Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Novice or Underqualified?

Earlier today I had a discussion with a friend about Obama's ability to run the world (to the degree an American president can, which is always more than anyone else, and less than he'd like). My interlocuter was of the opinion that he's in way over his head and not likely to grow into the job; I was of the opinion that he's in way over his head but may yet grow. We both agreed that he came to the job woefully unprepared; the disagreement was whether there's a learning curve that can take him high enough soon enough.

The job of POTUS is extraordinarily complicated, and no-one comes to it fully prepared; as a general observation I think it's reasonable to need up to two years of on-the-job training.

Rob Satloff at the New Republic seems to be on my side of the discussion, arguing that Obama's MidEast policy was all wrong, but now he may be fixing it. I hope he's right; and I can see why my friend this afternoon is less convinced. (Via Jeffrey Goldberg).


Anonymous said...

I agree he is in over his head and it is interesting to muse about whether and in what circumstances he might learn (although I fear those circumstances might prove deadly to many). However, it seems to me that in order to learn, one must be humble enough to consider that others might be wiser and that one might be wrong or vulnerable to error. I have not seen those qualities in President Obama.

AKUS said...

I voted for Hilary not Obama, fearing exactly what we are seeing - a good person, with good ideas, and little or no experience of Washington or the world. Not only is he in over his head, his misplaced attempts to solve all problems at once rather than prioritizing has been his undoing. His latest diversion, the trip to Denmark to plead for the 2016 Olympics for the US is undignified, and, if he is turned down, will simply fuel the feeling that this a person who really doesn't understand his job. His fiasco over the settlement freeze, and the debacle in the desert with the Saudis have probably set back any possibility of moving forward on the I/P issue since it led the Palestinians to believe that he would "deliver" Israel lock stock and barrel to the - ending any chance of negotiations until they see that this will not happen.