Breach of Trust
June 16, 2014
How much do Americans these days value trustworthiness in their leaders? Apparently not much. As a course on trustworthy leaders I attended recently stated, “Trusted leaders are not necessarily trustworthy leaders.” All one has to do is look at the president’s approval numbers that do not seem capable of going south of 40 percent. When the numbers barely budge even in the midst of snowballing scandals, it has to make you wonder what it will take for people to finally get where this president is trying to take us with his “fundamental transformation.” Is Obama succeeding in this transformation because of the latent trust the people put in him simply because he is the president? Maybe.
Since Lyndon Johnson’s presidency, we as a nation have become increasingly cynical about our government and its leaders, especially in their propensity (or lack thereof) to tell the truth. However, when it comes to Obama, most people seem unwilling to go to the dark place that he’s actually engaged in a deliberate attempt to reduce the preeminence of the United States in the world at a minimum. At worst, he’s out to totally subvert our system of government and Constitution.
The course I attended pointed out 13 characteristics of a trustworthy leader. Maybe if people measured the president’s performance against this list it might be eye-opening. Let’s measure Obama against each one:
1. Talk Straight—I think everyone except perhaps his most ardent supporters would agree that Obama does anything but this. Grade – F.
2. Demonstrate Respect—For anyone that disagrees with him, Obama reserves nothing but the utmost contempt. Ask any true Republican/conservative. Grade – F.
3. Create Transparency – After bragging that he would preside over the “most transparent administration in history” Obama has in fact led the least transparent. And that starts with his failure to produce any records, academic or otherwise, that would tell the voters anything meaningful about his background and goes from there. Grade – F.
4. Right Wrongs – Ask the families of those killed in Benghazi how much effort this administration and this president have done to right that wrong. And that’s just the first among a host of examples. Grade – F.
5. Show Loyalty – After observing him for almost 6 years in office, it’s clear that Obama shows loyalty only to those who are absolutely loyal to him. How else do you explain Eric Holder still being on the job? Unlike a good leader who acknowledges others that contribute to a success, Obama grabs the credit for himself as he did with the bin Laden raid. Grade – F.
6. Deliver Results – The disastrous rollout of Obamacare and its continued sputtering, complete with Obama’s own unauthorized “adjustments” and delays to implementation, say it all about this quality. Grade – F.
7. Get Better – Obama has brazenly never admitted that there’s anything about his administration needing significant improvement, despite massive evidence to the contrary. Grade – F.
8. Confront Reality – Obama’s enablers, from his wife to Valerie Jarrett, keep him in a cocoon that detaches him from the consequences of his decisions and his public statements and how they resonate with people. He refuses to acknowledge the exacerbating effect of his policies on the massive domestic and international problems that we now face. Grade – F.
9. Clarify Expectations – Obama’s presidency has been marked by lurching from crisis to crisis, some of them (like the recent Bergdahl “swap”) seemingly created to take the public’s attention off of others (VA scandal). Expectations cannot be clarified in this scenario; rather, it’s been an exercise in excuse-making and the blame game. Grade – F.
10. Practice Accountability— Excuse me while I spend a minute or two rolling on the floor laughing. There is clearly no accountability for what goes wrong in this administration. A notable example is that Sebelius didn’t go until she was ready, despite the crash and burn of the Obamacare rollout. Obama’s hubris does not permit him to admit he made a mistake and actually take responsibility. The buck stops nowhere in this administration. Grade – F.
11. Listen First – Instead of listening to anyone who has a different point of view, Obama’s arrogant retort is “we won – deal with it.” Grade – F.
12. Keep Commitments – Ask the Iraqi people (or Afghanis for that matter) what they think of this president’s ability to honor commitments, let alone the American people who counted on a “jobs” president. Grade – F.
13. Extend Trust – To do this, it seems like there needs to be some measure of trust to begin with. The only reason Obama still has any semblance of trust among the people is his and his party’s ability to successfully demonize the opposition. In essence, he’s telling the public, “you might not like me, but I guarantee you that you’d hate my opponents far worse.” This is a very cynical way to “extend” trust that was 99.9 percent false in the first place. Grade – F.
There you have it. I may be a harsh grader, but by anyone’s objective measure, Obama falls well short of what should be expected of a trustworthy leader. And as the Bergdahl “swap” indicates, this is not just about presidential incompetence. There is a clear case for impeachment, based on this breach of trust that has culminated in a series of high crimes and misdemeanors. Now it’s incumbent on those with the power to do so, to do their duty.