Out of the mouths of ordinary folk.
Jennifer Rubin has a post over at the Contentions @ Commentary blog detailing a round table discussion over at Politico Arena. The topic of discussion that the “experts” are talking about is whether Obama lost his charisma. Now, mind you, I never believed Obama to be a charismatic individual. Indeed, if you read David Freddoso’s The Case Against Barack Obama you’ll find that Obama was quite a petty individual given in to bouts of anger. In particular when Obama was running as a State Senator he employed thuggish tactics to get votes of his opponent negated so that he may win. This is not the behavior of a person who is charismatic because if you’re a charismatic individual then you would be able to win people over with your charm and not by employing legal maneuvers to undercut your opponent, no? A reader of the Arena blog reminds us that Obama was never particularly charismatic:
Lest you forget: millions of people, me included, never found Obama charismatic at all. Half the country, the truth to tell. I voted against a Democrat for the first time in over 40 years because of his candidacy – he always seemed to me exactly as he has turned out- a man who probably can take a test well, but has zero imagination, a man who thinks leading is telling people what he wants (though he sometimes doesn’t even do that), a man who constantly speaks ambiguously in order to always have an out. The last results in poor, unclear, and soft decisions, and a simultaneous judgement on the part of those who voted for him that he is so terribly bright. The majority of voters, but far from all, simply read him wrong. But we all are paying the price. Perhaps some of you who are clinging to the carefully (and expensively) molded image will finally drop the last line of defense: that this is a brilliant man who is being undone by those surrounding him. It has become an article of PC to refer to this man as smart, but he has proven that he is not. It is not impolite to recognize this and to state it, and quite the contrary, it dose a disservice to those looking for expert and knowlegable guidance.
I especially like latter portion of the commenter’s post. I assume that for most of Obama’s life he has been told that he is a smart and charismatic individual and because of this he never had to amount to anything. This has been a disservice to him because it inflated his ego beyond his actual accomplishments. This only continued during the campaign and for the beginning months of his presidency. How many times did we hear that Obama is a charismatic individual, even though we knew him to be petty? How many times did we hear that Obama is a gifted orator, even though he reads from a teleprompter and when he did not have the teleprompter he was prone to saying stupid things? How many times did we hear that he was a voice of moderation, even though he had the most extreme voting record both in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate? How many times did we hear that he was a smart, scholarly individual, even though we never received proof of his scholarly work and he has never released any of his school papers and grades?
The above questions were never answered and because they were never answered, Obama has never properly developed a negative feedback loop that would tell him what areas he needed to improve upon to be at least an average President. The media may have thought they did Obama a great service by shielding him from these types of questions, but in actuality they have done him (and by extension the American people) a great disservice by not forcing Obama to adequately address his shortcomings by being forthcoming.
This is affirmative action at its worst. In essence we have hired the first affirmative action President because we looked at Obama not for any of his accomplishments, but we looked at him based on vapid personal factors such as charisma, intelligence, and moderation. I say vapid because we never proved that Obama was charismatic, we never proved that he was intelligent and we never proved he was a moderate (actually, we proved that he is a Socialist, but let’s not let facts get in the way).
When we decide to hire people simply because of race, we do a disservice to both the employer who is not necessarily getting the most qualified candidate and to the people who are being hired not based upon any known qualification, but because of their skin color. In the end, everyone is worse off. This is not to say that the person can grow in the position, but so could a qualified candidate. I along with millions of other people told the world that Obama was not who he was portraying during the campaign, but the media in particular decided it was more important to keep Sarah Palin from being Vice President than it was giving “the first Black President” a chance. Now we all are paying for it, and the person hurting the most is Barack Obama.
Update: Actually, I am going to close with one of those “experts” from Politico Arena. I think Charles Calomiris’ post is a poignant one. I have always believed that a Democrat presents the best opportunity to educate other Democrats about the importance of free markets and capitalism. Mr. Calomiris agrees as well:
Imagine if the President said that opportunity and educational reform, not redistribution, would be the core of his economic policies to help the poor. Imagine if the President said that government control of healthcare will add to our fiscal disaster, and is unnecessary to achieve legitimate reform objectives. Imagine if the President recognized the extent to which tort reform would reduce medical costs. In other words, imagine if the President told the truth about our economic problems and their solutions. None of that is not going to happen, but if the President did any or all of these things, it would be a great act of leadership. It would also help him by disciplining the left of his party (who, when push comes to shove, cannot really challenge his power), and bringing independents and swing-state voters to him in droves, including lots of Republicans. It would shake Washington to its foundations. It would make a huge positive difference in the lives of billions of people.
Too bad it won’t happen.
Indeed. Too bad it won’t happen.