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May 29, 2010

Re: Why would anyone have expected competence?

Topics: Political News and commentaries

John Hinderaker at Powerline points to Peggy Noonan's must-read column in the Wall Street Journal, "He Was Supposed to be Competent," and notes Noonan's harsh verdict on President Obama:

I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts. ...

[Hurricane] Katrina did at least two big things politically. The first was draw together everything people didn't like about the Bush administration.... The second was illustrate that even though the federal government in our time has continually taken on new missions and responsibilities, the more it took on, the less it seemed capable of performing even its most essential jobs. Conservatives got this point--they know it without being told--but liberals and progressives did not. They thought Katrina was the result only of George W. Bush's incompetence and conservatives' failure to "believe in government." But Mr. Obama was supposed to be competent.

John then goes on to point out what many voters should have thought of before they voted for Obama. Before becoming president, Obama was best known for giving speeches that were often disconnected from reality - so why would anyone interpret this skill as the sign of a competent administrator?
What is curious is that quite a few people did think that Obama would be an especially competent president. Why? What evidence was there that Obama would be a skillful administrator? Before becoming president, he had never in his life run anything more substantial than a Senate staff. His executive experience was closer to zero than that of any president in memory.
To be clear, absolutely no one should be surprised at the incompetence that we all continue to see in the Obama administration. There was nothing, absolutely nothing, in Barack Obama's history that provided any evidence that he was capable of managing anything other than a group of community organizers.

Posted by Richard at May 29, 2010 12:45 AM

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