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Obama incompetent

Obama is declared the 'worst president' since WWII in a new Quinnipiac University Poll poll according to the news this morning. First of all, polls are emotional and historians will tell you that it takes 20-25 years after a president has left office to make such a determination. Also, the same people who are making this assessment are the ones who:

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
  1. Voted for Obama by a majority in 2008
  2. Voted for the President for a second term in 2012
  3. Voted for the second worst President, George W. Bush before that

Bear in mind that Obama is six years into an 8 year stint with 2 more years to go. Fickle voters produced a Congress that is equal to or greater in incompetence. They are about to do it again. Why do Americans keep serving up poorly qualified elected officials?

  1. Voters are poorly qualified
  2. The American Political System is failing to produce superior qualified candidates
  3. The American Political System is corrupt

Now, those assessments need backing up, so here is the argument.

Start with the last point first: the system is corrupt. Here is a report by Juan Cole, the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan.

“1. Instead of having short, publicly-funded political campaigns with limited and/or free advertising (as a number of Western European countries do), the US has long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising.

2. That politicians can be bribed to reduce regulation of industries like banking (what is called “regulatory capture”) means that they will be so bribed.

3. That the chief villains of the 2008 meltdown (from which 90% of Americans have not recovered) have not been prosecuted is itself a form of corruption.

4. The US military budget is bloated and enormous, bigger than the military budgets of the next twelve major states.

5. The US has a vast gulag of 2.2 million prisoners in jail and penitentiary.There is an increasing tendency for prisons to be privatized, and this tendency is corrupting the system.
6. The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to reduce taxes on the rich. This and other government policies has produced a situation where 400 American billionaires are worth $2 trillion, as much as the bottom 150 million Americans.

7. The National Security Agency’s domestic spying is a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption.

8. As for insider trading, it turns out Congress undid much of the law it hastily passed forbidding members, rather belatedly, to engage in insider trading (buying and selling stock based on their privileged knowledge of future government policy).

9. Asset forfeiture in the ‘drug war’ is corrupting police departments and the judiciary.

10. Money and corruption have seeped so far into our media system that people can with a straight face assert that scientists aren’t sure human carbon emissions are causing global warming.”

There is one glaring omission in Juan’s list and that is that the US Congress in concert with the sitting conservative Supreme Court have deemed that corporations are people and can contribute as much as they want to political campaigns. Since corporations are not equal in wealth to the average voter, this inequality subverts the entire system making it invalid.

Political competence

“Competence” is the ability to do something successfully and efficiently. Political competence is the ability of a candidate to work through a political party to become a candidate and then to manage a campaign to become elected to office. Political competence is not the same as competence to legislate and to govern.

Competence to govern

To govern is to conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of a government entity in a capacity defined by the elected or appointed office. The focus here is elected office.

As voters we must consider the following:

1. The office and associated job to be performed by the incumbent

Suggested here is that every elected official at every level in government should be considered as a potential candidate for the highest office in the land because local and state governments are the primary sources for high office seekers. By holding high standards for office at every level in the political system, American voters can raise the quality of government.

2. Qualifications to perform successfully

While laws and regulations are skimpy about qualifications for members of the House of Representatives, Senate, and even President, Americans must create a set of qualifications that are suitable for the times and the job at hand. Minimum requirements are just bare entry points and are meaningless without the addition of more robust considerations.

American voters would do well to create pro forma resumes for candidates, that is to create the resume that they are looking for, and not just accept the ones offered by political parties and candidates. We don’t know what we are looking for today.

3. Candidate resumes

Candidate resumes are served up by a number of sources and can be readily analyzed. However, the information needs validation and certification just as for any job seeker.

4. Candidate qualifications

Candidate qualifications include education, job history, performance history, as well as health and behavioral characteristics suitable for the job.

Much has been published here at about political candidates, including the president and other presidential candidates. See the referenced links.

President Obama was chosen by voters most likely because he holds affinity with middle class Americans, more so than Republican alternatives. The Democrat party has shown more empathy for Americans while Republicans are aligned with wealth and power. President Obama was not elected for superior qualifications because aside from intellectual brute force, he simply doesn’t have an adequate resume. He didn’t hold significant management positions in public nor private enterprise. Aside from politics, he accomplished nothing. So, voters should not be surprised that he has difficulty performing basic tasks such as appointing a highly qualified staff. His management approach is grossly deficient, and that argument requires more space than one article permits.

So, read all the polls you want, but until we learn how to be better voters, it won’t make any difference.

“Poll: Obama 'worst president' since World War II”

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