Many in the media are warning that President Donald Trump is incompetent and doesn’t know what he’s doing. His ignorance, they say, will mean the downfall of the republic. The hysteria is unwarranted and merely part of a Democratic Party campaign to oust the president and derail his agenda.
This isn’t the first president to face claims of incompetence. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes not. Such charges were made against Barack Obama, and most were warranted, coming not only from Republicans but Democrats. In November 2010, Joe Scarborough reported that several Democratic senators had told him they thought Obama was out of his league.
“Democrats in Washington have been horrified by this president’s handling of things for a year and a half now,” Scarborough said. “The top Democrats in the United States Senate have all told me individually, ‘This guy has no idea what he’s doing.’”
We Also Saw an Employee Exodus
The Guardian also lamented during the same period that the exodus of employees from the Obama administration was a bad sign.
Political analysts attribute the attrition rate to exhaustion, but Republican opponents blame disarray inside the White House, with an insular team responsible for too many policy failures.
In a blog on the Politico website, Alvin Felzenberg, the presidential historian and author of The Leaders We Deserved, writes: ‘These departures are a reflection of Obama’s leadership style. Why he has such a difficult time earning and retaining the loyalties of people outside his circle of intimates is anyone’s guess.’
So Trump isn’t the only president with a trusted inner circle. The difference is, however, that Trump has stepped outside that circle, meeting with people from all stripes and political parties, industries, and interests. Obama didn’t do that. Yet Trump is the bungling idiot? I don’t think so.
In June 2010, Democrat Mort Zuckerman, who voted for Obama in 2008, wrote at U.S. News that the “world sees Obama as incompetent and amateur.”
The reviews of Obama’s performance have been disappointing. He has seemed uncomfortable in the role of leading other nations, and often seems to suggest there is nothing special about America’s role in the world.
Even in Britain, for decades our closest ally, the talk in the press—supported by polls—is about the end of the ‘special relationship’ with America. French President Nicolas Sarkozy openly criticized Obama for months, including a direct attack on his policies at the United Nations. Sarkozy cited the need to recognize the real world, not the virtual world, a clear reference to Obama’s speech on nuclear weapons. When the French president is seen as tougher than the American president, you have to know that something is awry. Vladimir Putin of Russia has publicly scorned a number of Obama’s visions. Relations with the Chinese leadership got off to a bad start with the president’s poorly-organized visit to China, where his hosts treated him disdainfully and prevented him from speaking to a national television audience of the Chinese people. The Chinese behavior was unprecedented when compared to visits by other U.S. presidents.
Note how Zuckerman was bothered that Putin opposed Obama’s visions. Yet Democrats today (and too many Republicans) think Putin’s reported embrace of Trump’s vision is something to fear. So which is it, Democrats? Do you want to work with Russia or not?
Zuckerman saw Obama as a failure in other ways outside foreign policy. “He speaks as a teacher, as someone imparting values and generalities appropriate for a Sunday morning sermon, not as a tough-minded leader.”
The Obama presidency has so far been characterized by a well-intentioned but excessive belief in the power of rhetoric with too little appreciation of reality and loyalty. . . .
Strategic decisions go well beyond being smart, which Obama certainly is. They must be based on experience that discerns what works, what doesn’t—and why. This requires experienced staffing, which Obama and his top appointees simply do not seem to have.
Even more scathing was liberal extraordinaire Gore Vidal with this evaluation of Obama that same year: “I was like everyone else when Obama was elected – optimistic. Everything we had been saying about racial integration was vindicated, but he’s incompetent. He will be defeated for re-election. It’s a pity because he’s the first intellectual president we’ve had in many years, but he can’t hack it. He’s not up to it. He’s overwhelmed. And who wouldn’t be? The United States is a madhouse.”
Vidal called Obama a “kid” who has never “heard a gun fired in anger.” The president is “absolutely bowled over by generals, who tell him lies and he believes them,” Vidal continued. “He’s not ready for prime time and he’s getting a lot of prime time on his plate at once.” Hold your horses! Generals lied to Obama? But I thought that only happened to Trump.
‘Amateur Hour at the White House’
Even the Washington Post had to admit all was not well in Obama world when they reported that the White House wasn’t ready for conflicts over policy: “President Obama’s advisers acknowledged Tuesday that they were unprepared for the intraparty rift that occurred over the fate of a proposed public health insurance program, a firestorm that has left the White House searching for a way to reclaim the initiative on the president’s top legislative priority.”
Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics was “stunned” that Obama “would be caught off guard by this,” adding that his “lack of foresight” was “absolutely inexcusable.” “How could they not have anticipated this?” Cost asked. “How could they possibly have been surprised that the left and right flanks of the party would not see eye to eye?”
Seems like things haven’t changed that much, at least rhetorically. “But Trump is worse!” many might claim. Yet that isn’t true at all. What’s worse is the way it’s being reported and repeated. The claims of incompetence are rushing like a torrent from every direction and with such hysteria that you’d think the chaos of Armageddon was upon us.
Paul Krugman refers to the “staggering ignorance of Trump and says we have “an intellectual vacuum at the top” where “ignorance is strength.” Therefore, we must “be afraid, be very afraid.” Dana Milbank claims that “competence questions arise daily,” plaguing the White House at every turn.
CNBC predicts, as if it has a crystal ball, that “White House tumult threatens to derail Trump’s broad agenda.” Never mind that these same people were constantly wrong about Trump throughout the campaign. But the “incompetence of Trump” fits nicely into their effort to undermine that agenda. As John Harwood writes, “Chaos within the Trump White House has placed a new hurdle in front of Republicans’ goals of enacting health care and tax reform this year.”
They only wish. This is the goal of the mainstream media today: derail Trump’s agenda and hopefully Trump himself either through impeachment or defeat in 2020. We shouldn’t be surprised by Democrats engaging in such propaganda, but what about Republicans? I hear too many of them echoing the Left.
It’s Trump Against the World Again
They might think they’re being principled and objective. They’re not. They’re useful idiots. Trump is not the first president to undergo difficulties in transition. As I’ve stated, Obama faced the same critiques. Trump, however, is getting it from all sides. He’s being undermined and attacked by the media, Hollywood, Congress, the administrative state, Democrats, intelligence officers, and even his own party.
There are forces at work today that Obama never even imagined would raise a finger against him. The cultural and political Left want to delegitimize and defeat the Republican Party, conservatism, and all who are committed to the Constitution as originally written. They want to transform our nation into a collectivist nightmare that rejects our principles of liberty and equality before the law. They will lie, cheat, steal, and punch to achieve their goals.
Republicans throwing Trump under the bus because of pride, lust for power, hurt feelings, or irrational fear will do more to put our republic in jeopardy than any cabinet resignation or travel ban on foreign nationals from hostile regions ever could.
Any Republican, conservative, or American who really cares about freedom and preserving the Constitution needs to stop with the knee-jerk reactions and parroting of the Left. If they continue, they need to be called out and challenged. They need to stop the rhetoric and join the Right in its fight against the Left’s cultural and political Marxism.
We need to stand united against the leftist tyrannical aggression cloaking itself in the revolutionary garbs of resistance or even the preening dress of so-called principles. The Right needs to remember who the real enemy is, and it’s not the current president of the United States.