The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

John Locke was Right....

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


When he said "I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts."

Partisan ideology, never-ending campaigning, and empty rhetoric is no substitute for leadership, competence, and good management.  The Keystone Cop character of the "we first heard about it when we read about it in the news" Obama administration is all the proof you need of the vacuum of ideas at the top in DC.

Not only has the administration been exposed as lacking in creativity, it is also clear that it is incapable, loathe one might say, even when failure is staring it in the face,  to reach out beyond its own (extremely limited and rigid) world view to solicit and implement workable ideas from anyone else, not even its congressional allies.

Even Obama's left-of-center supporters get it:

"I've never seen a guy want to coast this much as president.  Even Bush who couldn't wait to get out of office and be an ex-president was at least still trying really bad ideas to the end. What in the world is President Obama's agenda?!...The base has been eviscerated. There is no vision. The approval ratings have been battered. And President Obama hasn't really done anything colossally wrong yet. "

Obviously, that last sentence borders on delusional and most of his supporters are dissatisfied because they want something more from him, more stuff, more wealth transfers, more punitive regulatory policies against perceived enemies, bigger government programs, higher taxes, more give-aways, etc. (The Huffington Post article title says it all, "What has Obama Done for You Lately?").

But on the saner side, Elaine Kamarck, Democrat and former Clinton administration official, nails it in an LA Times op ed:

"Today, presidents travel nonstop and talk nonstop," she said. "That wasn't always true. This addiction to PR has been terrible for the presidency. Every hour he's on the campaign trail is an hour he could be talking with members of Congress. My advice to any president would be: Stop talking. Start working. "This administration has been disconnected from the government it's supposed to be running," Kamarck charges (and, remember, she's a Democrat). "They seem to view the federal workforce as hostile territory. They don't engage with it…. They don't have a strong system of getting info from the agencies to the president.

The clearest proof: "They keep getting surprised by stuff. And the surprise is almost worse than anything else. It conveys the sense that the White House doesn't know what its own government is doing. "You can't prevent all these problems from happening, but you can certainly get ahead of the curve on some of them. Kamarck points to a larger historical trend at the root of the White House's failings: the transformation of the presidency since the 1960s into an engine of the permanent political campaign.

"When a president suffers an implementation meltdown, those are far worse than legislative losses," she said. "Legislative losses, there's always another party to blame. Implementation problems, voters are going to blame the president — because they think part of his job is running the government. And Americans expect competence."

Read it all, well worth it.

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