Saturday, June 5, 2010

Obama-Detached or Incompetent?

Much has been made of President Obama’s cool detachment during the Gulf oil spill disaster. I would say to you this is not about detachment or personality, but about his sheer incompetence—unmasked. One of the few solid facts we have known about Obama since the beginning is that he has no managerial experience, unless you count his brief, unsuccessful stint as a community organizer. He has counted on underlings and protectors to run things for him while he ponders.

The Gulf oil spill disaster has finally managed to pull the curtain away from Obama to expose his lack of leadership and his true managerial incompetence.

Many have tried to blame Obama for not being able “to plug the hole”. I do not blame him for that; that is in the hands of scientists and engineers, who, admittedly, have never dealt with such a crisis at depths of over a mile. They are striking out into unknown territory. I do, however, blame him for the handling of the effects of the oil spill; this is where his constitutional responsibility lies—and his incompetence is now showing like spinach on dentures.

As a retired police sergeant, I spent many years studying and reading body language in an attempt to handle crisis situations and keep everyone (including me) safe. Obama’s “detachment,” to me, reads clearly as “vapor lock.” This is a condition that afflicts new cops and dispatchers who are subjected to stressors they’ve never dealt with before.

Along these lines, first comes the “deer in the headlights” look; then a bumbling, ineffective attempt at action, any action, just to look as if you’re doing something in an attempt to control the situation. Importantly, in new but otherwise competent employees, the vapor lock lifts after a short period of time. They ultimately become effective, functioning employees. With those who are just incompetent, they continue in vapor lock mode, making useless and ineffective actions that do nothing but make the emergency worse.

Obama has been vapor locked since Day One of this crisis. He does not know the basic rule of supervision. As Reagan put it, “trust, but verify”. Obama “trusted” BP and went off on a three day vacation? He did not question. He did not investigate. He did not take charge. He did not supervise. When the spill turned out to be larger and worse than expected, he still did not act. Why? He had no idea what to do.

Our president did not even know how to direct his subordinates. Worse, his subordinates proved equally inexperienced and unskilled in supervision and management. They failed to take up the slack for him. A Nobel prize winning Secretary of Energy sounds great, but if he is incapable of action, he’s useless. All of Obama’s underlings, with the exception of his military leaders (who are not academics only), are just as managerially incompetent as he is.

Why are we so surprised at this utter, total debacle?

For one, we’ve been brain-conditioned to expect “smart” academics. What most don’t understand is that while Academics may be smart, this does not mean they are good making decisions, or at directing effective action to correct catastrophes.
If you’ve ever spent time in the academic field (and I have in earning my MA) you know that academics spend an awful lot of time listening to themselves yammer…and not much else. This explains Obama’s tendency to hold meeting after useless meeting and appoint commissions and showy studies, rather than just doing something.

He and his underlings are absolutely incompetent at figuring out a real life crisis in real time. This includes quick decision making on the street, in the field, and a smattering of common sense. The ability to plan logistics, move mountains, and direct emergency operations does NOT consist of scholastic debate. Direct, effective, immediate action is not possible in the academic world because they are too busy listening to themselves use large words, and pontificating to one another.

I am a moderate, and consider myself fair and experienced in executive-level management. If we look at Obama’s record in decision making, it must be said “he” has made well-planned and effective military ones. You may ask how. Well—because, in the military, Obama has been blessed with competent advisers and natural leaders. They are not political appointees nor academics only; they are men and women who are used to leading and doing—usually trained for it from their teen years.

He also had a successful presidential campaign; again, because his subordinates were seasoned professional leaders.

Obama’s problems are not his personality type. They are his total, utter, incompetence—an innate inability to perform his constitutionally mandated duty as President of these United States.

President Barack Obama is not a manager. He is not a leader. He is not capable of organizing plans to achieve physical solutions to real-world problems. He is a mere elected politician. He is totally incompetent without a teleprompter and someone steering him along a planned, political campaign trail. His path does not lead to saving his own constituents.

Lord help us all.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps the vapor lock started when Hayward sold his BP shares?
    Seriously, Obama's response reminded me immediately of the look on two faces back in July of 1996--James Kallstrom and Bob Francis, at the initial press conference after the TWA 800 downing. Even if we hadn't been up at work all night listening to the reports coming in (before they were sanitized later), all it took was one look at their faces and you knew they had seen something they hadn't finished processing yet. Obama looks like that whenever BP is discussed.