S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Our current president's (OCP's) lost opportunities

Where in the world - Every year around this time it seems that the weight of the leadership scale shifts to Davos, Switzerland. But OCP did not jump on this scale, nor did he put on any of his own heavy-weights. It is yet another of OCP's shameful "dropped balls."
What's happening in Davos - The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2007 (1/24-28/07).
"The Shifting Power Equation," is the Forum's ironic focus. Important participants include (among many others):

  • Many heads of state or important leaders: Finland's President Halonen, Palestine's Mahmoud Abbas (& his negotiator Saeb Erekat), President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK's PM Tony Blair, PM Tan Dung of Vietnam, President Kikwete of Tanzania, South African President Mbeki, Israel's VPM Shimon Peres, Ukraine's PM Viktor Yanukovych, President da Silva of Brazil, Egypt's Mubarak, President Arroyo of the Philippines, Hungary's PM Gyurcsany, and Lebanon's PM Siniora.
  • Royals: Jordan's King Abdullah and Queen Rania, Prince Phillipe of Belgium, Prince Albert of Monaco, England's Duke of York, and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
  • From Iraq: Deputy PM Barham Salih, V.P's Tariq Al Hashimi, Adil Abd al-Mahdi, and Ayad Allawi
  • U.S. Congress - Edward Markey, Kay Baily Hutchison, Sander Levin, Maria Cantwell, John Kerry, Trent Lott, Mel Martinez, Christopher Shays, Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, John McCain, Gordon Smith, Barney Frank, and Saxby Chambliss
  • The Bush administration's Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Energy Secretary Bodman, Homeland Security's Michael Chertoff, and Trade Rep. Susan Schwab
  • Familiar names: former Governor Mark Warner, the World Bank's Paul Wolfowitz, NATO's General James Jones, NJ Governor Jon Corzine, FCC Chm Kevin Martin, and FTC Chm Deborah Majoras

Notice who is not on the list. Although the prime ministers of Great Britain and Germany are attending, our current president is not. He has sent a few "economic" members and deputies from his cabinet, and Dina Powell and Josette Sheeran from the Secretary of State's office. It is yet another very lamentable lost diplomatic leadership opportunity. London's Financial Times has the full story in a section called, "In depth - Davos 2007." Here is today's Economic Forum agenda (with Congress' heavy involvement in bold):

• Hedge fund transparency, derivatives activity, financial stability, private equity activity - and the role that regulators could, or should, play in curbing any risks

• In China, does big equate to world-beater? Debate on Chinese industrial policy and state-owned enterprises

The state of US leadership: Dinner with senators John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, Maria Cantwell and Trent Lott; congressmen Sander Levin, Barney Frank, Ed Markey, Christopher Shays
What is today’s American dream? with senators John Kerry and John McCain

• Africa’s emergence as a vital strategic interest

• Housing deflation: What’s that hissing sound?

• Immigration: New blood for industrialised societies

• The Gulf States as an emerging financial hub: with prominent Gulf bankers

• The influence of the gaming generation
Power struggles between Executive and Legislative is what is happening since the November election win by Democrats. Dealt a big blow to his pride, OCP has passed up many opportunities to get genuine help. I have wished all along that somehow something coming out of the war in Iraq could be successful and redeeming. I would not begrudge OCP any credit he would deserve. Nor do I think would House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Josephine Hearn and Mike Allen, via CBS News/The Politico, headline "Pelosi Says She Wasn't Consulted On Iraq: New House Speaker Wants Bush To Reach Out To Democrats." I quote (with leadership words of OCP in bold),
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that President George W. Bush did not consult her before announcing his new strategy for the war in Iraq — a sign that, despite the cozy rhetoric, the relationship between Washington's two powerhouses has already had its share of friction.
In an interview, Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president's minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new "way forward" for U.S. forces in Iraq.
"He's tried this two times — it's failed twice," the California Democrat said. "I asked him at the White House, 'Mr. President, why do you think this time it's going to work?' And he said, 'Because I told them it had to.' "Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, " 'I told them that they had to.' That was the end of it. That's the way it is."

OCP passes up consultation with those who have the capacity and willingness to help - Every day Mr. Bush seems more detached, and alone, almost lost. It makes me sad and discouraged. Michael J. W. Stickings at The Reaction blogged on "Ignoring Pelosi," from which I quote,
Bush may smile that absurdly awkward smile when he shakes her hand on camera, he may congratulate her in public, he may have said all the right things about "Madame Speaker" in the State of the Union. But he doesn't like her. And he certainly doesn't want to consult with her about his plans for Iraq. This is Bush we're talking about. He doesn't want to consult with anyone, let alone the winners of an election that was essentially a repudiation of his war by a solid majority of the American people.
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