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Archive for March 22nd, 2009

The idea of America, the nation that we have understood to be the world’s remaining great Super Power, following the end of the cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union twenty years ago, has undergone a transformation in the past sixty days in the eyes of the world. In just sixty days, we have demonstrated to the world our ability to decline rapidly into a third world politic, as our elected officials in Congress wrestle over the blame game for the current economic crisis.

Last week the Congress and the President focused the nation’s and the world’s attention on their mutual ineptness, as they fueled populist rhetoric and ranted about bonus payouts for certain AIG employees. A nation and its media appeared to be obsessed about AIG. Members of Congress demanded that the AIG employees that received retention bonuses return them. The house even passed a bill which authorized a 90% tax on the bonuses in an act of legislative vengeance against a select group that is unsurpassed in recent history.

Congress is exhibiting manic behavior and the President, in a tremendous lack of political sensitivity is busy appearing on late night entertainment shows and acting as though he were still in the midst of the campaign. No doubt, the adulation that Barack Obama received on the campaign trail has an addictive quality to it. However, the campaign is over, Obama is now the President and he has to begin to govern.

Obama has shown that his lack of executive experience is harmful to the nation and as a result he is substituting arrogance for the confidence that is gained from ones experience. He is determined to attempt to push through a budget which transforms the education, energy and health care platforms of the nation amidst economic turmoil that threatens an economic anarchy that will significantly lower standards of living in America for decades to come.

 He is adamant about retaining his Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner despite growing concern across constituencies from vested parties here and around the Globe that it would be in both the nation’s and the President’s interest for the embattled Geithner to step aside before his remaining base of support collapses around him. Obama’s continuing support of Geithner is a test of wills. It is a test of  the President’s will versus the will of a nation that is quickly becoming disenchanted with the new administration.

An experienced CEO knows which battles to fight and which ones to concede. In the case of Barack Obama his lack of experience at the helm will cause him to expend political capital to to retain an embattled Geithner, sacrificing valuable capital for battles to come. A CEO also understands that they need to identify priorities and focus resources on the areas most likely to yield the highest return. In the current environment that would dictate that Obama focus his resources on the economic crisis as opposed to diverting resources toward the creation of another socialist democracy.

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