June 24, 2009

"Like adolescents suddenly liberated from adult supervision," new Presidents may "do the exact opposite of what their predecessors did."

Says Michael Barone, in a column all about how Barack Obama needs to "grow up."

Is that the problem?

34 comments:

garage mahal said...

What's the problem?

traditionalguy said...

Doing the opposite of Bush in the Middle-East is not because Pres. Obama is uneducated in diplomacy. It is because he wants to use his gift to bring the factions at war there to a Peace Treaty where he will rule the agenda. To bad about those Iranian students messing everything up by trying to replace the Iranian Nuclear card with a wild card to Obama's carefully scripted hand.

Salamandyr said...

I'm not sure that Obama's behavior is merely a reflexive antipathy to seeming "Bush-like".

I think it is simply that the President does not see the events in Iran as "his problem". Considering his tendency to frame any argument or situation into a facet of his life story, this leads me to believe his interests in the world are largely concerned with how those events affect him personally, for good or ill.

In international policy terms, this is known as "realism". In real life terms it's known as "selfishness".

MadisonMan said...

If you are campaigning for change, and against the previous administration's policy -- my impression is that many many Presidents have adopted this tactic -- aren't you kind of expected to do things opposite to what your predecessor did? Barone himself makes this point. He should have crafted a different theme to his article.

Should W just have continued Clinton's policies? Should Clinton just have continued GHW Bush's? Should Reagan just have continued Carter's?

k*thy said...

The majority voted for change. Though, I'm suspicious of how much change is really going on.

bagoh20 said...

This not only explains some of his behavior, it explains his election.

I don't blame him, it's the American people who need to grow up. I love America and Americans, but childish irresponsibility among many of us is the root cause of most of our current problems. The recent move we have made to the left is the final phase of that. It's the credit card requested just before heading off to college. We will run it up, but this card will be paid off by our children who will likely be a more responsible generation, than ours which is the most childish in history. The starter pistol was that wonderful phrase "Don't trust anyone over 30." Narcissism, thy bill is due.

Zach said...

From the outside, it seems like Obama's goal has been to meet with Iran without preconditions, and he's been trying to keep that option alive for far too long. Every announcement has been too tame, too late, and has been overtaken by events by the time he releases it.

Somehow, a debate blunder from the primaries became Obama's big foreign policy goal.

Fred4Pres said...

The problem is not doing the exact opposite of his predecessor. The problem is Obama, like George Bush, is reluctant to change course once he makes a decision. Sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes that turns into stuborn rigidness.

Jim said...

There's little doubt that much of what Obama says and does is knee-jerk rejection of what that other guy did. [To be fair to him though, he's far from alone in his party.]

For example, Gitmo. Bush had detainees there, so it was a bad idea. There has never been a credible plan put forth by any opponent for an alternative. It's always been a bunch of adolescents stomping their feet on the ground and generally throwing a temper tantrum. Only when the adults in the room explained that there isn't a viable alternative and that the American public wasn't about to roll over for releasing them into the US was there any hesitation.

But, again like a stubborn child who refuses to admit that Mom and Dad were right all along, he still insists that he's going to close it by the end of the year and is willing to pay foreign governments hundreds of millions dollars to do exactly what we've been doing ourselves for thousands. That's the spiteful behavior of teenage boy who is bound and determined to cut off his nose to spite his face just to prove to his parents that he's willing to do so.

I've stated it before, and I repeat the assertion: Obama is emotionally a 14-year old boy. He might have gone to Harvard, but educating a boy is no guarantee that he'll become a man.

He's never in his life had to take responsibility for a single decision, and he's literally been handed every opportunity he's ever been given on a silver platter. He lacks the emotional maturity that comes with working hard to get what you want, experiencing failure and having to get back up again, and taking responsibility for his mistakes.

The inability of 53% of the country to recognize this essential failure is costing 100% of us an immeasurable amount.

Zach said...

Incidentally, note how "realism" aligns one's interests with the status quo. Any fool can condemn state security forces brutally attacking demonstrators. But a fool planning a summit can't do that, or the Iranians will pull out.

It's particularly obvious in this case, but investing in a summit means investing in the regime.

Salamandyr said...

Should W just have continued Clinton's policies? Should Clinton just have continued GHW Bush's? Should Reagan just have continued Carter's?

In W and Clinton's case, they both did. Bush' actions in re: Iraq were a logical progression from Clinton's. I was in the Army at the end of President Clinton's term, we were very, very close to war with them then.

Likewise Clinton continued Bush's invasion of Somalia, and expanded it.

Maguro said...

The problem is Obama, like George Bush, is reluctant to change course once he makes a decision.

I think that's about right. Obama campaigned on the notion that engagement with the Iranian regime was *a good thing* and can't let go of that idea in the face of changed circumstances.

Whatever legitimacy the regime might have claimed is gone now, and who could possibly believe that they would honor any agreement they might sign with Obama? A treaty with the mullahs isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Best to let go of the whole idea, but Obama seems determined to have his summit with Iran, come what may.

bagoh20 said...

It's not whether you stick to a policy or change it, it's what the policy is. I loved Bush's stubbornness. It saved Iraq. Can you imagine the mess there if he softened and pulled out in 2007-08. The shot in the arm to jihadists that would have been? They would be flooded with recruits and money right now.

Robert Cook said...

Barone is a marone.

Dave said...

I'm not sure what Barone means by all of this, except that he obviously likes calling Obama an adolescent.

Many conservatives, like Glenn Reynolds, like to point out how closely Obama hews to the policies of his predecessor. So which is it?

Obama can't win. If he sticks to what he campaigned on, he's a child. If he alters his approach, he's more of the same. Nice racket, punditry is.

Can't we simply have a disagreement as to how these events in Iran should be handled? Obviously not. Barone resorts to name calling.

Robert Cook said...

"I loved Bush's stubbornness. It destroyed Iraq."

There, I fixed that for you.

TosaGuy said...

"Barone is a marone."

A very adolescent retort.

bagoh20 said...

""I loved Bush's stubbornness. It destroyed Iraq."

Do they have Internet where you live or did you mail that in back in 2005?

bagoh20 said...

I smell troll ass.

Zach said...

Obama can't win.

He can't win on Iran, because all of a sudden his big goal (summit with Ahmadinejad) just became the worst case scenario.

He could win on Guantanamo by coming up with a policy that a) makes sense b) doesn't need Guantanamo, and c) isn't the exact same thing in another location. Ideally, he would have come up with such a policy before publicly ordering Gitmo's closure.

Obama's troubles are his own making.

Jim said...

Zach -

He could have saved himself a whole lot more trouble by actually doing his homework before opening his yap.

He wouldn't had to reverse himself on so many Bush policies if he actually decided to be a grown-up before he ran for office.

William said...

There really is something developmental and unformed at the center of Obabam's policies. I am not criticizing the positions he has taken on Iran, but he speaks not from his core but from the way events play out. Our problems with Iran have other causes than Bush's harsh rhetoric and will have other cures than Obama's soft words.....I can't help but notice the paradox that Obama would not have been as circumspect in his words if the Shah had used such tactics......About the missle defense shield: it is not necessary that it work; it is sufficient that countries like N Korea or Iran think that it might work. Beyond this, money is being funneled into "shovel ready" projects. Isn't the missle defense shield a shovel ready probject? I think that if they solve some of the problems inherent in missle defense there will be many useful applications. Aviation, telecommunications, and computers are based on run-offs from defense programs that liberals would have wished to cancel. In the long run the way a society treats its engineers is more important than the way it treats its drug addicts. But liberals give more points to programs that help addicts than those that employ engineers.

Dave said...

"He can't win on Iran, because all of a sudden his big goal (summit with Ahmadinejad) just became the worst case scenario."

It may be the worst case scenario, but it is still, at this late date, the most likely scenario.

The larger point is that you can't have it both ways. He can't be both someone who, without thought, charts a different course from his predecessor and someone who represents more of the same, in terms of his policies. He's either charting a different course or he's not.

jdeeripper said...

"Like adolescents suddenly liberated from adult supervision," new Presidents may "do the exact opposite of what their predecessors did." Says Michael Barone

Wasn't that GW Bush's problem, rebelling against Daddy Bush?

Seems like that, along with Israeli activist neoconservativeism, is what created the Iraq mess.

Daddy Bush was Mr. Prudent, GW was Mr. Reckless.

madawaskan said...

Ooooh looky!

It's Maureen Dowd....

Was he rebelling or just Daddy's boy-could you make up your mind-

honey?

madawaskan said...

Oh and do get over your Bush fixation, and all the other baggage-it just isn't pretty.

former law student said...

Conservatives have a hard time finding a hook on which to hang their criticisms of Obama -- here Barone has seized the "black = white" theme.

Now, what are some adolescent characteristics? Unilateral evasion of commitments is typical of slacker youth. Here the President who shrugged his way out of the ABM treaty was G.W. Bush. The President who believes that pacta sunt servanda is Obama.

The weight of actual facts makes Barone's pitiful hook collapse further:

MISSILE DEFENSE
U.S. 'ready' in case of N. Korean missiles

by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Jun 22, 2009

There is growing concern in the United States that communist-ruled North Korea may be planning to fire a long-range missile toward Hawaii on or about U.S. Independence Day, July 4, after the U.N. Security Council passed tough new sanctions in response to North Korea's nuclear tests.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States is "fully prepared" to defend itself from a North Korean missile strike.
His comments followed those of U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week that the military had bolstered its defenses in Hawaii in preparation for a potential North Korean missile launch toward U.S. territory.

The U.S. Navy is also tracking a North Korean ship that has been linked to banned missile-related cargo.

Pyongyang retorted Monday that as a "proud nuclear power" it would hit back if it thought it was under attack.

And although Obama said he was not warning of a military response, the United States is prepared for any eventuality.

"This administration -- and our military -- is fully prepared for any contingencies," he told CBS television in an interview Sunday that was aired Monday.

"I don't want to speculate on hypotheticals," he told the CBS interviewer. "But I do want to give assurances to the American people that the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted in terms of what might happen."

Another characteristic: Adolescent girls in particular will ostracize another girl, refusing to speak to her or even acknowledge her existence. By offering to negotiate with even our worst enemy, Obama showed his maturity.

Moreover, while the no-negotiation policy was im place, global pariah North Korea developed not only ICBMs but nuclear warheads. Likely, if the US had kept lines of communication open with North Korea, it would not have been able to maintain the necessary level of secrecy.

Overall, Barone exhibits the adolescent traits of envy and jealousy -- like Obama he went to the best private school in his locality, like Obama he graduated from one Ivy League school and got his law degree from another. But unlike Obama his record of accomplishment contains only a string of verbiage in column and book form. Anybody can kibitz, few live up to their potential.

madawaskan said...

FLS-

Aren't you the guy that passes moral judgment on anyone who participated in any war?

Even WW II vets.

It isn't too hard to deduce how you stayed out of it-"former law student" explains it all....

That kind of moral superiority from a sheltered position while preaching your superior Christianity-it really is something relish-good for you I guess.

You're lucky.

bagoh20 said...

"But unlike Obama his record of accomplishment contains only a string of verbiage in column and book form."

This is the kind of statement. I just don't get. That is exactly what Obama's accomplishments consist of minus the columns. He wrote 2 books about himself. In his 40's and no real jobs, never ran anything. Made no great personal sacrifices. He may be a fine person and father, but the facts are facts.

You surely know that, but take this position anyway. It's utterly strange.

former law student said...

Aren't you the guy that passes moral judgment on anyone who participated in any war?

Even WW II vets.

What are you talking about?

How is it relevant?

This is the kind of statement. I just don't get.

The summit of Barone's career was being a pundit for the third-ranked national newsweekly. The summit of Obama's career is being President of the United States. If your impression is that Obama is merely "some guy who wrote two books," I don't know how I can bring you up to date.

Cedarford said...

Says Michael Barone, in a column all about how Barack Obama needs to "grow up."
Is that the problem?
.

Part of Obama's success within Democratic ranks was by being the anti-Bush. "Untainted" by partial support for Bush in any vote...unlike Hillary, Edwards, Dodd...and so on. His 'purity' was absolute.
Unfortunately, many Presidents following failed Presidents (Carter, Bush II) or unpopular but not failed ones (Nixon-Ford, LBJ) tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Many of our current economic catastrophes were laid out by Reaganites over-reacting to attempts by LBJ/Carter/McGovernites old silly FDR Coalition people to supposedly "over-regulate" the wise, freedom-loving, free-trade masters of Wall Street and the US banking, export trade systems.

--------------

JDeeripper does accurately mention a big part of Bush's failure was his contrarian instinct to go against what his father did. Rebel against his Dad's policies and achievements.

1. Fiscal responsibility was old, fuddy-duddy HW Bush stuff. And may have cost him re-election. Bush II knew better that reckless spending and tax cuts targeting and benefiting mainly the wealthy could buy votes. China would lend it because the dollar was supreme, credit was unlimited, and future generations - not his voters - would get stuck with the tab.
2. HW spent "too much time" talking to foreign leaders to get consensus and not enough Reaganite boasting how we kicked ass, or asserting we were Top Dogs. Dad was too wimpy. Just telling foreigners what to do with ultimatums was a lot easier than tedious yakking.
3. Dad failed to listen to beloved Israel. On the need for more Settlement expansion, the need to invade Iraq and finish the job. Besides, the neocons had it all figured out...on what to do after 9/11.
4. Dad tried too hard trying to bring in different folks to the Republican Party when all Rove said we need to do is stay with who we have and Excite The Base!

Obama, whose dad was a drunk and a child abandoner, lacks Bush's daddy's footsteps problem. But he is not acting smart like Ike, Nixon did following an unpopular or failed Administration..using prudent judgment. He is still kowtowing to the Left and progressive Jews in media who were anti-Everything Bush Did.

Even Bush II, like Carter, got a few things right.

mccullough said...

Obama seems to think there's a "solution" to Iran and North Korea that doesn't involve either letting them have nukes or going to war.

I don't see how anyone can call this realism. You can't negotiate and debate with some people.

Maguro said...

Likely, if the US had kept lines of communication open with North Korea, it would not have been able to maintain the necessary level of secrecy.

Leaving aside the fact that the Bush administration *did* negotiate with North Korea (6-party talks), how does this statement even make sense? Are you saying it would have been impossible for the Norks to sit across from us at a conference table while secretly continuing nuke development? I don't see how the two are related.

How would open lines of communication with the US impair North Korea's secrecy? Would their negotiator let the truth slip out by accident or something?

Bruce Hayden said...


The summit of Barone's career was being a pundit for the third-ranked national newsweekly. The summit of Obama's career is being President of the United States. If your impression is that Obama is merely "some guy who wrote two books," I don't know how I can bring you up to date
.

Yes, and now he is our President.

Let me suggest that a lot of his problems result from the fact that he really didn't know what he was talking about, in many of his policy statements. He just hadn't been around long enough to understand the issues. So, he took the anti-Bush route, and is now (hopefully) finding that his predecessor wasn't always wrong.

But I think he finds himself being counseled by a lot of very strong people who are able to push him around, and really don't have much skin in his game. And, he still owes a lot of the leftist fringe for his election.

We shall see if he grows into office. So far, not too much. But we have at least 3 1/2 years left.