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NYT: Obama Is Using ‘Hidden Hand’ Approach

From the New York Times:

In Second Term, Obama Is Seen as Using ‘Hidden Hand’ Approach

By PETER BAKER | July 15, 2013

WASHINGTON — In the nearly two weeks since Egypt’s military seized power, President Obama has promoted a better federal bureaucracy, given a medal to George Lucas of “Star Wars” fame and had former President George Bush to the White House for lunch. What he has not done is publicly address the violent upheaval in Cairo.

Picker of nits. Who cares about the Middle East, anyway?

That is not to say Mr. Obama is uninvolved. In the privacy of the West Wing, away from the cameras, he has made calls to leading figures in the Arab world and has met with advisers trying to influence the crisis. But his low public profile on issues like immigration, Syria and health care underscores a calculated presidential approach that admirers consider nuanced and detractors call passive.

While others call it a way to avoid all responsibility. Especially, for things that are going the way Obama secretly wants them to go, but the American public does not. Such as Egypt, Syria, and amnesty, and especially, Obama-Care.

While other presidents have put the bully in the bully pulpit, Mr. Obama uses his megaphone, and the power that comes with it, sparingly, speaking out when he decides his voice can shape the trajectory of an issue and staying silent when he thinks it might be counterproductive.

And never mind that he is constantly out on the campaign trail pushing amnesty, his war on coal, gun control, and even Obama-Care.

In his first year, the president seemed to be everywhere, talking about everything. In his fifth year, he is choosing his opportunities — even if it appears he is not always in command of events.

What a burn. But it isn’t even true. Obama is in command of events. He just doesn’t want us to realize it.

Some compare Mr. Obama’s approach to the “hidden hand” style of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who often steered events behind the scenes without being public about his role. Jim Newton, the author of “Eisenhower: The White House Years,” a book with back-cover blurbs from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry, said Mr. Obama was like the former president in avoiding major international conflict, relying more on covert action and letting Congress take the lead in legislation.

“In those senses, Obama does appear to me to be taking a page from Eisenhower’s playbook,” Mr. Newton said. “What I don’t know, however, is how aggressively Obama is working out of view on these matters. The essence of Eisenhower’s hidden hand, of course, is that there was real work going on that people didn’t know at the time. If that’s true now, then Obama really is emulating Ike. If, on the other hand, he’s simply doing nothing or very little, that would be passivity, not hidden-hand leadership.” …

So don’t worry. The country isn’t destroying itself. Obama is deeply involved.

Mr. Obama’s inner circle includes some Eisenhower admirers. Mr. Hagel bought 30 copies of a recent book on the former president’s handling of the 1956 Suez crisis to distribute to fellow administration officials. Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, cites Eisenhower’s emphasis on planning…

Yes, we have seen that Obama is a master at planning. Just look at Obama-Care.

Mr. Obama sometimes leaves it to others to discuss controversial decisions. When he decided to arm Syrian rebels, he had his deputy national security adviser announce it. When the president decided to postpone a significant element of his health care program for a year, he had the Treasury Department post the news on its Web site…

And when four Americans were killed in Benghazi, he has Susan Rice go on TV to lie about it.

On immigration, probably the most ambitious legislative initiative of his second term, Mr. Obama has kept his public involvement to a minimum to avoid alienating Republicans…

Oh, that’s why he is out campaigning for amnesty almost every week.

On Egypt, the White House has detected no advantage in Mr. Obama’s addressing the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi…

Though he had no such qualms about chortling over his ouster of Mr. Mubarak. But Mubarak was a friend of the US.

By the way, with The Times comparing Obama to Eisenhower, Obama has now been compared to just about every modern President, except maybe Ford and GHW Bush. (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush.)

And, of course, he is the second coming of Lincoln.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “NYT: Obama Is Using ‘Hidden Hand’ Approach”

  1. I note that the new government in Egypt is reported to be sealing the Gaza tunnels and starting the process of rounding up known terrorists and cells.

    Now why would Obama object to that?

  2. “speaking out when he decides his voice can shape the trajectory of an issue”

    Yes, like a mistaken break-in in Boston, the “outing” of a gay sports figure, NCAA championship brackets and the death of a teenage gangsta wanna be in Florida.

    The “Hidden Hand”. That’s sounds like a terrible gansta film from the 30’s. Leading from behind not working out?

  3. Petronius

    “Hagel bought 30 copies of a recent book on [Ike’s] handling of the 1956 Suez crisis to distribute to fellow administration officials.”

    How very revealing.

    Perhaps Hagel’s enthusiasm has something to do with the fact that during the Suez crisis Ike teamed up with the Soviets and UN to inflict a humiliating defeat on Israel, Britain, and France.

    After all, there is nothing this regime would relish more than socking it to the Jews and the Brits.




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