Beginning the autopsy on Obama administration decision-making disasters

I hope to live long enough to see the Obama administration’s disastrous track record objectively evaluated.  The overwhelming media support Obama has received, combined with his demographic characteristics, personal charm, winning smile, sense of humor, and comedy timing, has kept his level of public esteem far above the merits of his presidential decisions.

As his second term winds down, some truth-tellers are beginning to emerge and discuss the quality of decision-making they experienced.  Among the first is Robert Gates.  Aaron Kliegman reports in the Free Beacon:

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that President Obama thinks he is smarter than his advisers and that he surrounds himself with people who will not question his views. As a result, the White House has struggled to develop and implement effective strategy during the Obama administration, according to Gates.

“You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff, ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can,’” Gates said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

“Oh my God, ” host Joe Scarborough said.

Gates’ statement was in response to Scarborough, who asked, “President Obama has actually been criticized for always thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room … Did Barack Obama always think he was the smartest guy in the room?”

As someone who studied and taught group decision-making at Harvard Business School (as well as a non-idiot with a few scraps of common sense), I can attest that this is the worst possible way to go about reaching collective decisions.  The entire idea of such an approach is to bring together diverse information, experiences, and perspectives; weigh them; and reach a conclusion reflecting more considerations than one person could bring to the table.

So how did Obama come to such a level of arrogance?

One answer must be doting grandparents who raised him in the absence of both parents (who had better things to do with their lives).  They must have consoled him with stories that he was very, very special.  Perhaps, as dedicated leftists, possibly communists, they saw him with a historic mission ahead as a member of the group, African-Americans, that the CPUSA identified as the revolutionary vanguard in America.

As fate would have it, young Barack Obama entered the educational system of the United States at the precise moment when a desperate need to atone for past sins led to the lionization of black students who showed promise, and a corresponding reluctance to criticize them.  This sort of condescension is racist at its heart, anchored in an unspoken belief in racial inferiority, but it masquerades as righteous anti-racism.

This is all speculation, of course.  But something has to explain such an intellectually inadequate man rising to the level of responsibility Barack Obama achieved.

On second thought, I am very unlikely to live long enough to see any of this honestly and fairly appraised.  

I hope to live long enough to see the Obama administration’s disastrous track record objectively evaluated.  The overwhelming media support Obama has received, combined with his demographic characteristics, personal charm, winning smile, sense of humor, and comedy timing, has kept his level of public esteem far above the merits of his presidential decisions.

As his second term winds down, some truth-tellers are beginning to emerge and discuss the quality of decision-making they experienced.  Among the first is Robert Gates.  Aaron Kliegman reports in the Free Beacon:

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that President Obama thinks he is smarter than his advisers and that he surrounds himself with people who will not question his views. As a result, the White House has struggled to develop and implement effective strategy during the Obama administration, according to Gates.

“You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff, ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can,’” Gates said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

“Oh my God, ” host Joe Scarborough said.

Gates’ statement was in response to Scarborough, who asked, “President Obama has actually been criticized for always thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room … Did Barack Obama always think he was the smartest guy in the room?”

As someone who studied and taught group decision-making at Harvard Business School (as well as a non-idiot with a few scraps of common sense), I can attest that this is the worst possible way to go about reaching collective decisions.  The entire idea of such an approach is to bring together diverse information, experiences, and perspectives; weigh them; and reach a conclusion reflecting more considerations than one person could bring to the table.

So how did Obama come to such a level of arrogance?

One answer must be doting grandparents who raised him in the absence of both parents (who had better things to do with their lives).  They must have consoled him with stories that he was very, very special.  Perhaps, as dedicated leftists, possibly communists, they saw him with a historic mission ahead as a member of the group, African-Americans, that the CPUSA identified as the revolutionary vanguard in America.

As fate would have it, young Barack Obama entered the educational system of the United States at the precise moment when a desperate need to atone for past sins led to the lionization of black students who showed promise, and a corresponding reluctance to criticize them.  This sort of condescension is racist at its heart, anchored in an unspoken belief in racial inferiority, but it masquerades as righteous anti-racism.

This is all speculation, of course.  But something has to explain such an intellectually inadequate man rising to the level of responsibility Barack Obama achieved.

On second thought, I am very unlikely to live long enough to see any of this honestly and fairly appraised.