The 'What's in it for me' presidency

Ed Lasky
I guess the hard work of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a turn off to the president. Here is Ben Smith on Steve Rosen's column regarding Obama's distancing himself from the Middle East peace process:
Obama invested heavily in the peace process early on and got burned in no small part by - as his team sees it - the Palestinian side and Arab leaders who stepped back from promises of confidence-building steps. Now he has started to back away, at least personally, from a process with no immediate reward.

On the Iran issue, his approach has been a complete failure so it behooved him to shove it off onto Hillary Clinton so she can fall on the sword and be assigned the blame for a nuclear Iran. Here Jonathan Tobin examines the tea leaves and sees that the all but invisible Hillary Clinton has emerged from purdah and been given the Iran portfolio as the Obama policy verges on failure:

With force off the table and the Obama engagement policy morphing into a long, drawn-out diplomatic effort to create a limited sanctions plan that is unlikely to work, it is hard to believe that anyone in the White House really thinks that Hillary Clinton has been given a chance to succeed. If, as has long been feared, the administration is transitioning from a policy of failed engagement to one predicated on learning to live with Iranian nukes, then the secretary of state is being set up for failure - not vindication of her campaign rhetoric. As much as a more realistic assessment of Iran is to be welcomed, the idea that Hillary is now in charge on Iran may just be a polite way of saying that the administration is officially punting on the issue.

This is part and parcel of a distressing habit of Barack Obama: blaming his own failures and mistakes on others. Jake Tapper noticed this habit in early, 2008 when he catalogued a myriad of mistakes Barack Obama had made that he or his campaign attributed to "staffers" in post titled "Obama's Inability To Hire Good Help Rears Its Head..Again":

So, for those keeping track at home, that's ten instances of Obama publicly blaming his staff for various screw-ups.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!

Barack Obama's "staffers" can now join "Hillary Clinton" as fall "guys" who can prevent Barack Obama being held accountable for his mistakes.

The buck does not stop at Obama's desk. We know that by now. The" Buck Stops Here" slogan made famous by Harry Truman has devolved into "Pass the Buck" under Barack Obama.


Just look at the deficit. Should we be troubled that a president cannot motivate himself to act unless he sees a short-term "reward" in it for him and his ego? The new book "Game Change" noted how quickly Barack Obama grew bored with his roles. Perhaps this is why he outsources much of the Presidency (to the United Nations; to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi). There is just so little reward in the nitty gritty of legislation, and he just cannot get the same sort of payoffs as Ben Nelson and Mary Landreiu.

But are the lives of Israelis and Palestinians not worthy enough to spend time on? This may actually be a good thing given the amount of damage he has caused and the slow process underway on the West bank to stabilize the Palestinian situation. But how about Iran's nuclear program? Is Iran just not worth his effort because there is no quick payoff? Has he just gotten bored and would he rather be on the links or listening to the soothing sounds of jazz at the endless White House musical soirees he has started having during the week?


Or is there just the attitude: what's in it for me? Let's call him President Pavlov.

I guess the hard work of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a turn off to the president. Here is Ben Smith on Steve Rosen's column regarding Obama's distancing himself from the Middle East peace process:
Obama invested heavily in the peace process early on and got burned in no small part by - as his team sees it - the Palestinian side and Arab leaders who stepped back from promises of confidence-building steps. Now he has started to back away, at least personally, from a process with no immediate reward.

On the Iran issue, his approach has been a complete failure so it behooved him to shove it off onto Hillary Clinton so she can fall on the sword and be assigned the blame for a nuclear Iran. Here Jonathan Tobin examines the tea leaves and sees that the all but invisible Hillary Clinton has emerged from purdah and been given the Iran portfolio as the Obama policy verges on failure:

With force off the table and the Obama engagement policy morphing into a long, drawn-out diplomatic effort to create a limited sanctions plan that is unlikely to work, it is hard to believe that anyone in the White House really thinks that Hillary Clinton has been given a chance to succeed. If, as has long been feared, the administration is transitioning from a policy of failed engagement to one predicated on learning to live with Iranian nukes, then the secretary of state is being set up for failure - not vindication of her campaign rhetoric. As much as a more realistic assessment of Iran is to be welcomed, the idea that Hillary is now in charge on Iran may just be a polite way of saying that the administration is officially punting on the issue.

This is part and parcel of a distressing habit of Barack Obama: blaming his own failures and mistakes on others. Jake Tapper noticed this habit in early, 2008 when he catalogued a myriad of mistakes Barack Obama had made that he or his campaign attributed to "staffers" in post titled "Obama's Inability To Hire Good Help Rears Its Head..Again":

So, for those keeping track at home, that's ten instances of Obama publicly blaming his staff for various screw-ups.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!

Barack Obama's "staffers" can now join "Hillary Clinton" as fall "guys" who can prevent Barack Obama being held accountable for his mistakes.

The buck does not stop at Obama's desk. We know that by now. The" Buck Stops Here" slogan made famous by Harry Truman has devolved into "Pass the Buck" under Barack Obama.


Just look at the deficit. Should we be troubled that a president cannot motivate himself to act unless he sees a short-term "reward" in it for him and his ego? The new book "Game Change" noted how quickly Barack Obama grew bored with his roles. Perhaps this is why he outsources much of the Presidency (to the United Nations; to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi). There is just so little reward in the nitty gritty of legislation, and he just cannot get the same sort of payoffs as Ben Nelson and Mary Landreiu.

But are the lives of Israelis and Palestinians not worthy enough to spend time on? This may actually be a good thing given the amount of damage he has caused and the slow process underway on the West bank to stabilize the Palestinian situation. But how about Iran's nuclear program? Is Iran just not worth his effort because there is no quick payoff? Has he just gotten bored and would he rather be on the links or listening to the soothing sounds of jazz at the endless White House musical soirees he has started having during the week?


Or is there just the attitude: what's in it for me? Let's call him President Pavlov.