When Tone Deafness Becomes
Arrogance: The Tale of Two Presidents

By

Leonard Zwelling

         It is certainly not a beneficial trait of a leader to appear
deaf to the views and pleas of those he leads. It is even worse when that
leader devises strategies in that aural vacuum that will undoubtedly make life
harder rather than easier for those he is charged to lead. When the leader
adopts an arrogant stance in publicly conveying the faulty strategy, it is time
to consider changing horses, even when in mid-stream.

         Tuesday evening, President Obama chose to present the State
of the Union message as if his party had just had a great victory in the 2014
elections. Flash Barack: You lost! Well, YOU didn’t lose. Almost every other Democrat did and
that was no fault of yours, of course. Furthermore, you proposed a left of
center mass giveaway agenda claiming it will help the middle class of a right
of center country as well as aiding those striving to become part of the middle
class when it will do no such thing. Raising the minimum wage is answering the
wrong question. The real question is why are so many young Americans only
qualified for entry-level jobs? You say, we can fix that by giving away
community college tuition. I say, you are out of your mind. Many of the folks
going to community college are doing so out of necessity and one of those
necessities is their inability to get into four-year schools because their
basic public education was so poor. The other is the cost of a 4-year college
education, but giving tuition away instead of exchanging it for service to
one’s country (e.g., the GI Bill), is foolishness.

I
can say it no better than Frank Bruni did in Wednesday’s NY Times in “Cradle to
Ivory Tower”:

“Leaving aside all of the other
good arguments both for and against it, I have one big problem with the proposal for free community college that President Obama recently outlined and described anew in
his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

It’s awfully late in the game.

I don’t mean that he should have
moved on it earlier in his presidency. I mean that our focus on getting kids to
and through higher education cannot be separated from, or supplant, our focus
on making sure that they’re prepared for it. And we have a painfully long way
to go in that regard”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/21/opinion/frank-bruni-college-president-obama-and-the-common-core.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

This
once again tells me that President Obama is truly tone deaf and has no problem
being so with arrogance.  My friend Dan
Longo called this Longo’s Syndrome—Microcephaly with Arrogance.

The
recent stock deal at MD Anderson echoes the Obama persona in the person of the
President of MD Anderson. First, he took $100M in stock from two companies
whose clinical trials he clearly intends to do at Anderson. This violates the
conflict of interest policy. Then, he does not present how he will manage the
obvious conflicts of interest or even who owns the stock. Finally, he is
offered even more stock if he rushes to make the announcement of the deal
before a major West Coast conference thus upping the value of the two stocks 55
and 31%.

If
Barack and Ron use the gym shower after a tennis match or golf game or karate
show, I hope they don’t try to sing a duet because it will be in three
different keys at least.

This
simply is not leadership.

Mr.
Obama’s party has lost. For it to retain the White House in 2016 it will
clearly have to capture the votes of the Reagan Democrats in swing states like
Ohio and Florida. Does he really believe he is making life easier for the woman
likely to run as his successor by extolling the virtues of a liberal agenda
where equal opportunity is not enough. There must be true income equality. Government
programs must guarantee equal results. Well, this might be a good idea if that
woman was to be Elizabeth Warren, but she isn’t likely to be the Democrats’
nominee in 2016. This may be great showmanship, but it is truly lousy politics.

Does
President Obama really believe that he can bomb ISIS out of existence from the
air with the aid of allies like Saudi Arabia? He cannot be that big a fool, but
he can be that arrogant. ISIS can only be removed by ground forces. It will
take a Bush 41 like coalition that moves ISIS out of its captured territory in
Syria and Iraq and then hands it back to some rational oversight group to
manage. No such group comes immediately to mind, however. (It ain’t the UN.) So
why waste the bombs? Use that money for his tax giveaway.

Likewise,
if Dr. DePinho has not yet been chastened by his foolishness on CNBC, his
nepotism, his skirting CPRIT grant rules and his lavish spending on his own
laboratory in a foolhardy attempt to convert MD Anderson into a drug company,
you would think that the people around him would have advised him to act more
judiciously. But, nope. The man just cannot strut his stuff enough. He’s got to
have all the money and won’t really tell us where the stock went. He’s a
magician—the Amazing Rondi!

These
guys really are not fit for leadership. With Obama, it’s our fault plus that of
the Republicans for running a poor choice in 2012. At Anderson it has become
our fault because it is obvious that Austin will take no responsibility for its
poor choices in both 1996 and 2011. Either the faculty does something (beside
leave for greener pastures in California and Ohio on an individual basis) or
last one out, shut the lights.

The
only step left for either man is hubris. They are both more than halfway there
and the gods don’t like hubris in any man or woman. Even Presidents.

         Both
men think they are occasionally witty. They rarely are. What they really aren’t
is likeable. Or to quote candidate Obama talking to Mrs. Clinton: “you’re
likeable enough. Hillary.”

         Barack and Ron—you aren’t!

Leonard Zwelling