Still Leading From Behind

January 30, 2013 - 6:08 AM

In another example of his highly developed strategy of "leading from behind," President Barack Obama gave a speech in Las Vegas Tuesday, coming out in favor of immigration reform just a day after a group of Senators announced the outlines of a bipartisan plan for immigration reform.

Get used to this. In his first four years in office, President Obama pretended he had nothing to do with almost anything going on with the economy or in foreign policy. If it was going badly - whatever "it" might have been - it was all George W's fault. Or the Republicans in Congress. Or both.

If it was going well - whatever "it" might have been - it was a first person victory "I did it," or "My administration did it."

Mr. Obama got so used to this construct, that he got himself wound around the axle during a campaign address when he uttered the famous phrase "You didn't build that," which had unusual currency because of his pattern of taking full and sole credit for "it" - whatever "it" might have been.

For instance, MSNBC ran a story about part-time, or "adjunct" college teachers who are losing courses - and income - because of Obamacare.

Seems that one of the things we didn't know about until it was passed in the Affordable Care Act was a requirement that anyone working 30 hours or more had to be covered by his or her employer's health care program.

Adjunct professors, who are often professionals in an area like accounting or politics, can provide an important alternative view, especially to upper level students, that is different from a purely academic approach normally provided by full-time professors.

Nevertheless, because of Barack Obama, "Adjunct faculty from at least four universities will see their hours cut as colleges try to reduce the number of full-time employees whose health care they need to cover."

Just to make sure that no adjunct professor slips out of its clutches, the IRS has ruled, according to the DailyBeast.com, that when determining how many hours a teacher works: "It would not be a reasonable method of calculating an instructor's work hours for colleges to take into account 'only classroom or instruction time and not other hours that are necessary to perform the employee's duties, such as class-preparation time.'"

The IRS works for Barack Obama. Maybe he could just whip out that Executive Order pen he used to such good effect on Gun Control Day and tell them to back off.

The foreign policy aspect of leading from behind is even less pleasant to examine. The Arab Spring that had American Liberals doing hand springs in celebration - albeit from 4,000 miles away - hasn't turned out all that well.

The Syrian demonstrations - turned uprising - turned civil war - has caused the death of more than 60,000 people according to the United Nations, which has not been able to find a path to helping stop the slaughter.

Just last night CNN was reporting that the riots in Egypt have gotten so bad that the Defense Minister has warned they "may lead to the collapse of the state and threaten the future of our coming generations."

In Libya, according to the Associated Press, the U.N.'s special representative yesterday "warned the Security Council that France's military offensive in northern Mali may drive Islamic insurgents out and across the porous borders with Algeria and into Libya."

The representative also told reporters that "About 200,000 armed men 'are not ready to get absorbed' into the new Libyan institutions, adding to the instability."

That leading from behind thing is working better and better in North Africa.

During his immigration speech the President said: "If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist they vote on it right away,"

Yes, well, when he is Prime Minister of the World he might be able to tell the Intergalactic Parliament what to vote on and when, but as of now Mr. Obama is merely the President of the United States and the Congress has been loathe - over the past 224 years - to cede the power of Floor scheduling to the White House.

Someone should remind the President each and every day that he is now entering his fifth year - not fifth day - in office and he could have "insisted" on immigration reform at any point in his first term.

Nah. Leading from behind takes time.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the adjunct professor pieces and to the AP's Libyan coverage.