Democratic Disaray Attributable To Obama’s Lack Of Leadership

It is so obvious it frustrates me that others are too ideologically or politically blind to admit it. The reason the Democrats are in the shape they’re in today has to do with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his obvious lack of leadership.

Let me give you the latest example found in a Politico article today. It is, in fact, all about why the legislative agenda is in trouble and Democrats are skittish.

Congressional Democrats – stunned out of silence by Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts – say they’re done swallowing their anger with President Barack Obama and ready to go public with their gripes.

If the sentiment isn’t quite heads-must-roll, it’s getting there.

Hill Democrats are demanding that Obama’s brain trust – especially senior adviser David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel – shelve their grand legislative ambitions to focus on the economic issues that will determine the fates of shaky Democratic majorities in both houses.

And they want the White House to step up – quickly – to help shape the party’s message and steer it through the wreckage of health care reform.

Shorter version: “Where’s the leadership from the President?”

It is the same question the Democrats have been asking all year. Left to their own devices, Congressional Democrats have made a hash out of this legislative year. But they’ve been given no choice. Other than a general agenda, Obama has mostly been AWOL when it came to the details of his policies and the direction Congressional Democrats should take. Consequently the process has been left to the very disparate Democratic caucus to formulate and attempt to pass legislation. No leadership on what the legislation should and shouldn’t contain, no attempt to win over those who may or may not agree, no direction and help in fashioning and passing the bills.

And now you have Democrats asking, out loud, for the sort of leadership they require to pass this president’s agenda. And they’re simply not getting it. In fact, the White House’s reaction is classic:

The problem, from the perspective of the White House, is that fractious Democrats provide all the political direction of a nine-needled compass – and often send contradictory messages about how they want him to proceed.

Good Lord! Leaders don’t wait for those they lead to tell him or her “how they want him to proceed”, followers do. What part of “you’re in charge” doesn’t Obama get? They’re sending “contradictory messages” because there’s a leadership vacuum and no one is stepping forward to fill it.

The so-called leader is waiting for those to whom he is supposed to give direction to give him direction. Leaders step forward and give direction. They don’t wait on it from those they’re supposed to lead.

And you wonder why this year has been a disaster for Democrats?

Don’t expect it to get any better – it appears Obama, or “the White House”, actually feel this is what leaders do.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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