President Obama doesn't like work

He is not suited to the labors of a chief executive. Photo: Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY, July 23, 2012 — Work has nothing to do with it, according to the president.

“I’m always struck by people who think … it must be because I worked harder than everybody else,” he recently said of successful business owners. “Let me tell you something: There are a whole bunch of hard working people out there.”

There are indeed. Barack Obama just isn’t one of them.

The president, in fact, has routinely shunned work required of a chief executive since he was inaugurated. Oddly for a career legislator, the messy work of crafting policy and working toward compromise has seemed to put off the president.

Just in the last six weeks, President Obama has decided to skirt legislative toil by using executive maneuvers to bypass congressional prerogative.

“When Congress won’t act, I will,” the president brazenly declared last year.

And the president has kept his word. First on immigration, Obama has unilaterally decided which parts of federal statute his administration will enforce, dispensing with the unpleasantness of working with legislators who might have differing views and represent constituencies with differing interests.

Then, earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced that it would effectively rewrite a major component of one of the heralded pieces of bipartisan legislation in the past 30 years. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, known as Welfare Reform, might be the centerpiece of Bill Clinton’s legislative portfolio.

It did not pass easily. Clinton vetoed two attempts to get it through. Compromise, cajoling, schmoozing, calling in favors and promising others, all led to the eventual passage of the bill, championed by political foes Clinton and then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. It is still widely supported by the public.

Getting through such legislation is tough. Obama has proven wholly inadequate to the task, perhaps because it interferes with golfing.

Ironically, he threatens to take unilateral, and arguably unconstitutional, action only in the absence of congressional action, but he has all but assured that the coequal legislative branch won’t act on major initiatives by rebuffing and insulting congressional Republicans at every opportunity. On top of that, he refuses to engage his own party’s leader in the Senate, who is blocking the president’s own initiatives.

Less than two weeks ago, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to vote on President Obama’s proposal to extend the Bush tax cuts on the lower rates while letting them expire on high income earners.

Majority Leader Harry Reid objected. On Monday, July 10, President Obama indicated that he would sign such a temporary extension of only some of the rates. Sen. Reid was forced to protect many in his caucus from the embarrassment of voting against the president’s proposal.

The same thing happened to his much ballyhooed jobs bill, which the president promoted by commanding congress to “Pass the bill!”

Republicans in congress agreed to vote, but Senate democrats blocked it. If Obama’s strength is in compromise, if his time in the Senate did anything for him, wouldn’t he have been able to convince his own party to take his measures up for a vote?

But Obama’s proposals are jokes in Washington. His past two budgets submitted to Congress have received a grand total of zero votes. The few legislative accomplishments he has are almost completely devoid of his fingerprints, save those left during the signing ceremonies.

It could be said that he was a pioneer of outsourcing major legislation to his allies in Congress during his first two years.

If he disdains the hard work of crafting and implementing bipartisan policy, what then does he believe the job requires?

Telling stories.

“The nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism,” he told CBS’s Charlie Rose.

This is a man whose résumé itself is the work of a storyteller. His qualifications for public service are two bestsellers, key points of which we now know he made up.

He made a career of voting present and moving to the next higher office just before his constituencies figured out he wasn’t really working at all.

Even the mundane task of meeting with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has been too much for the president, who has spent more time at fancy dinners and fundraising events than meeting with advisors about how to fix the economy.

President Obama’s off-the-cuff comments that hard work doesn’t build business quite like government roads do is revealing. They show that he is hopelessly illiterate when it comes to the free market, and that he just doesn’t like to do the work of a chief executive. 


You can learn more about the author at and like him on Facebook.

Rich Stowellon Google+

Rich is a teacher and a soldier. In addition to writing the “Rich Like Me” political column at the Washington Times Communities, he is the author of Nine Weeks: A Teacher’s Education in Army Basic TrainingTunnel Club; and Not Another Boring Textbook: A High School Students’ Guide to their Inner Conservative. 

He writes about Salt Lake City and the World in the Food and Travel section.



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Rich Stowell

Rich Stowell has written about politics and travel for the Washington Times Communities since 2011. He is a soldier in the Utah National Guard and a fellow at the Center for Communication and Community at the University of Utah. Rich is the author of "Nine Weeks: A Teacher's Education in Army Basic Training"and continues to blog about military issues at “My Public Affairs.”

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