Roger L. Simon

Obama: does he know "men on the instant"?

As a business neophyte, in my relatively short stint as the accidental CEO of a new media startup (PJM), I have had to learn many things and to play catch-up in many areas. But if there is one lesson that I have had drummed into me repeatedly, it is that success is almost entirely dependent on the people you pick to work with you. Your ability to judge character is close to the most necessary trait for someone trying to lead anything; I would imagine most especially the ship of state.

An interesting review of recent books about Abraham Lincoln in this weekend’s WSJ by John A. Barnes has this quote about our greatest president: “He knew men on the instant.” Considering the current fiasco of seemingly half his cabinet appointments being tax cheats, including the Secretary of the Treasury, Barack Obama appears to be the opposite of that.

But we knew that, didn’t we? Or we should have. Barack Obama picked as his spiritual mentor the most execrable of men, a racist even, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It should have been apparent from that alone that Obama was no judge of character – or, even worse, he simply didn’t care. He was more concerned with his own advancement.

But the country ignored that as the media papered it over. We are paying for it now – and oh how we are paying! Our president is behaving like a man cornered and not a statesman. Being the president of all Americans has disappeared within two weeks. The idea of reaching out to the other side evidently meant no more than a dinner with George Will and Peggy Noonan.

What does this mean? I for one was rooting for Obama on the day of his inauguration, overblown as it was under the circumstances; now I am just depressed. And not just mildly depressed, I have to say. Our government is dealing with a monumental global economic crisis in a manner that is partisan and idiotic. The Congressional leaders are dimwits and our President seems out of his depth while the future of children is being mortgaged to an incomprehensible extent.

In the 1980s the GAO warned us we would not be able to pay for our existing entitlements by 2025. Add a trillion or two and what are we looking at? Global bankruptcy? [Start learning to farm.-ed. I’m thinking about it.]