An Obama leadership hallmark was noted in last night’s Democratic Convention and nobody on the right said boo.
Something was said last night that caught my attention and apparently nobody in the right-wing media is disputing it, as a quick review of the usual suspects today at the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Red State blog and Newsmax revealed. As you may be aware of, the GOP’s “top political priority [has been] to deny President Obama a second term.” Part of the scheme to achieve this has been to insist that the President has shown no leadership skills, a dubious charge that ignores a lot of what Obama has done. And while a lot of what the President has achieved occurred months later after he was in office, based on what his then Chief-of-Staff Emmanuel said last night, this leadership was there from day one.
I remember when the president received a report that the auto
industry had a few weeks before its collapse. We met in the
Roosevelt room late into the night. Some of the president’s
advisers said that them in order to save General Motors, you had
to let Chrysler go under. Others said, it is like throwing good
money after bad.
Among all the experts, there were only guesses and only put
it better than a one in four shot. Only the president suggested
going all in to save the industry and the jobs.
Rising above all the voices in Washington, President Obama
listened to the voices that mattered to him most, the voices of
the auto workers in the communities that depended on him. SOURCE
Here’s Barack Obama, the neophyte to national politics, that chooses to buck his tenured advisors which included Clinton holdovers Economic Advisor Larry Summers and Ed Montgomery who was then the Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. It should be clear however as John Cassidy with the New Yorker points out, that George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, initiated the auto bail out in December, 2008 but did so knowing he wouldn’t have to face the wrath of his Party in a little over a month. On the other hand, shortly after being inaugurated, Obama was being attacked by those who would eventually form the anti-government TEA Party.
“Obama deserves a lot of credit for finishing the job that Bush and his Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, had started. He stood with the auto companies, which were victims of extraordinary circumstances beyond their control. As the price of the bailout, he also insisted on some changes at G.M., including the installation of new leadership and the elimination of several brands.” Cassidy notes in his report.
Though Cassidy seems to think it didn’t take much courage for Obama to finish what Bush started, a lesser man would have likely gone with his advisors and the public outcry against any further bailouts for corporations. Obama didn’t and without anyone to really know why he chose to stick with the auto companies, it is fair to say that he did so for the reasons Emmanuel gave about listening “to the voices that mattered to him most, the voices of the auto workers in the communities that depended on him.”
Choosing to continue some of the things that Bush started leaves Obama open to criticism, and rightfully so, from his base of support on the left for his expansion of the war in Afghanistan, continuing to keep GITMO open and privacy violations that asks Americans to “lower their expectations of privacy” in the so-called war against terrorism. Yet these are things that Republicans seem to have approved of under Bush and gave him marks for decisive leadership in carrying them out.
The charge that President Obama lacks leadership skills is a specious argument at best and one that clearly seems contrived to fit the agenda for a Republican Party that only seems to have an “I hate Obama” strategy for their goal to retake the White House.