I watched the Press Conference last night. Not all of it, but most. I paid attention part of it, but not all. It was a bit boring. As I sat there with my mind wandering, I had another one of the moments of clarity.
President Obama has been drawing criticism lately for things like TV appearances, use of Teleprompters and other non-policy related issues. All of these items have one thing in common, they are campaigning tools. Obama is still more in Campaign Mode than Executive Leader Mode. The reason is simple.
Yes President Obama is a very smart man. Yes he is an excellent public speaker. Where he is insecure, I feel, is in the leadership role. This is why he focuses so much on speeches, TV appearances, and other “running for office” behaviors that he is so good at. In many ways this insecurity is making politics less like Washington and more like High School.
President Obama is the cool kid who ran for Class President. In High School you ran for office because you either needed it to get into college, or because you wanted to prove just how popular you are. Obama has pretty much cleared the college admissions issue at this point in his life. That leaves the popularity motive, and that is about insecurity. Obama could have waited to run until he had more experience, but he was not secure enough in his cool kid status to know he would still be popular in 4 or 8 years. He had to run now to prove it to himself. So he promised more parking for seniors, a kick butt prom, less homework, and off campus lunch. Now he is in office. Now he is realizing that actually doing all these things is hard. He is freaking out. So he is doing what got him elected. He is walking up and down the halls cracking jokes and laughing it up his buddy Jay and Chris. He is talking sports with the jocks. He is traveling around to everybody’s parties to hang out and be the fun guy. He is staying popular. The problem is there is no money to make the school parking lot bigger. Homework is not something he can impact directly. Going off campus for lunch is a security issue. It looks like prom is going to suck it there is money for it to happen at all this year.
We need the President to focus less on what got him elected and what he was elected to do. Toss out the goals that may be totally unachievable, or ate at least impractical. Focus on what we need to do now and what can be accomplished now. We can worry about the rest when the important things are done. We can start to run for office in 3 years.