The Difference Between Leaders and Politicians

September 18, 2013

Leaders lead.  And then there’s President Obama.

In his reaction to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, President Obama has demonstrated what the oxymoron “leading from behind” truly means.  It means not leading at all.

When France shows greater resolve and a tougher response than the United States in standing up to the world’s bullies, you know we’re in trouble.

President Obama is not a leader.  He is a politician.  There’s a big difference between the two …

How a leader acts: Has a plan and sticks to it.

How a politician acts: Lets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad kill his people for two-and-a-half years and does nothing about it.

You’d think that President Obama would have had a plan in place by now, so he would know exactly what he would do if chemical weapons were used in Syria.  Apparently, when President Obama announced that there would be “enormous consequences” for the use of chemical weapons, he had no idea what those consequences would be.

How a leader acts: Takes action if someone crosses a “red line.”

How a politician acts: Announces “in no uncertain terms” that if a despot crosses a “red line” by using chemical weapons there will be “enormous consequences.”  Then, when the despot crosses the line, he does whatever it takes to prevent taking any meaningful action.

How a leader acts: Accepts responsibility for his actions, regardless of the consequences.

How a politician acts: Blames others.  Even before action is taken, makes certain he has a scapegoat.

President Obama has regularly usurped Congressional authority.  He has appointed radicals to important positions, delayed the Obamacare employer mandate and taken action in Libya, all without Congressional approval.  He’s even ignored federal law by cutting a planned pay raise for U.S. military personnel.

Yet, when it came time to take action against Syria, he decided to seek Congressional approval.  Why?  So he could blame Congress if approval was not given for a military strike or if the strike failed to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from continuing to use chemical weapons.

How a leader acts: A leader would stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and other tyrants.

How a politician acts: President Putin granted asylum to American traitor Edward Snowden.  President Obama did nothing.  President Putin sent cruise missiles to Syria to support President Assad.  Obama did nothing.  President Putin used The New York Times to lecture us on American exceptionalism.  Obama did nothing.

How a leader acts: A leader does what’s right for his country.

How a politician acts: President Obama does what’s right for himself.

President Putin, of all people, has now brokered a deal to take away President Assad’s chemical weapons.  President Obama will be forever grateful to President Putin for giving him a way out of taking military action against Syria.

There are a few problems with this deal though:

  • Russia was supposed to have taken control of Syria’s chemical weapons in 2012 – long before Assad used them on his people.  It obviously didn’t.  Why should we think it will now?
  • The deal is not verifiable.  How will we know the chemical weapons have been removed and destroyed?  Will we take Putin and Assad at their word?
  • The deal keeps Assad in charge.
  • As Russian political activist Garry Kasparov put it: “So the fact that Assad is killing people by not using chemical weapons is acceptable now?”

How a leader acts: A leader would unite Democrats and Republicans to take whatever action is in the best interest of the United States.

How a politician acts: President Obama has already moved on to a challenge for which he has more passion – raising the debt ceiling, so he can continue increasing the size of the federal budget.  He is already attacking Republicans that want to hold up spending for the regulatory disaster known as Obamacare.

It’s too bad that Putin and Assad aren’t Republicans.  If they were, maybe President Obama would stand up to them, too.

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