Democrats: The Buck Stops…uh, Somewhere…


…clearly, anywhere but with the big guy himself.

That’s the conclusion Sean Hannity and Mark Steyn drew the other night, in reaction to Virginia’s former Democrat Governor, L. Douglas Wilder, who recently wrote that President Barack Obama “must overhaul his own team, replacing the admittedly brilliant advisers who helped elect him with others more capable of helping him govern” to turn around the Dems’ current political woes:

The changes must go much deeper. Obama’s West Wing is filled with people who are in their jobs because of their Chicago connections or because they signed on with Obama early during his presidential campaign. One problem is that they do not have sufficient experience at governing at the executive branch level. The deeper problem is that they are not listening to the people.

[…]

Obama’s job approval ratings are sliding, but we Democrats are told not to worry. We are told that he remains personally popular with the American people. It would be a grave mistake for the president and those around him to misread the current polls and analyses. They suggest that 1) the American people do not like the direction in which the country is heading; 2) they do not believe that either Democrats or Republicans are showing that they get the message and are doing the business of the people; 3) they hold Congress in very low regard; but 4) they really like the president. Yet, they keep going to the polls to rebuke him resoundingly every chance it is presented.

Acknowledgment of the White House’s dubious personnel choices and tone-deafness is welcome, but as Steyn pointed out, separating these things from Obama himself can only go so far:

STEYN: The king is a failure, so initially you can’t blame the king, you blame his courtiers.  And these four Chicago guys…in the end, you can’t stick them with the blame for what’s happened this last year, because the president is the guy who hired them, and also, it’s the president’s policies that have been disastrous for his popularity.

[…]

And the trouble is, for the first time in his life, he has to get up in the morning, he has to get into the office at nine in the morning, and make executive decisions.  And he’s never had to do that.  The only job he ever really had was at Harvard Law Review, and I gather he just sort of breezed in a couple of days a week and glad-handed a couple of people and then breezed out again.  He’s never had to do a job and make executive decisions, and he’s hopeless at them.

Steyn is right: it’s no coincidence that a far-left politician is pursuing a far-left agenda, nor should it surprise us to see an executive lightweight hire the wrong people.  And while Obama may have let Congress run wild with the stimulus, the fact is that he’s doing pretty much what he promised to do, and no matter how much Wilder and company wish otherwise, there’s only so much “competence” and “experience” can do to mask the fundamental deficiencies of progressive governance.

Whenever things go badly for the Democrats, there’s always an excuse: the American people would have picked John Kerry if only he had articulated his message better.  Scott Brown would have lost if only Martha Coakley hadn’t done stupid things like call Curt Schilling a Yankee fan.  Poor Barack is a thoughtful moderate who just happens to be surrounded by ideologues who don’t know what they’re doing. Somehow, it never occurs to them to reconsider their ideology or their platform.  It may have been a Democratic president who made “The Buck Stops Here” famous, but you’d never know it from looking at his successors.

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Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.