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  • How Obama Makes Decisions

    Posted by David Foster on November 1st, 2012 (All posts by )

    While searching for an old post, I ran into a post in which I’d excerpted some passages from an article on Obama’s approach to decision-making.

    Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men portrays Barack Obama as being confounded by his duties as president. Some of the scenes depicted by Suskind would be comical if they were not so tragic for America.

    For example, when Obama’s experts assembled to discuss the scope and intricacies of the stimulus bill, Barack Obama was out of his depth. He was “surprisingly aloof in the conversation” and seemed “disconnected and less in control.” His contributions were rare and consisted of blurting out such gems of wisdom as “There needs to be more inspiration here!” and “What about more smart grids” and — one more that Newt Gingrich would appreciate — “we need more moon shot” (pages 154-5).

    Suskind writes:

    Members of the team were perplexed…for the first time in the transition, people started to wonder just how prepared the man at the helm was. He repeated a similar sorry performance when he had a conference call with Speaker Pelosi and her staff to discuss the details of the planned stimulus bill. He shouted into the speakerphone that “this stimulus needs more inspiration! Pelosi and her staff visibly rolled their eyes.”

    Presidential exhortations more befitting a summer camp counselor will evoke such reactions.

    In the post, I cited a study of Woodrow Wilson written by Sigmund Freud and William Bullitt:

    Throughout his life he took intense interest only in subjects which could somehow be connected with speech…He took no interest in mathematics, science, art or music–except in singing himself, a form of speaking. His method of thinking about a subject seems to have been to imagine himself making a speech about it…He seems to have thought about political or economic problems only when he was preparing to make a speech about them either on paper or from the rostrum. His memory was undoubtedly of the vaso-motor type. The use of his vocal chords was to him inseparable from thinking.

    To Obama, it’s all about the speeches, all about the hype. Despite his faux reputation as an intellectual, the man has remarkably little interest in contemplation, analysis, or problem-solving.

    Thinking about Obama’s overall presidency, and especially about his performance or lack of same on the Benghazi debacle, I’m reminded of what C S Lewis wrote about his protagonist (a sociologist) in his novel That Hideous Strength:

    His education had been neither scientific nor classical—merely “Modern.” The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he had neither peasant shrewdness nor aristocratic honour to help him. He was a man of straw…

    Original post with CB discussion thread, here.

     

    5 Responses to “How Obama Makes Decisions”

    1. Mrs. Davis Says:

      What leads you to believe Obama makes decisions?

    2. David Foster Says:

      “The failure to make a decision changes the course of future events just as surely as the making of a decision”

      –loosely quoted from a memo sent by a group of frustrated French staff officers to general-in-chief Maurice Gamelin, shortly before the debacle of 1940.

    3. Jason in LA Says:

      Or more recently Mr. Foster; “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”, from the Ayn Rand inspired Canadian rock band Rush, in it’s 1980 song “Freewill”.

    4. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Four years ago, in the Democrat primaries, I warned everyone that Obama is an empty suit. I was right. Not only is an empty suit, he isn’t even very smart. Lord help us, if he is re-elected.

    5. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Actually, if we re-elect him it will be a sign of the Lord’s displeasure at our sinful ways, and that he has withdrawn his favor from us.