There have been presidents in the past who were ideological [which can be a good term if the ideology is centered on limited government and constitutionalism], yet most were willing to work with those with whom they disagreed when necessary.
There have been presidents who were political bullies, using whatever means necessary to achieve their goals, not caring one bit for morality [LBJ comes to mind].
There have been presidents who were incompetent [Carter, anyone?].
What we have now is a like a perfect storm—a president who partakes of all three of these dubious qualities.
President Obama has been arguably the most ideological president in American history. His education, his community organizing days, the people with whom he surrounds himself all point in one direction—full-fledged progressivism with a vengeance.
When the healthcare bill faced such stiff and angry opposition throughout the country, most commentators figured Obama would pull a Clinton—triangulate and compromise. I didn’t believe he would because I had learned too much about him even before he won the 2008 election. He is an ideologue first and foremost, and his goal is government control of as much of the economy as he can get.
We are seeing that ideology get in the way again in the Gulf. He’s not a fan of oil. It really suits his long-term purposes to subvert the oil industry. If enough people are upset with BP, they may be more open to punitive measures against the industry as a whole. That opens the door for his “green” agenda, which, even as he said during the campaign, would lead to skyrocketing price increases on energy across the board.
Obama is also the product of the Democratic machine in Chicago, which has a history of corruption that goes back into the nineteenth century. He was schooled in this approach, and he uses it to wield a rhetorical club against all who oppose him. He pushes for his way without any regard for constitutional limitations on his authority. We’ll see more of this in the future.
Lately, though, the third component has come more to the forefront: his stark incompetence. The Gulf oil spill showcases it, although some of that may be linked to his ideology, as noted above. The latest outrage is that he refuses to send more skimmers to the Gulf. Why? He’s concerned that they may be needed where they are in case another oil spill occurs.
What about taking care of this one?
He dragged his feet on sending help to Louisiana. He has refused to accept help from foreign nations; he won’t suspend an old act of Congress that requires all ships working on the cleanup be American-made. Of course, there’s a political slant to this one.
Even the recent flap over Gen. McChrystal, which ended in his resignation from his post in Afghanistan, stems from Obama’s incompetence. McChrystal, to be sure, was out of line [as well as foolish for allowing a Rolling Stone writer to tag along with his staff], and should have been dismissed. However, the reason he and his staff got into trouble in the first place is because they were fed up with the Obama team’s lack of experience. Obama himself, according to McChrystal, was totally unprepared to talk about the military situation when he first met with the general. It was nothing more than a photo op.
The incompetence issue is only inflamed by the amount of time the president has spent on recreational activities during the oil spill crisis. The head of BP gets away one time for a yacht race and he is pilloried [he truly has one of the worst concepts of public relations ever witnessed], yet the president’s golf outings and other events are not criticized by the Obamamedia. Fortunately, we have some cartoonists who stay on top of these things.