The Obama administration is a case study in mismanagement. Republican presidential candidates should remind voters that management matters. And it isn’t just about government process. People have lost faith in our politics and government. The next president needs to work tirelessly to restore voters’ faith in our government’s ability to function. What part of the federal government is working better than it did six years ago? The Democratic Party’s fundamental doctrine that “government is the solution” is in tatters.
The failure to produce “shovel-ready” projects, the IRS targeting malfeasance, the calamity of the Obamacare roll-out, the bungling of the Fast and Furious operation, the mass confusion surrounding the enforcement of America’s southern border, the Veterans Affairs neglect, the lack of transparency in the White House, the bewildering events surrounding the Secret Service, the oblivious Office of Personnel Management, the tolerance of “sanctuary cities” that may have directly led to the death of an innocent American citizen and, now, a revelation that accused Charleston, S.C., shooter Dylann Roof was able to purchase a gun that he otherwise should not have been able to buy because there was a “lapse” in the FBI background check system. All of these are examples that reflect a flat-out case of gross mismanagement of government under President Obama.
I think Obama believes that governance is about theatrics, symbolism and gestures — not about executive management. Every administration and the government as a whole eventually reflects many of the characteristics of the incumbent president. People take their lead from the person at the top and a work culture emerges. Suffice it to say, I don’t think there will be any business schools named for Obama.
Anyway, as I’ve said before, in this administration, too many people who work for Obama are all about having their position, not doing the work required of that position. They relish holding their office without assuming the responsibility of management. Or they don’t really understand what management means. But why would they? The president himself never managed anything and so there’s no particular reason he should have a good eye for or any relevant experience in picking or guiding effective managers.
What does the management failure of the Obama presidency say about what we should look for in our next president? Well, a proven manager would be an excellent place to start. In 2008 and again in 2012, voters took a chance with Barack Obama, and we ended up with wall-to-wall incompetence.
Republican candidates in 2016 need to refute the idea that anyone who is elected president will automatically inherit the skills needed to effectively manage the White House and the executive branch of government. Given this administration’s instinct for self-delusion, denial and downright deceit, it will be years before we learn about many of the mistakes, omissions and calamities that have occurred during the Obama era. Obviously, Hillary Clinton also needs to be challenged about her management experience and her lessons learned.
From immigration to health care, from banking to energy and even law enforcement, Obama and the Democrats’ passion for creating more laws and more rules — increasingly by executive order — continues unabated. But they can’t even administer the laws already on the books. Why should Congress, state legislatures and city councils let them create new ones?
Part of the pitch for every Republican running for president in 2016 needs to include more than a talking point about accountability and the reintroduction of competent leadership. They need to say what they think has worked, what they think hasn’t worked and why they think they can manage things any better than Obama.