Thursday, July 01, 2010
Is anyone more confident about the economy? That the unemployed will be hired anytime soon? That housing prices will climb? That their taxes aren't going to go up? That their jobs are safer now than they were?
What about health care? Who thinks their costs aren't going to go up? Who thinks there aren't going to be longer waits to get appointments?
What about in foreign affairs? Does anyone think Iran poses less of a threat than it did? That Afghanistan is any closer to being 'won' than it was? That we're safer from terrorist attack?
What about the oil mess, who thinks Obama is making things better?
How about the stock market, who thinks the market is more likely to go up than go down?
One of the biggest responsibilities a leader has is to make people confident that following him and his policies will lead to things being better... and to the extent a President is a leader, he needs to make the country feel more optimistic about the future. Without confidence, nothing good happens. Countries don't win wars if they're not confident of doing so, teams don't win if they're not confident they can beat their opponent, businesses don't hire if they're not confident that times will be good and people don't spend if they're not confident they'll still have a job when the bills come due.
And on this critical measurement of leadership, Obama comes up far, far short. He doesn't exude confidence, he doesn't instill it in others. I can't imagine who would look at him and the job he is doing and come away thinking the future is bright.
And to the extent that Obama comes up short, so does the country... we have no confidence in him, we have no confidence that he will help make things better... and as a result, the economy is in lousy shape, not getting a whole lot better and, according to some, is even poised for another downturn.
Actually, there is one group that is encouraged by what Obama is doing: our enemies. The Taliban in Afghanistan is confident that Obama will blink before the job is done. Countries such as China and Russia are confident Obama will do nothing to upset them. Not only is Iran confident Obama will do nothing to stop them from developing nuclear weapons, they're pretty confident Obama will do what he can to keep Israel from attacking. The Palestinians are confident that Obama has no interest in helping Israel.
As I've said, it is all about confidence and with Obama in the White House, the good guys don't have it, the bad guys do.