind cannot take orders like that. Notice I didn’t say, “refuses to take orders.” I said, “cannot take orders.”

By that I mean, the task of plugging a leak 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico is an engineering feat. BP’s acknowledged role in causing the leak does not alter the fact that careful study, creative thought, and the exacting deployment of technical and mechanical skills over long distances are all necessary in order to fix the leak. No amount of jaw clenching or bug-eyed threats from politicians can bring the solution one inch closer to reality. The human mind does not operate by force from outside. . . .

Obama’s petulant outburst brings to mind a scene from Atlas Shrugged featuring Kip Chalmers, a politician who is traveling by train from Washington, D.C., to California, where he’s running for office. When the train’s diesel engine is destroyed by accidentally running over a split rail, Chalmers issues furious demands, expecting they will result in instant technical solutions:

” ‘God damn these railroad people!’ said Kip Chalmers. ‘They’re doing it on purpose. They want to ruin my campaign. I can’t miss that rally! For Christ’s sake, Lester, do something!’ “

Even National Public Radio notes that “the public seems to understand that only BP, not the federal government, can plug the hole.”

After Katrina, liberals claimed that the Bush administration had failed in its response because conservatives “don’t believe in government.” The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne now argues that the Obama administration has failed in its response to the oil spill because . . . conservatives don’t believe in government! Seriously:

“Deregulation” is wonderful until we discover what happens when regulations aren’t issued or enforced. Everyone is a capitalist until a private company blunders. Then everyone starts talking like a socialist, presuming that the government can put things right because they see it as being just as big and powerful as its Tea Party critics claim it is.

But the truth is that we have disempowered government and handed vast responsibilities over to a private sector that will never see protecting the public interest as its primary task. The sludge in the gulf is, finally, the product of our own contradictions.

For a real contradiction, though, consider this detail from the Washington Post report on yesterday’s press conference:

At one point, Obama said he did not know whether Elizabeth Birnbaum–the director of the Minerals Management Service he blamed for allowing the oil industry to overrule environmental and safety concerns–had resigned or been fired hours before.

It is unreasonable to expect the government to be omnicompetent. It is entirely reasonable to expect the president to be competent to manage his own administration.

10 responses to “Obama Thinks!

  1. I admit it…I’m a ‘Capitalist.’ I do not believe now and never have believed the government can solve a problem. It is not that they are incapable–it’s that they assign everything to a committee and the disaster grows larger as they discuss in futility the solutions.

    Obama is a thinker…We are all thinkers…the real question here is at what level of intellectual capacity do we do our thinking.

    If I have a very low IQ and offer all my solutions from a teleprompter then all my personal thinking will not solve the world’s problems because my teleprompter is not turned on while I’m resting in my bed. It doesn’t read my thoughts so the world never hears them. Not only that, my IQ is so low my thoughts are meaningless.

    On the other hand, If my IQ is quite high, say around 130, I do not need a teleprompter. I will not only think out a solution I will act upon that solution.

    Obama reads what his teleprompter tells him to say. This means he does not think. Trust me—MY logic is sound , grasshopper.

    The rest of us think all the time; that’s why Capitalism works–it’s propagated by thinkers.

    The problem in the gulf will eventually be rectified, perhaps not to the satisfaction of the people, but Obama will read from his teleprompter how wonderful he is and tell everyone how he solved this problem created by the Bush administration.

  2. Eowyn, thank you for this excellent expose’! Haven’t we all heard that “actions speak louder than words.” It took Mr. Obama 39 days to get to Louisiana-think about it Mr. Obama-think about it-39 days! Give me a break! He had the opportunity to do his job and organize an immense effort to help all of those people, the gulf, the wildlife. He DID NOTHING, and he has still DONE NOTHING EFFECTIVE AND INGENIUS IN THIS NATIONAL EMERGENCY!

  3. “I do not believe now and have never believed the government can solve a problem”
    “The government” is listed below:
    Army,Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard.
    DOT, FEMA/DHS, FBI, CIA,IRS, DEA, INS,ATF.
    The Supreme Court.The Nat. Park Service.
    Social Security Admin. Department of Agriculture.Food and drug Admin.
    OSHA ,The State department.
    Your State, The National Guard of your State.
    Your City and County government,
    Your local fire/ rescue dept.
    Your local police/ County Sheriff, Fish and game.

    • Congratulations, you’ve won the Let’s-exploit-a-statement-as-literal-for-the-sake-of-making-a-juvenile-point Award for this Memorial Day, 2010.

  4. Erry, then you live in fantasy land. Many problems have been solved through government, as long as the people are in charge, not a traitor, a dictator and an elitist. Our country, through and by the people, began through government. And by the way, Erry, your examples are really so poor, because anyone can go through each and every category and show how problems were solved, people were saved and freedom obtained. Think! Think!

  5. Joan,
    I agree the government does, in its own way, solve problems, but they are extremely slow and committee poor. For real problem solving give me a private entrepreneur any day.

  6. Joan, I suppose we all have our fantasy.
    I truly wish we could live without “government”.
    There are many laws I’d like to see repealed, many unfair practices eliminated.
    Sadly, without government, we would live in a place like Somalia.
    Even a sand lot football game needs rules, ‘else the strong lieterally kill the weak; same in vulture capitalism as we have seen in the banking industry.
    Currently, your credit score determines your fate; part government, part private enterprise.
    And if I had to depend on neighbors if my property caught fire, I’d be in sad shape.I’d MUCH rather have our county fire / rescue guys!
    Cheers!

  7. Unfortunately, when the experiment of government is democracy, the voters become the power. Left to their own devices, all governments corrupt themselves by extrapolating more power unto themselves.
    Ideally, power to the people works only when the people understand the issues and have a stake in the outcome. In our country the government strives for complete control of the people while the people strive for control over the government. In either case, there can be no true winner.
    The answer to the dilemma, while not a simple one was a Representative Republic.

    The people, at that time the property owners, exercised democracy at the lower level of the government and certain elected officials appointed leaders at the higher level of government.

    As time passed new laws allowing uneducated non property owners to vote emerged bringing about the demise of the Representative Republic. By allowing those with no stake in the country to exercise democracy the power of the land owner diminished and the power of the uneducated took over. If it was not for the uneducated free loaders in this society, Obama would still be in Kenya.

    Welcome to mob rule….Democracy.

  8. We are supposed to have a government by the people, for the people….We now have a dictator who doesn’t care about what the people say. He doesn’t care about the Constitution as he forces his corrupt and evil ideology upon this Nation. If you re-read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, it will remind you what this country is about, what our government is supposed to be about. Have you ever heard of an administration with czars? I don’t think the use of that word was just for fun. I do know that the truth always comes out and I am waiting anxiously to watch it unfold as it is already unfolding!

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