Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obama's Third Envelope

There is an old Soviet political joke in which a communist leader is preparing his successor for his duties in office.

"Before I go," he told his successor, I am giving you three envelopes. When you are truly at a loss for ideas, when you are in serious trouble, open the envelopes. The envelopes were arranged in numerical order.

After about three months, after bruising political setbacks, the new Premier opened the first envelope.

"Blame your predecessor." noted the simple instructions.

The Premier was prompt in carrying out the instructions.

"Because of damages caused by the grievous mismanagement of my predecessor, it is imperative for my new administration to undertake painful austerity measures and to ask the people to redouble their efforts to new Five Year Plan."

The speech had the desired effect. For another six months, the Premier enjoyed good will, as well as acceptance of the notion that he had been left a sorry mess with which to cope. After that, however, he had to open the second envelope.

"Reorganise." was the simple notation.

The not so new Premier was quick to comply. He consolidated the Ministry of Internal Security with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He created a new Ministry of Education, separate from the Ministry of Health Education and Welfare. He fired a couple of ministry heads. All went well for another few months. Then he found himself to be more unpopular than ever. At a loss for ideas, he was left with no alternative but to open the third envelope.

With trembling hands, he opened the third envelope and found the following notation

"Prepare another three envelopes."

It is clear that President Obama has opened envelope number one. It is equally clear that the public has grown weary of pushing all the blame for our nation's difficulties onto the previous administration. The sorry state of national security has been laid bare, as well as the shocking cluelessness of Janet Napolitano, the director of the Department of Homeland Security. The school safety czar has been proven to be a doctrinaire gay militant with a shocking history of promoting homosexuality at early ages. He has promoted an unpopular national health program and alienated his left wing base with the compromises made in promoting it.

It is clear that Obama has opened the second envelope as the novelty of his new administration has been replaced with the reality of his costly inexperience. How long will it be before Obama opens the third envelope?

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