The Campaign Spot

Meetings Are Boring; Campaigning Is Fun

Ed Morrissey notices that President Obama is spending so much time traveling around the country telling us how hard his administration is working on the economy, he’s not actually spending much time working on the economy.

As I wrote when discussing the lack of nominations flowing from the White House, staffing is one primary responsibility of any executive. The focus of staffing demonstrates priorites. Obama told 60 Minutes last night how much he needed to focus on the economy, but all of the staffing effort taking place has gone into other areas: Womens and Girls Council, an undersecretary in charge of culture, and so on. Without a properly staffed Treasury, Obama and the administration won’t get a handle on all the necessary data and have the required diversity of voices for the proper derivation of policies and solutions.

But even the few voices they have won’t matter if Obama doesn’t hold meetings with them.  Congress mandated the FINSOB meetings as a key part of oversight over the distribution of TARP funds, and the failure to hold those meetings and provide minutes keeps Congress and the American people in the dark. The failure of this economic advisory panel to meet as promised doesn’t break laws but does show that the administration seems oddly detached from the crisis and unwilling to engage in public on it. And the poor performance on staffing Treasury makes it look as though Obama doesn’t have much focus on it at all.

I noted during the campaign that over the past decade, Barack Obama had spent more time running for high office than any other individual in America.

There are 120 months from November 1998 to November 2008. Of those 120 months, Obama was campaigning for higher office in 59 of them, or about 49.1 percent.

If you begin counting from September 1999, there are 112 months between then and November 2008, and Obama has been campaigning for higher office in 52.6 percent of those months. (This does not count any campaigning to retain his seat in the state legislature.)

Why is Obama doing town halls, joking with Jay Leno, doing interviews with 60 Minutes, talking about his NCAA Tournament bracket on ESPN, etc., while Treasury positions are unfilled and key committees aren’t meeting? Because that — campaigning — is what he knows how to do.

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