Barack Obama and the Empty Suit

by Bill O'Connell on March 8, 2011

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It’s a term I haven’t heard for a while but it came back to me when listening to Mary Katherine Hamm comment on how President Barack Obama always seems to make the big speech, the bold pronouncement and then doesn’t follow through, rather leaving that to others. Back when the term was popular it stood for an important looking individual in a position of power with nothing inside.


Calm down, I am not bashing the president’s intellect that we are repeatedly told is quite impressive. His political talents are equally extraordinary, but the man has never held a position of making key decisions and seeing they are carried out.

Consider these:

  • Health Care – he came into office and quickly went to work. Most historians will tell you that a president can only focus on 2-3 major issues during his time in office because of the tremendous effort to put them in action. It seemed that President Obama was going to attack 2-3 major issues a month. But after introducing his health care initiative, what happened? Other than for speaking purposes, he withdrew and let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid cobble together a massive mess, that no one understood and then used every last parliamentary tool to drag it across the finish line. Today the plan is unraveling. Federal judge Roger Vincent has declared the whole law unconstitutional, the double counting of $500 billion that the Republicans cried foul over, was just admitted to by Kathleen Sibelius in Congressional testimony; Michelle Bachmann has uncovered a $105 billion slush fund in the bill. Instead of creating a framework for healthcare inside the White House and working with Congress to flesh it out, he just tossed it over the wall and then went and played golf.
  • Closing Guantanamo – repeatedly on the campaign trail Obama lambasted Bush over Guantanamo and military tribunals. He would shut down the former and do away with the latter. He is now continuing with both.
  • Gulf Oil Spill – after the BP spill in the gulf, again he made strong statements about what he was going to do to BP, while agency after agency tripped over each other and slowed the response.
  • Jobs – President Obama pushed through nearly $1 trillion in spending on a stimulus plan that would keep the unemployment rate at 8% instead of 9% under the “do nothing” scenario. Well, it now appears do nothing would have improved the unemployment picture by about a full percentage point, and now we are $1 trillion deeper in debt. Obama put Joe Biden, of all people, in charge of watching the money. Biden was quick to point out he had no experience in economics or finance. The president then killed tens of thousands of jobs in the gulf by stopping drilling permits. A federal court ordered the administration to stop dragging their feet, but they continue.
  • Debt – All of the presidents from Washington to the halfway point in G.W. Bush’s second term accumulated $8 trillion in debt. In the next four years, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid added $5 trillion. President Obama wants to continue spending at this rate for as far as the eye can see. When the American people turned out Nancy Pelosi, and the Republicans talked tough about cutting the debt, President Obama came out with his “you go first” budget of nothing. Now that’s leadership.
  • Middle East – after he toured the Middle East after his election bashing the United States and proclaiming his friendship to the region, it wasn’t long before the Middle East started to unravel. While the mullahs in Iran slaughtered protesters, President Obama said nothing so as not to interrupt his game of patty cake with Ahmadinejad. He didn’t know what to do with Mubarak and is befuddled with Khadafy. Oil prices start climbing with the uncertainty and he ponders tapping into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, instead of drilling for oil here that would create more jobs at the same time.

Taking it Easy


A recent estimate was that President Obama has played sixty rounds of golf so far as president. If you figure that a round of golf takes about four hours, give or take, that works out to six, forty-hour weeks, just playing golf. How many people do you know who start a new job and are able to play golf for six weeks in the first two years. He also is said to play basketball every weekend. He has taken two Christmas vacations in Hawaii and another in Martha’s Vineyard. And let’s not forget numerous parties that we see snippets of at the White House.

Being a community organizer may be a noble calling, but it is no preparation for being the Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America.

That’s my opinion; I’d like to know yours.  Please comment below.

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  • Maureen

    He’s voting present.

    • William O’Connell

      Someone needs to tell him the president doesn’t vote, he makes decisions.

  • Futurewildcat

    I could not agree more…during his State of the Union Address, I counted about 25 things that Barack promised to do. So far he has followed through on exactly zero of those things, but has somehow managed to spend trillions of dollars in the process. He seems to think that spending money and making empty promises is presidential…maybe somebody should inform him that it’s not.

    • William O’Connell

      Maybe the voters will tell him in 2012. Thanks for the comment

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