Back when I was a lad, every summer our family loaded up the Chevy Suburban (or Ford Van which replaced it) and headed West or Northeast for a camping trip. One year, we visited Wyoming, Montana and Alberta. After hiking i Yellowstone National Park, our parents planned to take us to Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, but one of my younger brothers took ill. They changed the plans, we headed to Great Falls to seek medical attention.
A visit to a doctor and a few days rest at a local Holiday Inn and soon my brother was back to normal.
The lesson of this anecdote should be familiar to anyone who has found himself in a position of responsibility. When the circumstances change, you need to change your plans. My parents recognized that with my brother’s illness, we could not continue the trip as planned.
So too should Obama recognize that with increasing evidence of a growing terror threat and continuing uncertainty about the economy, he has to turn his attention from regulatory schemes like health care and cap and trade and focus on jobs and national security.
Sometimes, I wonder if the president pushed through such a massive “stimulus” at the outset of his Administration, assuming that releasing so much cash would be certain to create jobs. The economy would pick up, allowing Democrats to focus on their pet big-government projects.
But, things didn’t work out as planned.
That’s why this Democrat needs to learn from FDR. Had it not been for the wars in Europe and the Far East, had that Democrat bid for a third term in 1940, he likely would have lost the presidential contest that fall, to be known to history as an inspiring failure. But, as the threat to Western Civilization grew, he pivoted to meet the emerging challenges. Magazine covers notwithstanding, the latest Democrat to occupy the White House shows few signs of following in his illustrious predecessor’s footsteps.
The “stimulus” hasn’t worked. He needs develop new and different programs to increase employment.
His national security team offered a ham-handed response to the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253. He needs shake up that team and devote greater attention to the terrorist threat. Obama, as Rudy Giuliani contends, may have “turned the corner” in his understanding of that threat, but he needs show that he has made countering it a priority.
Eight years ago, George W. realized he could no longer focus on the domestic issues which defined his campaign. He knew that 9/11 changed everything. His successor hasn’t faced such a catastrophic attack, but the juxtaposition of the event on Christmas Day and the unemployment figures released today show us the issues of paramount importance to our nation.
In our daily lives, we all recognize that we must change our plans to address unforeseen circumstances. The way we handle such circumstances marks out qualities of leadership. It is why Americans of all political stripes admire Captain Chesley Sullenberger.
True leaders change course when circumstances merit. Obama appears to be standing pat.