Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is Obama trying to do too much?

My wife says he is. And she's smart.

And a growing number of others are joining the chorus. I've heard it from the blogosphere to the mainstream media. Right AND Left, too.

Now somebody at Hah-vhad U. is on the meme. And we all know how smart they are.

Seriously, Michael Watkins makes some good points in his article Obama's Turnaround Dilemma. I was inspired to leave something of a rant, which was fun. Here's the hook that got me going...

Have you heard the one about the retiring CEO's final meeting with his successor? Telling the new leader that he will face many trials in his tenure, the wizened one hands him three letters. "Each time you face a challenge that seems insurmountable," he says, "open one of these."

A few months into the role, the newly-appointed CEO finds himself in a sticky situation, with angry shareholders and a restive Board, so he opens the first letter. "Blame me," it says. Siezing this advice, he paints the company's troubles as the legacy of his predessor's neglect and wins a reprieve. A few more months pass and another crisis erupts, so he opens the second letter. "Blame the economy," it says. He does, and once again the storm subsides. Yet more time passes, and new, even more pressing difficulties emerge. Opening the final letter, he reads, "prepare three letters."

I'm trying to recall if anyone accused Bush I or II, or Clinton of trying to do too much, too soon. I really cannot remember. Anyway, it makes no difference. This is a very different time. I don't hear anyone advancing the argument that we don't have some big problems. And I sure don't hear anyone complaining that the president is doing nothing. Given a choice between doing too little or too much, I choose too much.

1 comment:

Deron S. said...

With the large staff that a President has, including Cabinet, Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, etc. etc., I don't think he has taken on too much. We cannot underestimate the amount of work that is actually done by others.

On healthcare reform, the Prez just laid out some principles and told Congress to take it from there. I guess good presidents need to be good delegators.