October 29, 2013
I haven't been writing much lately, however, the most recent commentary coming from the White House has pulled me from the sidelines with some comments. If your bias is towards favoring this President, or you only come to my blog for investment information, stop reading right now and have a great day. Otherwise, read on with the same amount of disgust that I have about the leadership sitting in the Oval Office.
The background is the President is a self-righteous, arrogant socialist whose disdain and contempt for this country and its ideals of freedom are well-known and documented. His condescending approach to everyone around him, including other world leaders, our elected officials, and certainly corporate leaders, is well known and completely disrespectful. If my children acted in that manner towards others (my children are teenagers, and we know how disrespectful they can be at times), they wouldn't see the light of day for months, if not a year. Yet here is the President of the United States, acting as if the rest of the world were his subjects, lecturing us on how we should feel guilty if we make a decent living. Lecturing us on how we need to give more back. Lecturing us on how successful businesses are only successful because of the government. Lecturing foreign leaders on how to run their countries. Lecturing China on how to run their economy (just a reminder that we owe China over $1 trillion).
President Obama came into office promising to repair our supposedly damaged image among the nations of the world. He promised to negotiate with Iran, North Korea, and Russia, all while refusing to negotiate with the duly elected House of Representatives. He vowed not to go to war without UN approval. He vowed to close Guantanamo Bay. He vowed to end terrorism by eliminating the reasons terrorists hate us-imperialism, materialism, and evidently capitalism. He promised world harmony through that dis-functioning body known as the United Nations.
President Obama, the legal scholar and supposedly the smartest man in the room, promised to be superior to George Bush because of his hands on approach, his involvement in every detail, and his ability to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats to craft bi-partisan solutions to problems.
President Obama, the man who promised that "spreading the wealth around" would solve this country's growing wealth gap, the disparity between the 1% and the 99%.
How has the Lecturer in Chief done since taking office? The results have been far from promised, and in fact almost 100% opposite of what he promised.
The promise of world harmony and an improved image of the US around the world has been completely dismantled. Even before the news came out that we have been wiretapping our allies, our diplomacy has been an utter disaster. Iran and North Korea continue to snub their noses at the world community and develop nuclear weapons, despite our coddling of them. The President has ensured that no country will respect us, our promises, or our threats after drawing the infamous "Red Line" and then, despite video evidence to the contrary, denying that he said it or that the Red Line was his.
The fact that we have been wiretapping US civilians and our allied leaders doesn't bother me as much as others. Yes, there are civil liberty issues, and retaining this information on US citizens reminds me of 1984, or even the Matrix, but I understand the purpose from a security standpoint. We can debate whether losing this measure of privacy in the name of freedom isn't an oxymoron, but with proper data destruction policies I can live with this intrusion. I can also live with wiretapping our allies, as well as our enemies, but again we must have a legitimate purpose for doing so and a viable defense in the unlikely event that this transgression is discovered. Denying knowledge ala Richard Nixon is not a viable defense.
My issue is the blanket denials. The President pretending he didn't know about the incident, that it was some low-level, unnamed underlings participating in the subterfuge. President Obama is obviously unable to accept responsibility for failure-which I attribute to years of being told how great he is without ever being challenged. Defeat and failure are good for adolescents and young adults, it prepares them to handle situations that don't work as planned, such as these wiretappings, being fired, or bad marriages. My guess is that the President was part of what I call the "participation generation", the group of kids who received trophies for 10th place, being congratulated and fawned over for losing. News flash: trophies are for winners! Bringing it back to the President, whatever happened to "the buck stops here?" We need a Truman type Democrat.
As mentioned above, the President is really good at shifting the blame, denying responsibility for the actions of his Administration, which is the ultimate example of hypocrisy. How can a man who demands that both world and corporate leaders (just ask Jamie Dimon) take 100% responsibility for the actions of their countries or companies not take any responsibility for his own Administration's actions? Is he truly that narcissistic?
IRS targeting of political enemies? Deny knowing anything about it and blame a rogue IRS office.
Failure of the Obamacare website? Deny knowing anything about it and blame the contractor.
800,000 people (and counting) losing their insurance in spite of promises that "if you like your plan, you can keep it?" Deny making the statement (60+ times in front of cameras) and blame the insurance companies.
Have an embassy attacked on 9/11? Deny it happened and blame a YouTube video.
Wiretap allied leaders? Deny knowing anything about it and blame the NSA.
Wiretap US citizens? Deny knowing anything about it and blame a prior administration.
Consider drone attacks on US citizens without a proper trial first? Deny it happened and blame the an unnamed leaker.
Inability to lead or unite the country? Blame it on Congress.
Create policies that exacerbate the wealth gap? Deny the policies are contributing to the problem and blame the greedy.
Oversee a program that puts guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers? Deny knowing anything about it and then blame an underling.
Much like an overindulged three year old, this President won't take responsibility for anything that occurs under his watch. Worse, he denies knowing anything about what is happening in his Administration, and then pushes the blame as far down as possible. As it becomes apparent that the problem is much higher up, the Administration constructs a series of roadblocks designed to hide the true source of the problem. If a corporate leader were to deny knowing about this many issues occurring under his watch, he'd be fired for incompetent leadership.
We have been lucky so far. This vacuum of leadership and irresponsibility in the White House will eventually lead to negative repercussions far into the future. In my opinion, when historians look back at the seminal Administrations in US history, this one will be cited as an inflection point for when this country took a turn towards mediocrity. We can make a turn back towards leadership and excellence, however, the next election will be critical.
Thanks for listening to my rant. I feel better, yet worse at the same time. I hope to write a bit more in the future, at least quarterly, and promise it will be focused on markets and the economy.
From my family to yours, have a wonderful holiday.