He doesn’t have one.
To prove my point, let’s run down the events of this morning.
At 8:50 a.m. the White House announces that President Obama will be holding a news conference at 10:15 a.m.
The start time was pushed back to 10:30 and it wasn’t until 10:46 a.m. that Obama showed up. Usually when this sort of delay happens it means the President is polishing up his remarks because he has an important announcement.
But that was not the case, as we see from the NPR story:
“Announced shortly after 8:30 a.m. and slated for 10:15, this was to be the first such media availability in two months — and just the third this year. A mood of expectation arose in the briefing room, especially as the start time slipped to 10:30 and then 10:45.”
“It felt as though something newsworthy must be happening. But as it turned out, not so much.”
“The president had no announcement to make — not even an opening statement. Instead, he plunged right into the queries, nearly all of them posed in a challenging tone. What about Syria, the Boston Marathon bombing, Mexico, the Republicans in Congress and the challenge of administering Obamacare?”
At one point a reporter asked Obama – “Do you still have the juice?”
“Maybe I should just pack up and go home.”
If only he were being serious about that….
When asked about his 2008 campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay prison, he offered these pearls of wisdom:
“I don’t want these individuals to die.”
“I’m going to go back at this.”
When asked about State Department employees who have hired a lawyer because they are being blocked from testifying, here was Obama’s response:
“Ed, I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody’s been blocked from testifying. So what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you’re referring to.”
For me, the defining moment of the presser occurred when Obama was asked about his recent failures to get Congress to pass Gun Control legislation and to avoid the Sequester. In response to that question “The One” offered this example of his leadership style:
“But, you know, Jonathan, you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow get them to behave. That’s their job.”
Gee, I thought the President of the United States was supposed to be the leader and bring opposing factions together for compromise and motivate Congress. But not according to Obama. Working with Congress? That’s not my job!
Do you hear people at your work use this defeatist attitude to explain away failures? “That’s not my job!”
That kind of response drives me nuts and signals to me that I’m dealing with someone who isn’t a team player and is only interested in doing what he can to just get by. Thinking outside my sphere of influence and going the extra mile? That’s not my job!
The whole Obama presser can be boiled down to this:
These problems are hard and it’s not my job to get these people in Washington together to do the work that the country needs them to do.
Great leadership style there Barack! That kind of leadership may work when you are organizing communities in Chicago but not when you are, in effect, the CEO of the United States of America.
Imagine what would happen if your CEO came out during the quarterly report press conference and told the analysts that it wasn’t his job to provide leadership to the organization and bring together the company to accomplish their objectives. What would the company’s stock price do immediately after that presser?
If my CEO came out and gave a press conference like Obama just gave I’d update my resume immediately and start looking for another job. Unfortunately for us, we can’t look for another country to live in so we’re stuck with this failure for 3+ more years.