From Glenn Thrush’s new e-book on Barack Obama‘s campaign for reelection (Obama’s Last Stand:
The president’s only complaint about [Peter] Rouse’s tenure as temporary chief of staff in late 2010 (admittedly, a big one) was that too many papers and people were making it through Rouse’s filter to the Oval Office, several current and former White House aides told me.
From his earliest days as an adult, Barack Obama has shown a marked aversion to…well…work. I wrote about this characteristic in Obama’s Work Ethic. As President he routinely outsources the heavy lifting to others, including the drafting and passing of Obamacare. Foreign policy decisions are delegated to the Arab League or/and the United Nations (“leading from behind”). Decisions are just punted (Iran) or just postponed until after the election (XL Pipeline) or just left in limbo (“the fiscal cliff”, “entitlement reform”, etc.). This is one reason why he has withdrawn from the prospect of projecting American power and influence overseas — that would involve way too much labor on his part.
He has all too often been found A.W.O.L. even when crisis approaches. His decision-making style has been marked by flaws on numerous levels (read, if you have a strong stomach, “How Obama Makes Decisions” for insight into how bad decisions are made). He has barely met with his Cabinet and has not met with his Jobs Council all year.
Among the reasons for his failure as President has been reliance on a small cadre of unqualified and very left-wing people , including his long-time consigliore, Valerie Jarrett.
With Thrush’s nugget above we see two of Obama’s worst failings. One is his reliance on a few people. Compare and contrast other Presidents (including Bill Clinton) who thrived on the prospect of listening to the top experts in various fields while formulating policy.
The second reason for Obama’s failure involves his lack of a work ethic. Mickey Kaus has noted that decision-making has often culminated in his few trusted aides giving him memos with boxes for him to check off regarding what to do regarding the important issue at stake. When I was in school we always liked multiple-choice exams because…well…they were so easy. If he were a chief executive of any company, he would have been fired long ago.
That is not nearly as fun as playing hoops, swinging a driver, lining up a putt and going to endless fundraisers and vacations, courtesy of the beleaguered American taxpayer.