Posted on November 25, 2009
According to the dictionary, a dilettante is an admirer or lover of the arts or a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge, a dabbler.
My wife once told me that she wanted to be a dilettante. I always thought it had a pejorative connotation, so I looked it up. She wanted to be a lover of the arts, which is a perfectly fine aspiration.
President Obama personifies the second definition.
Former Vice President Cheney called the President a ditherer. I actually think he is a dabbler.
He just got back from long trip to Asia, just in time to host the Indian Prime Minister (did anyone else think it was odd that the President did his first State dinner with the Indian leader during the same week that we usually celebrate our first big feast with Indian leaders 400 hundred years ago. Different Indians, but I still thought it was odd)
And now he is jetting off to Europe again to hobnob with the global warming crowd.
His decision to take off for Copenhagen is a perfect example of his dabbling ways.
In the modern era, all successful Presidents (ones that get reelected) share one trait: Focus.
For Ronald Reagan, his focus was the Soviet Union.
For Bill Clinton, it was the economy, stupid.
For George W. Bush, it was the war on terror.
For unsuccessful Presidents, a lack of focus is deadly.
Lyndon Johnson couldn’t make a decision between guns or butter.
Jimmy Carter, a notorious micro-manager, couldn’t see the forest for the trees.
George H.W. Bush never could define “that vision thing.”
President Obama seems to suffering from the same malady that afflicted his unsuccessful predecessors. He lacks focus.
He, instead, would rather dabble on a variety of different stages.
Next week, he is going to tape a show with Oprah. Good for Oprah, but not so good for a focused message.
He announced today he is jetting off to Copenhagen to talk global warming, just as the latest polls show that more and more Americans think he should focus on something else.
He just got back from a whirlwind trip to Asia, where he bowed to both the Japanese Emperor and the Chinese Communist regime. Not sure where the focus was there.
He has done David Letterman and Jay Leno. He has sat down with Steve Croft on 60 Minutes countless times. He had time to spend several hours on his NCAA March Madness pool (where, in all fairness, he was very successful. He picked UNC to go all the way).
He has jetted off to Paris, and Moscow, and Cairo.
He went to Germany, Great Britain, Africa, South Korea, Indonesia, and Singapore.
He has visited both Mexico and Canada. Not sure when he is going to drop by Venezuela or Cuba.
He is going to Oslo and will stopping in Copenhagen for his second trip. His first trip, as you might recall, was a failing effort to get the Olympics. That took him off message for a couple of weeks.
The President dabbles in health care. He dabbles in global warming. He dabbles in Afghanistan. He dabbles in New York on a date with his wife. He dabbles in LA with his Hollywood friends. He dabbles in green jobs, he dabbles in education.
He dabbles in golf. Well, he doesn’t really dabble in golf. He focuses on golf. He is just not any good at it.
The President is no ditherer. He is a dabbler. He is a dilettante. And I don’t mean that in a good way.