Monday, September 24, 2012

Inheriting the Presidency

Barack Obama speaks of the presidency as though it were his birthright.

What else are we to make of his constant harping on all the problems he “inherited.”

Obama keeps whining about how he “inherited” a bad economy. When need be, he whines about how he “inherited” a bad situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His rationale for re-election is that he has done the best he could under the circumstances he “inherited.”

The point has been made before, often enough, that no one inherits the American presidency. America is not a hereditary monarchy.

Obama is president because he wanted the job, lusted after the job, competed for the job and even fought for the job.

Of course, he did try to persuade voters that the job was his by right. In many cases he succeeded. He might succeed again. Still, he did not inherit the office of the presidency or the challenges that come with it.

Yet, Obama continues to complain about the situation he inherited because he is a master at shifting the blame. When something goes wrong it is never his fault.

Digging a little deeper we could add that if Obama has the feeling that he inherited the presidency, then perhaps he is signaling that the job he thought he would have is not the job he does have.

Considering how little Obama knew about the functioning of the federal government it makes sense that he was running for a phantasm of a job, not the real thing.

Once he found himself in the Oval Office he did not know who he was, where he was, or what he had to do to fulfill the terms of a job that was differed radically from what he had imagined.

By saying that the job is not what he wanted and not what he asked for, he is admitting, unconsciously, that the job is largely beyond his abilities.

Were he to do the honorable thing Obama would not run for a second term. But that would not be the Obama way.

Our president wants to be re-elected because he wants the American people to declare him a great success, his record notwithstanding. As a product of a self-esteemist culture, Obama seems to believe that if enough people can be conned into thinking that he is doing a great job, then he is doing a great job.

Or, at least, he is doing the best that could have been done under the circumstances.

All the while, Obama is basing his re-election campaign on the unspoken premise that his opponent sees the presidency as his birthright.

You can't get more shameless.


Ari said...

You can't get more shameless? Get real, Stuart! Obama will find a way. He always has.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

You're probably right... I guess I was just hoping...

Anonymous said...

Stuart, don't hope. It's not about "Hope and Change" anymore. It's about moving "Forward," which means more of the (shameless) same. Unless he can articulate what we're moving "Foward" toward. But don't hold your breath.


Anonymous said...

Now I know what a "life coach" does.


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous #2

One key part of a life coach's training and experience is to listen in a way that is distinct from how the vast majority of people listen. A coach worth his salt listens to the context: the core interpretation that is driving the content. Another component of this work is to support the client in taking responsibility for their life and make effective choices that support the client's life vision. In so doing, the coach pays a great deal of attention to language and the way people use it. This kind of listening is not a skill you just "turn off" when listening to public discourse. You notice things within a person's speaking that indicate their worldview. Words mean things because human beings are constantly communicating the meaning they attach to their relationships with/to people, places and things. That is why I read Stuart Schneiderman's blog: what he says is incisive, it cuts trough all the clutter.

The President chose to pursue the top job and succeeded by being elected by a majority of our population. His election secured him a position of great status and responsibility. He enjoys the former, but not the latter. He has effectively declared himself a victim to the circumstances he encountered upon taking office. Indeed, these same circumstances are, in large part, the reason he was elected in the first place, despite a resume demonstrating no qualifications for executive office. President Obama then spent his time in office making inept choices regarding the public's most pressing issues: the economy and jobs. He is responsible for his choices, yet he portrays himself as a victim. Such a stance is not leadership. It does not project deep power. Whining and complaining are not endearing qualities. Yet the President of the United States, our nation's leader, does this regularly.

President Obama likes to share a lot of content with the country, but the context is the same: I'm not responsible for my results. In fact, his saying "You didn't build that!" to those who built a succsful business says a lot about who he is when it's viewed as a self-reflection. Again, a good coach will remind a client: "What you cannot be with in others is what you cannot be with in yourself." Gives a whole meaning to "You didn't build that!" Doesn't it? Perhaps he doesn't feel responsible for his choices and/or results. I find that troubling.

Public office is just that -- public office. President Obama wants all of the authority and trappings of his office, with none of the responsibility. In so doing, he has unwittingly aligned himself with the bailed-out Wall Street bankers who pursued and enjoyed all the profits, while socializing all the losses. We all know the esteem which Americans hold big bankers in these days.

A great life coach holds people accountable to their highest self. You are responsible for creating the future you desire. You are responsible for your choices. You are responsible for your results. You created that future vision, not someone else. You are not a victim. You are not your complaints and excuses.

Barack Obama could've been the reformer and post-partisan president he said he would be. He chose not to govern that way. That was his choice. He's responsible for his results. And he can be responsible for turning things around. That said, the context behind the campaign language he is using indicates this will not come to pass. That's a choice, too. And it's sad.

Being president is not about you.


David Foster said...

"President Obama wants all of the authority and trappings of his office, with none of the responsibility"

I'm reminded again of a passage in Nicholas Monsarrat's novel "The Cruel Sea," which I've quoted here before. The captain of a WWII sub-hunting vessel is confronted with a cruel decision: should he try to save some men in the water as a result of a sinking, at the risk of having his *own* ship sunk by a U-boat known to be lurking in the area.

"It was Ericson's decision alone. It was a captain's moment, a pure test of nerve; it was, once again, the reality that lay behind the saluting and the graded discipline and the two-and-a-half stripes on the sleeve. While Ericson, silent on the bridge, considered the chances, there was not a man on the ship who would have changed places with him."

Of course, the psychological stress of the decision lies in the fact that Captain Ericson feels a sense of responsibility to *both* the shipwrecked men and to his own crew. It is not at all clear that President Obama rises to that level.

Sam L. said...

I'm tired or this "inherited" BS. He ran for office; he fundraised furiously; he beat up Hilary! to do it; and he complained about what a bad job BUSH!!!!11!!!! did the entire time. And HASN'T stopped complaining.
Favorite song: Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me!