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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Gulf Oil Spill: Why I Supported Rudy

Imagine if Rudy Giuliani was president. Do you think that the relief effort would look so disorganized? Do you think the government would look so impotent? Do you think the president would look so helpless?

For me, the presidency is much less about ideology and much more about leadership and effectiveness. Those are two things that go beyond ideology. That's why it never really bothered me that Rudy was pro choice and pro gay marriage. I didn't want someone ideologically mirrored to me. Instead, I wanted someone that could lead.

Presidents need to lead in crisis, in legislation, and simply day to day. In crisis, that's when leadership, and a lack of leadership, is most acute. Dick Morris described Obama's problem most succinctly.

And that intervention is the proper job of the president. He has to step in, ask the right questions, get inside and outside advice, and decide how to intervene to move the bureaucracy one way or the other. President Clinton had an excellent sense of how to do this and when to get involved. President Obama does not.

When the spill started, he and his campaign staff – now transplanted to the White House – reacted the way a Senator or a candidate would, blaming British Petroleum, framing an issue against the oil company, and holding it accountable. But what he needed to do was to review the plans for coping with the disaster and intervene to move the bureaucracy in untraditional but more appropriate directions. Instead, he let business as usual and inertia move the process.

The reason that Obama has been so incompetent in time of crisis is because he's a State Senator that ran for President while serving in the U.S. Senate. There's a reason why the last former legislator to be president was JFK. Ask any Governor that also served in the Senate and they'll all tell you they made more decisions in a month as Governor as they did their entire term as Senator.

They are two totally different skill sets. I didn't worry about Rudy in crisis because I already knew that Rudy handled crises effectively. Instead, Obama seduced people with his words and those that voted for him thought this was easy.

It's not. Leading and being effective don't just happen. They are skills that are difficult to find. Just because someone makes a great speech doesn't mean they can lead. Obama's no leader and that's becoming obvious.

2 comments:

AG said...

Just for fun, how bad of a showing do you think the Democrats would need to have in 2010 before people started encouraging Hillary to primary him?

Soccer Dad said...

100%.

Giuliani took a city that was ungovernable and turned it around. (Though, the murder rate had started falling towards the end of Dinkins term in office; apparently after he made Bratton Chief of the MTA police.)

Sure he has his faults, but I don't know if there's a single politician of either party who has a record of accomplishment that comes close to Rudy's.

Just looking at the murder rates, I once calculated (using the murder rate of 1993, when he was elected) that Rudy saved thousands of lives.

The problem is that if John Jones doesn't get killed it's not a news stories. If hundred of John Jones don't killed, it's still not a news story. But if John Jones is accidentally killed by a cop, that's a news story that obscures the really important news. (Actually I've read that at the time Diallo was killed NYC cops had an excellent and much improved record of avoiding accidental shootings. Such is the power of a demagogue like Al Sharpton who has the blood of 7 people on his hands.)