A Question of Competence

How bad does it have to be for the American people to doubt the competence of this administration?

If you will recall, a recent Fox New poll found that a plurality of Americans believe the Obama administration to be less competent than his predecessors, including George W. Bush's administration. 

A brand new CNN poll found similar results.  When asked if Obama “can manage the government effectively,” 57% of Americans say he cannot. 

Then we have polls showing that voters would elect Mitt Romney over Barack Obama if the presidential election was  held today. 

And we have articles being written about Obama already being a lame duck president.

You know things are bad when Obama loses the Washington Post.  Chris Cillizza writes, “President Obama’s competence problem is worse than it looks.”  He says that this issue of competence is going to hurt Democrats going into the midterm election. 

By virtually every measure, Barack Obama has failed to execute effectively.  From the economy to foreign policy, there is virtually no issue where Obama's team can claim success.  Then add onto this the scandals that have emerged and the humanitarian crisis on our border.  It's hard to imagine how an effective government could allow for tens of thousands of illegals to come across our border and deal with the situation so poorly. 

But it's not just Obama who is hurting his administration's competency and credibility.  John Kerry is also doing a bang-up job.  Kerry was sent to help facilitate a ceasefire in Gaza.  But his efforts have been described as “misinformed,” “unfair,” “naive,” “wreckage,” “a big blunder” and “a significant mistake.”  You can read this Washington Post piece which describes how Kerry blew it. 

As a Times of Israel writer put it, “Despite the tendency to criticize US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts, credit should be given where credit is due. Over the weekend, Kerry did manage to facilitate something in the Middle East: unparalleled unanimity.  Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan were all in agreement that Kerry’s efforts were undermining the attempt to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as quickly as possible.”

Kerry, similar to Obama in his hubris, thought that he could just go over there and achieve a quick diplomatic end to this situation.  Obviously it's not that simple, and his tone deaf efforts to help find an appropriate solution have left Israelis feeling as though the American government has taken the side of Hamas, Qatar and Turkey.

The incompetence is astounding and left our closest ally wondering where we stand at a time of significant peril.  Criticism has been so heated that the White House and the State Department have been forced to publicly defend Kerry.

Why does this administration and most of the world seem to lack moral clarity on this issue?  Hamas started this.  Israel is protecting itself.  Considering that the destruction of Israel is in Hamas' charter, the only way this can be solved longterm is to make sure that Hamas does not have the capability – whether its rockets or infrastructure or tunnels – to attack Israel again.

As former US Israeli ambassador Michael Oren said in the Washington Post, “Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas.”  He goes on to explain how in order to guarantee peace, “this war must be given a chance.”

“The cycle can end, now and decisively. As Operation Protective Edge enters its third week , responsible world leaders can give Israel the time and the leverage it needs to alter Hamas’s calculus. They can let the Israeli army ferret Hamas out of its holes and make it pay a prohibitive cost for its attacks. They can create an outcome in which the organization, even if it remains in Gaza, is defanged and deprived of its heavy arms. Of course, Hamas will resist demilitarization, and more civilians will suffer, but by ending the cycle once and for all thousands of innocent lives will be saved.”

A short-term ceasefire may be politically expedient for Barack Obama's administration, but it may not be in the best interest of our ally Israel.  That's for them to decide, and our naïve approach to “fixing” this current situation has made us look foolish on the world stage once again.


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