Back when I was in high school, we knew of this psychiatrist who, at least by his own account, graduated in the top of his medical school class. Parents would dispatch many a teenage boy, diagnosed with some of the difficulties of adolescence, to this dapper man. And to most of them, he did a world of good by fulfilling one aspect of the Hippocratic oath; he did no harm.
But, that’s of course, because he did nothing, merely sat and listened — or so we heard tell. But, if a boy had real problems, well, this man wasn’t very good because all he did was sit and listened, as if by his very presence, he could fix whatever ailed him.
Which brings me to the present. And the president.
Almost from Day One of his tenure in the Oval Office, President Obama has stood back and let others set his Administration’s agenda. Congressional Democrats wrote his much ballyhooed “stimulus.” They would later, in back rooms on Capitol Hill, craft his health care overhaul. He let France and the United Kingdom, through the ministrations of the United Nations, set his policy in Libya. No wonder only 17% of Americans see Obama as a decisive war leader.
It seems he thinks he can lead by his presence alone.
And to be sure, in normal times, that might not be a bad thing. In times of peace, a free society functions better with a leader who is little more than a functionary, refraining from meddling into our daily lives. But, with crises around the world and a meddlesome government continuing to hold our economy in check, we need a leader who can do a little more than go around the world delivering speeches while letting others set national policy.
Currently, instead of the president setting the agenda, we have an Alice in Wonderful Libya policy, with the coalition continually quibbling even though the operation is still in its infancy. What a difference eight years makes.
One hopes that young men with real problems were not directed to see that arrogant shrink of our high school lore, lest they deal with someone who believed he could cure just by being there.
For just like the president, this man assumed that being there was all it took.
NB: Fixed a few typos and added a few words to improve the flow.