The president’s playbook when things go wrong: Deny knowledge, blame hapless subordinates.
By Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Steet Journal
Vice President Joe Biden lamented earlier this year that there were too many Americans stuck in a “dead-end job.” If only he had noted how many work near his office.
Of all the reputations Barack Obama has built over these years, the one that may figure most into his struggling presidency is the one that has received the least attention: He is a lousy boss. Every administration has its share of power struggles, dysfunction and churn. Rarely, if ever, has there been one that has driven more competent people from its orbit—or chewed up more professional reputations.
The focus this week is on Chuck Hagel, and the difficulty the White House is having finding the next secretary of defense. The charitable explanation is that lame-duck executives always have a challenge finding a short-termer to mop up the end of a presidency. The more honest appraisal came from a former Defense official who told Politico that Michèle Flournoy—a leading contender who removed herself from consideration—didn’t “want to be a doormat” in an administration that likes its failed foreign policy, and is keeping it.
“Doormat” has been the job description for pretty much every Obama employee. The president bragged in 2008 that he would assemble in his cabinet a “Team of Rivals.” What he failed to explain to any of the poor saps is that they’d be window dressing for a Team of Select Brilliant Political Types Who Already Had All the Answers: namely, himself and the Valerie Jarretts and David Axelrods of the White House.