November 28, 2010
President Obama, It's Business, Not Personal
Years ago, as a freshly recruited manager in an international corporation's headquarters, I was offered this friendly advice from my co-workers: The day we were hired, an imaginary bullet was fired, and we would spend the rest of our careers attempting to outrun, outmaneuver, or transfer around the world to avoid it. I soon found that for many, frustration or exhaustion would eventually overcome, and they would leave, while some truly couldn't cut it and were fired. And frequently, a corporate reorganization, spurred by a restless board of directors and designed by pricey consultants, resulted in involuntary terminations from the top down.
With each new reorganization or management team would come plans for new marketing programs, cost efficiencies, and product improvements, accompanied by a shiny new Mission Statement, polished with feel-good phrases that fostered employee well-being and community service. Accounting reserves were recorded, the stock price was adjusted, revised forecasts were prepared, and all would anxiously speculate whether achieved performance would be sufficient. Upper management was usually protected with contracts, but at the end of the day, if results failed to meet expectations, the board could eject any or all of them, their fall to earth cushioned with golden parachutes or severance packages. There were no guarantees.
In the corporate world, it is understood: This is business, not personal.
President Obama has no comprehension of the phrase "not personal." To him, everything is about Obama, and his definition of "we" is "me, myself, and I." Never having had much of a real job other than campaigning and community organizing, he also doesn't grasp the concept of "business." Obama seems oblivious to his job description (defined by the oath of office), he displays scant loyalty to his company (America), and he appears unconcerned with the product it produces (freedom and liberty).
Yes, fellow citizens (shareholders), Obama works for you. He was correct when he once offered, "You've got me," but now, several bills, regulations, lies, deals, executive orders, and appointments later, we find he meant something quite different from "I work for you."
In the corporate world, in-depth interviews with prospective employees are conducted to mitigate such surprises. Typically, a personnel department will thoroughly vet candidates before involving upper management in a hiring decision. It would be unimaginable to rely on an initial application that failed to provide basic credentials to seriously consider a candidate who instead brought with him a flowery autobiography and a compilation of his own favorite speeches, or to depend on tingly-legged interviewers who asked no discerning questions. Whether liberal or conservative, most Americans now realize that they elected a man not resembling the one advertised by the mainstream media or pictured in their own minds, drawn on the blank screen that Obama offered.
Obama's primary job, which he swore twice to do as he took office, is to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. It is not to look and act like the Newsweek cover parody of the Hindu god, the destroyer Nataraja, juggling depictions of "all things" while dancing over a representation of ignorance. Instead of embracing our Constitution, Obama has danced around it. He has failed to defend it and our country from competitors -- enemies both within and without our borders. Instead of standing up to them for us, Obama has bowed and apologized.
Obama appears alien, even adversarial at times, to the America he works for, and his heart seems to be someplace else. As with any corporate executive, as the man at the top, he sets the tone for the rest of us, and the best interests of all shareholders (not just the ones in his party) should be his top priority, all while operating inside the parameters of power granted him. He must be the number-one champion of his company's product -- the assurance and protection of our God-given rights of freedom and liberty. And he must faithfully represent his company, not some fundamentally transformed entity audaciously designed in his own mind.
Now we wonder what exactly Obama's "mission statement" is and just what product he's really peddling. For a man obviously more comfortable reading speeches than actually sitting behind the desk, his admission that the poll-shellacking was due to his own communication ineffectiveness appeared humbling. But in the days since, Obama's actions imply only an erroneous assessment of the level of stupidity of the population. His marketing skills, again on full display during the Asian tour, are less than lackluster. And the value of our shares in the American dream continues to suffer under his economic policies.
Obama has attempted to hide behind others, identified messengers to "shoot," and complained about the sorry state of affairs in the presidential office left for him to tackle; but as one who continually takes everything personally, after two years in office, he has no one left to blame but himself. He finds a floundering U.S. buck still on his desk and the limelight focused squarely on him. But now that limelight, instead of resembling a halo, is beginning to look like an interrogation light, one that will come into greater focus as Rep. Darrell Issa becomes chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
Corporate America knows how to handle an employee, even a CEO, who is inept, bypasses the rules, denigrates the company's product and stockholders, devalues its worth, or diminishes its public image; but most handle firings with a little more tact than Trump. Typically, if the termination is related to performance rather than reorganization, a personnel department will counsel the firing manager to focus on one key issue and document it thoroughly. And on the appointed day, security guards with stacks of boxes stand by in the hallway while the deed is done.
In the private sector, this is business as usual, while in government, such terminations, even when well-deserved, are rare. The Constitution does contain specific provisions for removal of a sitting president -- attesting to the fact that the office is much more special than the person occupying it. In politics, nothing is personal. Thomas Jefferson once said, "When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." Bush, in his new book and recent interviews, tactfully and humbly justifies and defends, rather than himself, "the office," noting its significance and symbolism both on the worldwide stage and to the citizens it represents.
The list of grievances against President Obama is long, but still-too-recent recollections of the Bill Clinton debacle coupled with the fact that the mainstream media is in bed with Obama make the dream of an impeachment more than a Republican public relations nightmare. Jeffrey Kuhner, writing in The Washington Times last July, made a compelling case in favor of an Obama impeachment. When measured by the detrimental impact on our economy and freedoms, the wrongdoing by this president far outweighs lies told, even under oath, of an escapade in the Oval Office. However, an impeachment, while mentally satisfying to many of us, would most likely not result in Obama's removal from office, nor would it do anything to heal our country's woes.
An emboldened Congress must instead keep it strictly business and focus on key issues, starting with repealing, defunding, and undoing as much as possible before our economy is strangled beyond repair. Investigations must be prioritized, commence immediately, and be swift and thorough, and whether or not they lead to an impeachment, such scrutiny would serve an industrial-strength blow to this administration's power.
Standing by in the hallway, sleeves rolled up and eager to begin the task of cleaning up the havoc wreaked on the assembly line, await the American people, ready to roll, a stack of boxes in hand.