This one is downright scary.
One of Bob Oster's CEO friends wrote this. Bob respects him highly.
(For those on this list who don't know Bob: he was CFO of Oracle when
it went public, also CFO of Syntex, and holds a Ph.D. in economics
from Berkeley. Since 1987, he has been an angel investor and private
VC. He is on the Board of Overseers at the Hoover Institution.)
My 6 Month Evaluation of the Obama Presidency
In November 2008, I wrote my evaluation of the Obama candidacy and
what it might mean to America. I filed this away, but sent it to
family members and a few close friends and associates just so I’d be
accountable for my real time observations. It’s now been 6 months
since Obama’s inauguration. (In the business world, this is typically
when a first job review would occur; so, I made a note to myself to
revisit his performance on the 6-month anniversary.) Thus, I now
commit to filing my mid-year evaluation of our new President. As
well, I’ve put in the file (but not forwarded to anyone) a separate
“background check” — the one the press should0ve done on the Obama
candidacy prior to presenting him to the American public — in case
this is ever of relevance as things unfold.
As concerned as I was by Obama’s candidacy when I wrote out my
November pre-election reservations, truth be known, I didn’t much like
McCain/Palin either. At the time, I still had hopes that Obama might
“govern from the center.” Six months into it, however, I can say that
he’s been considerably worse than my worst fears. Thus, I’m updating
my evaluation — this time with the fervent hope that by the year-end I
can be genuinely more optimistic.
I’ve concluded that not only was Barack Obama too inexperienced to be
President, but he also appears to be incompetent as an executive,
more-than-just-politician-level-dishonest and a bit of a narcissist
(if not a fascist). He seems to have little understanding of American
history, her dreams, or her tremendous potential for risk-taking,
self-correction and innovation. He and Michel le have turned out to
be quintessential Ivy League “Oppression Studies majors” with
(carefully concealed) “attitudes.” Obama seems, above all, to be a
Community Organizer with shakedown credentials and extraordinary
speaking ability. All of this should have been clear -- had we simply
done serious background checks.
(The following 4 items, at least, should have been clear to voters:
1. His surrogate father figure was Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed
Communist. 2. Barack served as a committed trainer for Community
Activist and Marxist, Saul Alinsky.
3. He sat for nearly 2 decades at the feet of Jeremiah Wright, an
angry, anti-American “Black Liberation Theologist.”
4. His first autobiography, Dreams from My Father, was almost
certainly ghost-written by William Ayers, a Vietna m-era domestic
terrorist. [This last assertion has now been supported by careful
analysis of syntax, spelling and common errors].) If these unusual
threads (standing alone) are discounted to the point of not being
disqualifiers, those evaluating Barack Obama might have considered
that he’d never:
1. held a job in the private sector
2. managed a payroll
3. led a turnaround
4. held any sort of executive position.
But, none of this mattered in the fall of 2008. After 6 months, I’m
left wondering if power brokers on the Far Left of American politics
aren’t pinching themselves at their success in creating a fictitious
character the press ushered to market in a Bush-weary and "politically
correct" America. In his second autobiography, The Audacity of Hope,
Obama recognizes the advantage of his tabula rasa “creation” when he
writes, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different
political stripes project their own views.”
And, project we did! Thus, the former Barry Soetoro of Honolulu,
Jakarta, Mombasa, Occidental, Columbia, Harvard and the mean streets
of Chicago moved at light speed from being the first-term senator
nobody had ever heard of to President of the Unite d States. In the
process, despite numerous efforts, no one has yet seen his birth
certificate, his college transcripts, his application to Occidental
(likely as a “foreign student”?), or the passport he used to travel in
1981 to Pakistan with buddy Wahid Hamid (likely an Indonesian one?).
For some reason, the Obama campaign has, so far, spent $3/4 million
keeping these records out of public view. So, it’s easy to wonder --
if they supported Obama’s putative CV -- why not make them available
and put to rest all suspicions about provenance, training and
My growing hunch is that there’s virtually no paper trail because the
Obama biography has been created largely out of whole cloth. There --
I’ve said what increasing numbers of people must be thinking, but are
afraid to voice. Whether or not Obama is more than a
cleverly-marketed fiction, and whatever one thinks of his history, one
thing is clear. He finally does have a record to evaluate. And, it’s
not a confidence-inspiring one from my standpoint.
At best, Obama is an attractive symbol for America and a compelling
communicator; but he’s:
1. Not an executive. He’s shown an utter inability to focus, to set
priorities and to consider 2nd and 3rd order or long-term consequences
to his actions. Lack of focus on priorities is fatal as a CEO; (but,
maybe less so for a political leader?)
2. Not a steward or fiduciary for America. Obama clearly does not
see his primary job as one of overseeing the security and well-being
of America during his tenure as its chief executive. He’s not only
unwilling to stand up for America, but he also regularly seems to go
out of his way to apologize for her history. This makes it apparent
that he believes his most important job is to change America into what
he and Michelle think it should have been had we not suffered the
Founders’ flawed vision.
At worst, Obama’s aims seem truly radical (if stealth); his methods
pure Alinsky; and his success derivative of obfuscating the truth,
creating crises, and rushing changes into law that no one can possibly
absorb under artificial deadlines — all aimed at limiting private
property rights, changing the Constitution and forever altering our
free market system?
For those who consider Obama’s training and background irrelevant,
they can now evaluate him as a Commander-in-Chief and CEO from what
he’s done over his first 6 months.
Among many other things, these evidences have come in the form of:
1. A $787B “stimulus” package (sold as preventing a “crisis from
2. The failure to focus on addressing the banking crisis as “Job One”
3. The migration of TARP funds to non-banking concerns, viz., auto
4. Announcing tax increases in the middle of a recession
5. Failure to identify projects to fund job creation (Thus, <10% of
stimulus yet spent)
6. Announcing that there would be “no pork” or “earmarks” in the
“stimulus” package in order to get it passed without review when there
were nearly 10,000 buried in the unread bill (including a $9B
high-speed rail line to Las Vegas for Harry Reid)
7. Bailouts of the banking and auto industries
8. The appointment of a 31-year-old to manage the recreation of the
9. The exalting of union claims above those of bondholders
(violating a 200+ year history of contract law/property rights)
10. The appointment of 34 unvetted “czars” -- creating more than in
the House of Romanov between 1762 and 1917!
11. The failure to appoint a Cabinet of tax-paying, competent
Americans (reason for the move to the Czar system of administration?)
12. The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court despite
an apparent lack of qualifications and judicial temperament,
13. The dark-of-night passage of “Cap and Trade” legislation
(300-page-long addendum inserted at 3AM the morning of the vote in the
14. The high pressure tactics to rush through a budget-busting $1.6T
takeover of health care.
15. Phony “town hall” meetings with a fake cross-section of
Americans selling Obamacare on ABC.
16. “Lying” about budget deficits — projecting 4% GDP growth by
year-end. 17. Lying” about job losses — projecting that if
Congress would just ram through the “stimulus” that job losses could
be halted at 8% (currently on their way to 10% and rising).
18. “Lying” about the costs of nationalized health care -- (just as
when politicians projected Medicare’s cost in 1990 to be $3 billion,
its actual cost turned out in 1990 to $98 billion — 30 times as
19. Pretending that new entitlement programs will provide lower
costs, better care, no significant tax increases, more competition
(as government joins the fray!?) and keeping current private options.
Claiming “free” health care will make America more competitive is
baffling. Everyone knows the above are lies; but no one seems ready
to call them out.
20. Forcing the “stimulus” package on states to impinge on “States
21. Failing to support the freedom-loving citizens in Honduras and
Iran (and instead, giving comfort to their dictators) to say nothing
of his ineffectiveness with North Korea and anti-Israeli
22. Allocating $4B of “stimulus” funds to ACORN, the voter fraud thugs.
23. Seeking to push through Union Card Check, the so-called “Fairness
Doctrine,” and threats to take away 2nd amendment rights (see Eric
24. Moving the heretofore non-partisan census into the White House
under the direction of Rahm Emanuel.
Whatever one thinks of the results, the process of getting to them
should bother all Americans. In the Obama (Mayor Daley?) style of
governing, it’s not clear that Congress — who can’t possibly process
thoughtfully the blizzard of legislation — really serves any useful
purpose other than to provide Politburo-style cover. Not only does
Congress no longer debate legislation, but Obama has effectively
circumvented its oversight of the executive branch by his appointment
In contrast to the direction Obama is taking us all, the Economist
recently pointed out that 53% of all of the jobs created in the U.S.
were created in one state last year: Texas (the most free market of
all State economies and the “last best hope” [ha!] for secession?).
Meanwhile, in California, -- as a perfect preview to “Obama’s America”
-- job losses are already well into double digits, the state faces a
$25B budget deficit and is closing down services and considering
bankruptcy. I cannot predict what will happen to Obama’s popularity,
as people wake up to the size and intractability of the deficits he’s
promoting, the unavailability of credit for small businesses, or the
increased tax rates on energy and payrolls provoking a continuing loss
of jobs as small businesses shed employees due to skyrocketing costs.
Is bad economic news bad for Obama? Sadly, the answer, if one studies
the Alinsky formula for bloodless revolution, is “Heck no!” Indeed,
high unemployment is necessary for the Obama Redistribution Plan.
According to Alinsky, only with high unemployment will people look to
the government for help (and then become dependent), allowing
government to gain control over the factors of productions. If one
considers that the Alinsky manual might be Obama’s “playbook,” one
can’t help but want to evaluate how closely it s being followed.
Thus, in evaluating Obama’s performance, it’s probably worth noting
(for the 6-month record) the key elements of the Alinsky formula.
Written in 1971 by Chicago Organizer, Saul Alinsky, under the title of
Rules for Radicals, this manual for effective change became Young
Barack Obama’s “bible.” David Alinsky, son the author said of our new
President: “Barack Obama patterned himself after the Saul Alinsky
model in everything he has done since arriving in South Chicago.”
Alinsky clearly stated its purpose: “Any revolutionary change must be
preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward
change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so
defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they
are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This
acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution.”
Note how closely Obama is following the rules for internal revolution,
based on Alinsky’s specific instructions:
1. Pursue an “Ideology of Change” (Alinsky’s phrase for the most
effective way to market revolution)
2. Target the banks that serve the steel, auto, and other industries.
3. Start class warfare -- Fuel the anger of what Alinsky calls the
“Have-Nots,” and the “Have-some-but-want-mores” against the “Haves.”
4. Use crises to create fear.
5. Use pollution as a foil to grab power.
6. Set up “jobs programs” to make workers dependent on government.
7. Show supreme self-confidence.
8. Make communication skills your key weapon.
9. Use simple catch phrases and vague slogans (‘Of the Common
Welfare, [Nazi takeover of Germany], ‘Bread and Peace,’ [Bolshevik
Revolution]) In this context, it’s not hard to imagine that Change &
The Audacity of Hope will one day be seen as the battle cry for the
10. Use deception --“…in war the end justifies almost any means.”
11. Remain calm, appealing, likeable while inciting fear, conflict, defeat.
As these steps are being pursued, the press continues to refer to "the
Republican recession," so Obama’s popularity remains high. Any who saw
tapes of President Bush warning Congress (on two separate occasions)
that the market was headed for disaster unless it instituted the very
reforms Barney Frank and Chris Dodd pooh-poohed, may be surprised to
see the level of “cover” the press is providing this revolution.
As bleak as things look for free markets, I have hope. Why? Just as
Bernie Madoff learned that ponzi schemes eventually come to light —
Barack Obama may soon learn that you 9 Ccan’t fool all of the people
all of the time.” It’s unclear to me how much and how long America
will have to pay for its experiment with Obamunism — his fantasy
“green jobs,” his new taxes, his junk science, his czars, his meddling
in the auto and banking industries, his sure-to-be-disastrous
Obamacare and the encouragement he’s giving to union bosses, dictators
and tyrants the globe over, to say nothing of his
"Peace-through-Weakness” foreign policy. But, at some point, reality
will take over, as it always does. I just hope America will have its
Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan ready to step into the breach when
the time comes.
So far, the nervousness of Blue Dog Democrats and their ability to
resist some of the wackier directives has been the only thing that has
kept Obama from an outright failing grade, in my view. Perhaps, just
as the Gingrich Congress rescued Bill Clinton, it may be these
so-called Blue Dogs that rescue Obama. If not, it may be important
for the survival of the union for government to be forever split
between the parties.