Friday, October 26, 2012

Richard Minitier – Leading From Behind (St. Martins Press)

The President of the United States is often referred to as the “leader of the free world.” The underlying premise of award winning, investigative journalist Richard Minitier’s latest best seller Leading From Behind” is an examination of the leadership skills of President Barack Obama.


Minitier examines Obama’s quick rise to the highest office in the land and dissects Obama’s leadership, notably on some very high profile issues like debt/taxes, healthcare, and foreign policy issues like killing Bin Laden and Israel..

While the so-called “Affordable Care Act” has been labeled one of Obama’s signature first term achievements, Minitier makes the case that Obama amounts to nothing more than an absentee landlord when it came to getting the heavy lifting done on getting the bill passed. While it is the legislative branches purview to write and pass legislation, it is the President who often drives the bus on what they deem to be pet projects or legislation.

Certainly healthcare reform was front and center on the Obama agenda when he took office in 2009. Yet when it came to deliver the goods on a reform plan, Obama bailed and left the heavy lifting to then House Speaker, Nancy “we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it” Pelosi.

If you have any working knowledge of Obama’s brief exploits in elective office where he made of habit of not taking a stand, not leading and not voting or voting present. In the Illinois state house, Obama voted present 129 times during his tenure. The folks at place Obama at the mid-low point, if albeit to the far left end of the spectrum when it came to leading on legislation in his two grueling years in the U.S. Senate. Obama chose to sit back while old dog Democrats like Reid, Feinstein, Kennedy, Clinton, Biden, and Specter took the legislative lead.

A quick look at “key” votes in 2008 (according to Project Vote Smart) Obama, a man of the people who claims to care about the middle class, he did not vote on legislation ranging from; Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEP), funding for AIDS/TB/Malaria prevention, a Medicare Bill, Housing foreclosure assistance program and an economic stimulus plan, among others.  

During the 2008 Presidential campaign some pundits were critical about Obama’s lack of experience and his voting record as his desire to pursue higher office and not want to leave a trail or record to have called into question. Minitier however points to a guy not so concerned with being on the record, but the exact opposite of a leader; a guy who is disinterested, rick averse and generally believes he is above it all.

Leading From Behind paints a Barack Obama as a guy who truly believes that he was elected President and he should get everything he wants; someone who confuses Presidents with dictators. It clearly seeps through his approach to leadership, to dictate without having to do the heavy lifting of actual governing. Actual governing can and should pawned be off on others that are beneath him; hence his passing the real work off to others, mostly women. Given the tenor of his campaign’s claims that Republicans are engaging in a “war on women” it makes you wonder about Obama’s attitudes toward women when they are positioned as mere work horses.