A friend, who is a CEO, has told me for some time now that Obama exercised exceedingly poor judgment in running for president without first obtaining some experience as an executive. According to her, Obama would have been wise if he had first paid his dues as governor of Illinois, his home state, before going on to the presidency. She’s been telling me that since before he was elected.
My counter has always been that, while it’s true Obama lacked executive experience, he’s been the best choice given the alternative was McCain.
The trouble is, merely being better than the alternative is still sometimes not good enough. To be better than McCain does not entail you can run a government.
I’ve been wondering about my friend’s point this evening because of some events surrounding last week’s Supreme Court decision. The Court ruled that convicted criminals have no right to subject the state’s evidence to DNA tests in order to prove their innocence. It is inevitable, because of this ruling, that some innocent people who would otherwise go free will continue to be imprisoned. The decision is worthy of a dictatorship.
The sad thing is, Obama’s Department of Justice came down on the wrong side of this issue. Instead of arguing that prisoner’s have a right to DNA testing that might prove their innocence, his DOJ aggressively argued for the oppressive conservative position that the Court ended up adopting. And it did so despite the fact that, as an Illinois state senator, Obama sponsored and lobbied for legislation that gave all inmates a post-conviction right to DNA evidence. So Obama has either changed his convictions about inmate’s rights, or his DOJ is out of his control.
It is possible that Obama will turn out to be a mediocre president. That would be a tragedy given the man’s talents and promise. But I think that if he does turn out to be mediocre, it will be in part because he entered the presidency lacking the executive skills necessary to make his will felt through-out his administration.
There’s a large part of me, though, that does not want to contemplate the possibility of a mediocre presidency. Not now. Not when we need so much more than a mediocre president.