With the latest revelation of the NSA spying on foreign leaders comes a now familiar response from the White House: President Obama knew nothing about it. As with the Fast and Furious scandal, the IRS harassing Tea Party groups, the reaction to the Benghazi attack, and the collapse of the ObamaCare website, are we to believe that the President was neither briefed nor inquired about any of these subjects? True, plausible deniability is a long established tradition in DC, as is covering one’s backside by pleading ignorance, but what if this is actually true?
A President is an executive with a literally (as VP Joe Biden would say) a million irons in the fire. He relies on his Secretaries to manage their departments, to pursue his policy objectives and keep him informed on their progress. What does it say about the President that he seemingly learns of every major development in his administration from the front page of the New York Times? President Obama is an intelligent man, but this would indicate a stunning lack of curiosity, as well as an alarming indifference to the responsibilities of the office.
How to explain the total lack of involvement in the debut of the ObamaCare website? This is the self-proclaimed signature achievement of his Presidency, yet he was by all indications completely unaware of the program’s progress as the website’s October 1st roll-out day approached. During the run-up to the government shutdown, he drew a red line ruling out any delay in implementing ObamaCare; now the disastrous performance of the website will likely force him to accept a considerable delay.
Pundits have noted Obama’s preference of campaigning over governing, and a propensity to consider a positive headline as a good, if not better, outcome to a problem than an actual solution. Syria comes to mind as a perfect example: the civil war goes on, thousands of Syrians are still dying, but the media is now focused on the work being done to inspect chemical weapons stockpiles. Of course, these are only the chemical weapons that the Assad regime has volunteered to report, and none are being destroyed as of yet, and one suspects that such weapons will inevitably be used again in the conflict, but now that the media is not active in demanding action, it is off his plate.
Obama’s winning margin in 2012 depended heavily on getting the low information voter to cast a ballot for him. The low information voter is not stupid, but they just have better things to do than worry about the governance of the nation. There are the demands of family, and work, and the distraction of sports; they just don’t have the time for current events other than a headline here or a sound bite there; only a general impression of the overall media reporting actually gets through to them.
With the demands of taking care of Michelle and the kids, all the travel for fund-raising speeches, and working on lowering his golf handicap, Barack Obama simply doesn’t have the time or the interest for all the details of actively managing the federal government. It’s time to admit it: we’ve elected a low information voter to the Presidency.