March 23, 2011

The American Roadmap (Part 1 of 3)

The job of President of the United States is not for the faint of heart. The job entails the responsibility of constructing, articulating and driving a vision for the future. It involves dealing with issues on a daily basis, which have nothing to do with that vision but must still be addressed. They must be handled with the same vigor that is applied to the President's vision, which by the way is typically shared by the electorate that empowered him. That is, if that vision was indeed articulated.

This President has failed to lead by that definition in a number of ways. He did not articulate a vision. He spoke mostly of hope and change and what he did articulate was not a vision so much as it was two major bureaucratic efforts - health care and green energy. Coupled with a wild propensity to spend, it has proved unworthy of the word leadership.

This was not Reagan on defeating communism or Kennedy on a moon shot. The President attempted to be everything to everyone by being vague enough to be a blank canvas for voters to paint their own picture of what his vision was. 100 million voters painted 100 million different pictures. That is the case in many elections but this was exceptional. It was a deliberate vagueness that did not fool everyone.

The second problem with the President's agenda is that his vision was not fully formed. His guiding principle of fairness is both vague and inwardly focused. Like it or not, America cannot exist without impacting, and being impacted by, events elsewhere in the world. America's unique position in the world as both superpower and champion of democracy forbids the leadership from having a vision that excludes an international component, or at least some guiding principles.

Too often this President has abdicated his international responsibilities, displaying a disinterest not worthy of the office. Whether it has been his inconsistency in championing freedom across the globe or an idealistic vision of energy policy that leaves America ever more vulnerable to international events and those who would do the nation harm or simply becoming increasingly beholden to international creditors, it is no merely leadership that is adrift. It is leadership that is ruinous to the nation. It is dangerous in its negligence.

Even domestically, the President's vision does not seem to see the jobs and the economy as relevant to his agenda. Jobs have long been claimed to be job one, but actions speak louder than words. In a nearly trillion dollar empty gesture, money was thrown at the problem - ineffectively - and the issue was set aside for an agenda with no regard for the outcome of the gesture. The President has forsaken what matters most to the nation for personal goals - nationalized health care, which is not completed to his satisfaction, and green energy, which is not possible to reach his level of satisfaction during his presidency.

That’s what’s wrong. The nation is effectively rudderless. Having articulated the problem, what needs to be articulated is a vision that contains the solution.

(Continued in Part 2)

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