4/08/2009

Camille Paglia unloads on Obama

Remember that Camille Paglia supports Obama so this is friendly advice, but this still fairly biting.

But we all know how little executive experience Barack Obama has had. He was elected for his vision and his steady, deliberative character, not his résumé. For better or worse, Obama is learning as he goes -- and surely most fair-minded people would grant him reasonable leeway as he grows into the presidency, one of the hardest jobs in the world.

At a certain point, however, Obama will face an inescapable administrative crux. Arriving at the White House, he understandably stayed in his comfort zone by bringing old friends and allies with him -- a team that had had a fabulous success in devising the hard-as-nails strategy that toppled the Clintons, like crumbling colossi, into yesterday's news. But these comrades may not have the practical skills or broad perspective to help Obama govern. Like Shakespeare's Prince Hal ascending the throne, Obama may have to steel his heart and banish Falstaff and the whole frat-house crew.

Obama's staffing problems are blatant -- from that bleating boy of a treasury secretary to what appears to be a total vacuum where a chief of protocol should be. There has been one needless gaffe after another -- from the president's tacky appearance on a late-night comedy show to the kitsch gifts given to the British prime minister, followed by the sweater-clad first lady's over-familiarity with the queen and culminating in the jaw-dropping spectacle of a president of the United States bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia. Why was protest about the latter indignity confined to conservatives? The silence of the major media was a disgrace. But I attribute that embarrassing incident not to Obama's sinister or naive appeasement of the Muslim world but to a simple if costly breakdown in basic command of protocol. . . . .

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