Monday, October 11, 2010

Will the Last Obama Supporter...

Will the last Obama supporter please turn out the lights.

That was my first reaction when I read Mark Halperin's assessment of the conventional wisdom about President Obama. Writing in Time Magazine this morning, the left-leaning journalist offered this view of the Obama presidency:

"With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle." 
It is a remarkable statement. 
Heretofore, such opinions would get you banned from polite society in the great cosmopolitan metropolis. Henceforth, they are conventional wisdom.

Opinions that you might have found on this among many other blogs, on conservative talk radio, on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and the National Review, have now gone mainstream.

Opinions that would label you some kind of wingnut are now part of civilized conversation.

It's like watching the marketplace of ideas in action. It's what happens when different points of view are freely thrown into the debate and people allow reality and truth to decide.
Imagine the terminal frustration of those who believed that they could control public opinion by monopolizing the debate.

But, the question remains, how did people who pride themselves on their sensible, rational, middle-of-the road judgment get fooled into thinking that an Obama presidency would have been anything other than what it has turned out to be?


David Foster said...

One reason, I think, why people fooled themselves is that they don't understand that there is such a thing as *executive skill.* Individuals who have never *run* anything--whether writers, professors, graphics artists, or stock traders--usually do not comprehend the difficulties of getting things done through other people, especially in large organizations. They focus on individual talent of some kind and tend to believe that the management stuff is trivial.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

I think you are absolutely right about this. There's a reason why executive skill is so highly compensated-- because it's so difficult to do well.

People who work on their own tend not to understand this very well.

It wasn't until I, for example, started coaching executives on business issues that I began to appreciate how difficult it is.

Intellectuals tend to see life as a classroom where you can tell someone what to do-- the homework, the test-- and have him or her do it.

And then, you have the ultimate authority to decide whether they have done it well or poorly.

Or else, they get their concept of leadership from plays and movies and television. If they do they will believe that leadership simply involves adopting a personal-- which they often assume resembles that of the drill sergeant at basic training.