Obama struggles in a role that he's not suited for - Editorial from C-J
Posted in the Louisville Forum
#1 Feb 1, 2013
Barack Obama is the Lord Grantham of presidents. Both men look great in formal attire, but leave a lot to be desired when it comes to leadership. They live in the past, are largely oblivious to the changing world around them, and regularly make bad decisions that hurt others.
As viewers of public television’s immensely popular series “Downton Abbey” will know, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, is the master of the grand estate of that name. Given his performance in that office, however, his continuance in it can be quite difficult to comprehend. The same is certainly true of Obama.
Neither Grantham nor Obama knows much about actually working for a living. Both have led privileged lives and project an arrogant attitude of entitlement and superiority. Just as the rapidly changing postwar world of the 1920s is leaving Grantham behind, Obama clings to outdated Democratic ideas of big government and higher taxes despite the obvious necessity for modernizing reform.
Lord Grantham needed his American wife’s money to save the estate, but then squandered her fortune with unwise investments. Borrowing well over a trillion dollars in every year of his presidency, Obama also depends on the money of others. Like Grantham, he has wasted much of the American fortune with reckless spending on fictional “shovel ready” projects, debacles like Solyndra, and, of course, runaway social welfare programs.
Downton is in fiscal danger due to Grantham’s mismanagement. He thinks he is being kind to his tenants, but he is actually turning them into unproductive dependents by charging below market rents (many of which are in arrears), tolerating poor maintenance, and allowing fields to lie idle. Obama also fosters dependency and financial ruin from a misguided sense of compassion by refusing to reform entitlements or reduce the record numbers on disability and food stamps.
Neither Grantham nor Obama supports individual initiative. When daughter Edith Crawley displays potential as a columnist and suffragette, Lord Grantham doubts her talent and discourages her enterprise. Obama, of course, disparages all claims of personal accomplishment, as is evident from his infamous and revealing comment,“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Perhaps Lord Grantham’s son-in-law, the middle-class Matthew Crawley, can save Downton from financial ruin. A war veteran who has actually held a job, Matthew has audited the estate’s accounts and recommended prudent changes, much as Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan have done for Obama. But Matthew is meeting stiff resistance from those like his wife, Mary, whose loyalty to her father is based on emotion rather than facts or reason. Obama enjoys considerable support of a similarly visceral nature.
Health care presents a particular problem for both Grantham and Obama. Both put their faith in self-proclaimed experts who aspire to control medical decisions better left to the doctor-patient relationship. Grantham brought in an elite physician to preside over his sainted daughter Sybil’s childbirth, but the outsider botched the delivery with tragic results when he ignored the advice of the local, longtime family physician Dr. Clarkson. The bureaucratic, complex and expensive Obamacare monstrosity portends much the same result for American medicine.
While Grantham and Obama are each capable of eloquence in a controlled setting, they founder when forced to think on their feet. Grantham was confident his testimony would help his valet, Mr. Bates, who was on trial for murder, but the earl bombed on the witness stand. His disappointing performance was not all that different from Obama’s in debate or without a teleprompter.
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