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Fast and Curious

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Obama: The Audacity of Thoughts Sours Hope

Blog From
February 16th, 2014

LFU_FastCurious_Crash_vFBarack Obama makes millions of dollars from his book sales. One of his best known books, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, is a particularly good performer. Endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, it shot to the top of the political books bestseller list where it remained for more than 30 consecutive weeks.

 

The tome has sold well over 1,152,000 copies. Together with his earlier effort, Dreams From My Father, Obama’s book sales have eclipsed those of the Clintons’ combined. Taken separately, each one blew away the memoir sales of long time Republican Senators, Trent Lott and Jesse Helms. The hoopla surrounding Audacity and its bestseller status were a first for a young, unaccomplished politician.

 

Bolstered by its outstanding popular reception, the then junior senator from Illinois announced his run for the presidency less than four months after Audacity’s publication.

 

The early successes of Obama’s books and the attendant publicity have a downside. To understand the negative impact of all of it in combination, put yourself in the President’s position. These heady experiences have given him the impression that his words are more than enough. Accomplishment is in the messaging. Speak and it will happen.

 

Actions are not merely overrated. They are an unwanted complication because they run the risk of failure, which can be difficult to talk your way around. But, the problem with relying on chit-chat is that your mouth can get to the finish line before the finish line is built. Fast first, curious later is not a great combination. And Obamacare is not the President’s only problem with just talk.

 

The speech-is-enough theme runs through his Presidency. The most visible evidence of it these days is the pervasive absence of accountability among Obama’s staffers. The President is content to watch his people engage in striking, and recurring, episodes of ineptitude. When the fallout happens, Obama responds with talk. A lot of it.

 

Why not fire some of the worst performers? Or authorize independent investigations? Or just ‘fess up and move on? Why attempt containment with words? Some have suggested friendship as a reason. Obama is good friends with Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius, but certainly not Lois Lerner.

 

Maybe the President is averse to being tarred with the same brush that paints his people into a corner a la Chris Christie. Or maybe he won’t tolerate his agenda being put on hold while investigations are conducted. He is running out of time. Or maybe delving too deeply into the inner workings of his Administration will reveal much more than he can talk his way out of.

 

Whatever the reason, being better with dueling words than his opponents, he chooses to draw the line there. So, we’re treated to the 2013 accountability lowlights reel starring Kathleen Sebelius and the healthcare.gov website, Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, Lois Lerner and the IRS misconduct, Eric Holder and the seizure of major media outlet records and the NSA phone spying.

 

Obamacare remains a divisive issue for the Dems, in part, because of Obama’s refusal to hold Sebelius accountable for any part of the unfolding mess. The latest blowup is over the still unanswered question of whether the President knew of the healthcare.gov problems before its launch.

 

Last week, a review of White House records revealed that the HHS Secretary visited the President 18 times last year. That she never mentioned the issues plaguing the development of the website is incredible. But as unconvincing as it is, Obama continues to insist upon it. 

 

Another recent example showcases the extreme positions that the Administration will take in order to avoid accountability for the negative impact of Obamacare on jobs. Businesses must certify under penalty of perjury to the IRS that job reductions are not motivated by Obamacare costs.

 

Of course, no job will be saved by these pieces of paper. The Affordable Care Act is only affordable for most businesses if they can avoid it. The required certification is just a PR stunt. It allows the President to claim that businesses agree with his no-jobs-lost claim for his signature legislation. It would be laughable except for abusing the power of the IRS for political gain.

 

In retrospect, Obama’s talking head presidency is par for his course. He’s earned his income strictly on his ruminations first as a community organizer, then law professor, politician and, of course, book author. He does like to make speeches with his sleeves rolled up, giving the impression that he, like us, is hard at work. But, it’s only an impression. Actions are for people missing a silver tongue.

 

There is one thing that Obama missed among his book reviews. George W. Bush’s volume, Decision Points, has sold 1,900,000 copies in the past decade, outdistancing all other sales in the politics category including Obama’s. Decision beats Audacity by a very wide margin.


 





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