February 20, 2012

Americans should have known Obama was not ready

History is replete with people who came into power or wealth and were unprepared for it, leading to significant negative consequences.  When someone is unprepared for such a profound paradigm shift, they are ill-equipped to handle the responsibility or the dangers that come with the new situation.  President Obama is a prime example - he was snot equipped to answer that 3 a.m. phone call Hillary Clinton said he could not handle.  He was not equipped to handle the economic crisis he faced.  He was not equipped to handle the details of a 2200 page health care bill and that is becoming clearer with every passing day.  He was not ready to be president.  Americans should have known, but history and current events apparently did not provide enough lessons for voters prior to his election.

Often times, aspirations far outstrip qualifications. While you can argue that experience doesn't matter, it does.  Preparedness comes from experience.  Here are some examples of people not ready for prime time and the unfortunate consequences that ensued.

1993: Boris Yeltsin came to power with much promise, but little preparedness for what he was about to undertake:
I opened with the simplest of questions: Did he think he would win? To a smooth politician, it would have been a welcome softball. But nothing came easy to Russia's tortured President. "I'm a President," he sputtered with obvious disdain, "not a fortune teller." And off he stormed.

He won that referendum but ultimately became a failed President, a point affirmed at the end of 1999 when he suddenly announced that Vladimir Putin, a relatively unknown former KGB man from St. Petersburg before becoming Yeltsin's Prime Minister, would take over. In the final, pathetic chapter, Yeltsin quietly agreed to vanish from the political scene as long as Putin agreed not to pursue corruption cases against Yeltsin and his family. Putin then undid much of what Yeltsin had accomplished...

2007-2010:  The sad case of lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare, a man with a big heart, and deeply lacking education led him to be taken advantage of by many, to the point of allegedly being murdered for his money.
It took barely three years for a $31 million Florida lottery winner to go from the top of the world to the bottom of a makeshift grave.

The body of Abraham Shakespeare was identified Friday through fingerprints, nine months after he disappeared and one day after he was found buried beneath a concrete slab, officials said.

Although the local sheriff has characterized the case as a homicide, the cause of death for the 43-year-old won't be determined until next week.
 1907: J.Bruce Ismay.  Who?  He was chairman of White Star Line. What now? Well, there's this;
After the death of his father on 23 November 1899, Bruce Ismay succeeded him as the chairman of White Star Line. He decided to build four ocean liners to surpass the RMS Oceanic (1899) built by his father: the ships were dubbed the Big Four: RMS Celtic, RMS Cedric, RMS Baltic, and RMS Adriatic. These vessels were designed more for luxury, and safety, than for speed.

In 1902, Ismay negotiated the sale of the White Star Line to J. P. Morgan & Co., which was organizing the formation of International Mercantile Marine Company, an Atlantic shipping combine which absorbed several major American and British lines. IMM was a holding company that controlled subsidiary operating corporations. Morgan hoped to dominate transatlantic shipping through interlocking directorates and contractual arrangements with the railroads, but that proved impossible because of the unscheduled nature of sea transport, American antitrust legislation, and an agreement with the British government. White Star Lines became one of the IMM operating companies and, in February 1904, Ismay became president of the IMM, with the support of Morgan.
In other words, within 8 years of inheriting the helm of White Star Line, Ismay is notorious for the failure of the Titanic (oh, and abandoning ship while it sank).

1876: General Custer.  This one is self-explanatory, but for the uninitiated:
The dashing Custer may have made a fine 1940’s-era Western hero, but in real life he was the sort of military leader enlisted men desert for. Brash, intelligent, and personally courageous, his great undoing was his indifference for the welfare of his men—or their safety for that matter. (As one of the youngest Generals in the Union Army during the Civil War, his cavalry unit had the highest casualty rate of any in the Army). He was also savage when it came to dealing with the Indians, whom he would slaughter without remorse. His recklessness finally caught up with him, however, when he led his famous 7th Cavalry to disaster at Little Big Horn in June of 1876, losing almost his entire command in the course of a few hours when he attacked an Indian encampment with several thousand Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors in it.
There are plenty more examples, but above are a financial example, a military example, a business example and a political example. With the apparent possible exception of Custer, none of those men were bad guys, but none were equipped for what lay before them.  Now we should consider adding president Obama to that list.

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