Why Obama governs by crisis management

The headline from the liberal Washington Post was, “When things go wrong, Obama increasingly relies on his inner circle, not his Cabinet.” This confirms what I reported with my blogs entitled, “Why Obama’s Diplomacy Failed” and “Obama’s Failed Smart Diplomacy.”

The Washington Post reported “While President Obama has pledged to empower the people serving in his Cabinet, he continues to rely heavily on his inner circle to manage both his top policy priorities and on outside operators to fix the problems when things go awry.”

Contrary to that pledge, many former members of his administration have revealed his tendency only to listen to his inner circle of advisors. This is particularly troublesome because he constantly rejects the advice of experts. This is why his administration has increasingly engaged in crisis management.

The Washington Post elaborated on this tendency to rely only on the advice of his inner circle of political advisors.

“On several different occasions over the past year, the White House has found itself on the defensive on issues that it had long identified as key priorities — including providing health-care benefits for veterans, dealing with migrants at the Southern border and launching HealthCare.gov.

In each case, simmering bureaucratic problems erupted into full-fledged management crises — often after repeated assurances from the administration that it was on top of the issue — in a way that has made the West Wing look merely reactive. And in multiple instances — from the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups to the fact that Secret Service agents let an armed federal contractor on an elevator with Obama last month — the president’s aides said he learned about these issues through the press.

‘Instead of launching policies, they’re launching search-and-destroy missions against bad press releases,’ said David Rothkopf, editor of Foreign Policy Magazine and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Last year, as Obama began his second term, Rothkopf published an opinion piece in the New York Times titled ‘Managing the Oval Office’ which noted the president’s lack of executive experience before winning office in 2008 and argued that Obama had difficulty delegating responsibility.”

Many key people who were first employed by Obama left the administration. “Some of the harshest criticism of the president has come from some of the Cabinet’s biggest stars, including former defense secretaries Robert M. Gates and Leon E. Panetta and former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton. Each faulted Obama’s foreign policy — particularly on his approach to the Syrian civil war — in new books and promotional tours this year.”

One of the biggest surprises in the Washington Post story was quoting Vali Nasr. I previously reported Nasr’s disillusionment with Obama in my blog entitled, “Why Obama’s Diplomacy Failed.” The newspaper repeated what I had already posted on my blog when it wrote:

“Vali Nasr, who served as a top aide to former State Department special envoy Richard Holbrooke on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy, wrote a searing critique of the White House in a memoir published last year. Nasr charged that Obama advisers actively undermined Holbrooke, who died in 2010, by leaving him out of key meetings and ignoring his advice — in part because they feared Holbrooke was too eager for media attention.

‘Across the board, the administration views all these people as there to implement decisions made by a much smaller cabal,’ said Nasr, now the dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. ‘Policy was made above the rank of all these people. When it comes to critical decisions, it was always made by people inexperienced in foreign policy.’”

The only experience Obama’s closers advisers have is running political campaigns. His chief advisor is Valery Gerard. Insiders have reported Obama would make a decision at a meeting but reverse himself by the next morning. The reason is Valery Gerard. Her power stems from her friendship with the nation’s first couple. She is the only person who retires with the first couple to the second floor of the White House at the end of the day. After she talks to Obama, he will reverse himself by the next morning. This is why experts like Nasr became disillusioned. The real power is in the hands of a person whose only expertise is her power of persuasion over Obama. No wonder our nation is in such deep trouble.


About camden41

Retired public school administrator Retired history professor: Taught Western Civilization, American Civil War, United States History, Economic History, Ancient & Medieval Foundations, American History Since 1945
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