Just a quick comment on my previous assessment – “Obama’s once and future failed presidency” – of Obama’s capability as a leader in light of the successful execution of the plan to kill (or capture – ha!) Osama. I have already been challenged to revise it because of his “gutsy” decision and its successful results.
I am probably not going to revise it any time soon because it is simply too soon to tell; the differences between leading in military affairs and leading in domestic ones are simply too great. My column considered his failing performance only in the domestic domain, and it remains to be seen whether that assessment requires revision.
For now, I think too many people are rushing to judgment and confusing a capability for leadership in one domain with a capability for leadership in another domain. I think any assessment must distinguish what the president can do as the leader of the executive branch in executing covert military action against an agreed-upon foreign enemy (he need negotiate with no one, certainly not the opposition party in Congress), and what he can do in that capacity when he has to address domestic issues with Congress and has to deal with not only his party, but also an opposition party.
If Obama displays the same kind of leadership in the domestic as in the military domain (at least in this instance), I shall be gratified to acknowledge as much because it is what I want. I certainly shall not begrudge him for learning from this belated experience in the military domain and applying it to the domestic domain.
Indeed, for reasons of policy, I shall be glad to see some carry-over and some executive leadership on domestic issues. In the meantime, I adopt a wait-and-see approach.
Michael L. Hays (Ph.D., English) is a retired consultant in defense, energy and environment; former high school and college teacher; and continuing civic activist. His bi-monthly Saturday column appears in the Las Cruces Sun-News; his bi-monthly blog, First Impressions & Second Thoughts, appears on the intervening Saturdays at firstimpressionssecondthoughts.blogspot.com.