From: americanthinker.com, by James Longstreet, on Dec 6, 2016
Barack Obama lived in the ivory tower of academia, from which he selected much of his cabinet. Those selections appear to be have been more grounded in perceptions of intellect than abilities or the promise of extraordinary contribution. Degrees and theories were paramount, while real-life experiences would take a back seat.
Former secretary of defense Robert Gates discusses leadership in his book, A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service. Gates revealed that at one point, Obama declared in a cabinet meeting that he, Obama, could perform the duties of each cabinet post better than those he had selected for the positions.
“You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff, ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can,’” Gates said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
The arrogance is stifling, but upon examination, the declaration is actually an exposure of poor leadership. Obama’s self-absorption does not permit this man to detect such a glaring admission. For if indeed Obama could have performed each cabinet position in a more proficient manner than those he selected, it seems that the selections were placeholders, because as Obama essentially pronounced, he couldn’t be everywhere at the same time.
One might ask what the appointment thresholds were, exactly.
Leaders should, as Gates suggests, surround themselves with people who bring talents and knowledge from different segments of the spectrum. The appointees should possess unique talents that are appropriately applicable to the tasks at hand. Those selected should be at the ready to use special abilities, their presence being a net increase in the horsepower of the cabinet team.
Now we witness Donald Trump filling his cabinet positions. His style and substance are in sharp contrast to the outgoing president’s. Trump’s selections elevate each position, and each appointee delivers real-life experiences and proven talents. I am certain that Trump would admit each pick in the selected position offers abilities beyond his own. The “team” is designed to deliver proficiencies and elevate the collective efforts of the cabinet.
Trump’s construction experiences required that he surround himself with engineers, architects, lawyers, and financiers. Each brought special talents and expertise. He would not tell them he knew their jobs better than they themselves. It is with this style, this sharp contrast to the outgoing president, that we witness the opening moves of a welcome contrast in leadership.
It was readily apparent during my early study of Barack Obama that he had an inflated opinion of his capabilities. That’s going back to 2007 when he was being groomed for the democrat nomination. That’s about the time that white “progressives” were convincing themselves that they needed to be more aware of, and repent for, their white guilt. One of the manifestations of that white guilt was an obsequious attitude towards blacks who were welcomed into their sphere of activity (thereby proving how enlightened they were).
There’s no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama was welcomed into Harvard, Columbia and the brotherhood of academics primarily because he was black (well, sorta black) rather than primarily for his superior intellect. Most of what constitutes Obama’s resume was “earned” via affirmative actions taken by those who were his political benefactors. Getting through Harvard Law School and being elected editor of the Harvard Law Review must have convinced him that he was indeed a superior intellect and those Harvard professors must be truly brilliant.
That’s probably what convinced Obama that the academics who taught at the elite universities were great thinkers and who better to give a president advice than the greatest thinkers in the country?
The unfortunate fallacy in his logic is that he never actually achieved any successes in the “real” world. His academic world (and theirs) was centered on rhetoric, theory, and postulations, as opposed to actually doing things. And I believe that over the past eight years we’ve seen his actions prove that the old adage, “those who can do and those who can’t, teach.”
It remains to be seen how President-elect Trump will fare with his cabinet appointments, but so far, they appear to be accomplished doers, as opposed to theoretical thinkers.
Will Trump’s cabinet help him develop successful plans to address the country’s current problem areas or, like Obama’s, just develop grandiose theoretical plans that never work?
My money’s on the doers.