A Presidential Crisis of Competence

Less than two months into this administration, three things are clear.

First, its agenda is every bit as radical as many of us expected and feared. Based on President Barack Obama's supposedly unimportant past, there was every reason to believe that this would happen. That some Obama supporters are surprised is a "tribute" to a media elite that treated decade-plus relationships with radicals Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others as "distractions from the real issues," and to a McCain campaign that refused to treat Obama's candidacy as the threat that it was, and now is.

Second, despite strong signals that he is guiding the ship of state in the wrong direction, Obama and his administration have largely refused to bow to reality. Having triumphed in the presidential campaign with marketing and misdirection, they actually believe that voters gave them a mandate to spend hundreds of billions of dollars we don't have, and to bail out banks, companies, and homeowners without apparent limit. While the markets continue to beg to differ, Obama has been essentially indifferent.

The third clear thing is the one that has apparently blindsided Obama fans the most, but should have been the least unexpected: He and his administration seem not to know what they're doing. Pick almost any area and you'll find a trail of incompetence that goes well beyond benign rookie mistakes.

The administration's nominee vetting record has become a national joke that could take up this entire column.

Then take the economy (please). We knew before the election that Obama doesn't understand the difference between net worth and income. His statement about "profit-to-earnings ratios" comes from that same well of ignorance.

I seem to recall John McCain being bludgeoned for a self-professed relative lack of economic expertise. McCain was mature enough to admit to it and would, as in previous GOP administrations, likely have surrounded himself with knowledgeable people. But Barack Obama has surrounded himself with the likes of tax cheat Tim Geithner, who scares the markets almost every time he opens his mouth. Meanwhile, the new Treasury secretary has somehow managed not to hire 14 key people he needs. Could it be that there is a shortage of qualified people standing in line to be participants in what is shaping up to be the mother of all train wrecks?