But a single professional review of Obama's personality profile could have shown us exactly what was in store for us with his leadership style.
I ended last week's column by citing Samuel Barondes, a leading psychiatrist and neuroscientist. In his 2011 expose of President Barack Obama, he cited Nassir Ghaemi, a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Tufts Medical Center, and Drew Westen, a psychologist with interests in both personality and politics.
Barondes, Ghaemi and Westen concur that Obama is too pliable ("no-drama Obama") to be a leader like Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had to make big decisions in big crises. Obama's incapable of confronting the toughest issues and situations, especially leading those who oppose him out of them.
Westen went on to explain in his column in The New York Times, titled "What Happened to Obama?":
"When Dr. (Martin Luther) King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.
"In contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public -- a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. ... But there was no story -- and there has been none since. ...
"The real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won't realize which hand is holding the rabbit."
Obama has climbed the ladder of political success by the typical dog-and-pony personality performance show, in which voters have mistaken his charisma, articulation and maybe even the color of his skin for his ability to lead a diverse nation and world. But he never had the finesse or backbone in the first place to lead in crisis or others who oppose him or his views. As most of my readers know, there's a huge difference between leading a mob and leading a nation established on diversity.
He gained his presidential leadership by belittling his predecessor. He has made his presidential decisions by avoiding and criticizing Congress and opting for executive orders. And he'll likely measure his entire presidency by how well he mopped up others' messes.
The one thing missing in his life and presidency: his culpability and leadership. Dissing political rivals, usurping power and overlording is not good leadership in any American book, but that's Obama's modus operandi. Passive aggressiveness at its presidential best!
Obama's inability to confront or even bridge opposing relations and views is manifested in how he stutters and stammers under pressure or says whatever is expedient (including lies -- for example, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it"). Few other politicians in history have flip-flopped like him on a host of critical issues: Iraq, Iran, gay rights, NAFTA, abortion, race, religion, gun control, etc.
But none of that compares to his dismal efforts as president when confronted with major political powers and wars around the world. Consider the past few years alone and ask yourself whether he has contributed a single ounce of progress with the opposing forces or crises in North Korea, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Russia, Ukraine, Gaza and now Iraq all over again? Who didn't predict this Iraqi would eventually follow Obama's withdrawal of U.S. troops?
Obama's inept leadership is also seen throughout America's domestic struggles -- from America's southern borders to Congress, the Internal Revenue Service, veterans hospitals and Wall Street. Has the president's decisions with any of them made a dent in our problems, or have others' work, effort and time contributed to their improvement?
Obama's leadership plan for global and domestic crises has been exactly the same: Avoid opposition by going leadership-MIA and hope it all pans out. He knows only one chess move in diplomatic relations: Make unilateral decisions and any other move that doesn't engage or involve his opposition.
Consider his latest move: After initiating bombs dropped on the Islamic State group in Iraq (just short of a new declaration of war), he leaves on a two-week vacation.
Is America not in an entirely greater volatile place in the world because of Obama's presidency? Indeed, have our own president's leadership inability and passive behavior not hastened the chances for a world war starting in the Middle East?
Leading by unilateral decisions and swaying to political expediency are not the leadership qualities America needs now or ever. They demonstrate his character flaws, which have come full circle to haunt him and -- most tragically -- us. To add insult to injury, we'll never know the exact prices we've paid, because we will never know the good that the right leader in the White House could have done over the past 5 1/2 years in stabilizing our country and world.
I'll say again what I wrote last week: Obama's glaring and greatest weakness -- namely his inability to make hard decisions in crisis and lead opposing forces through or out of them -- has cost America on every front. It has further divided Washington and our nation and jeopardized our standing with the global community and even our allies, leaving us in a much more unstable place in our world.
Will America learn from Obama's leadership flaws, inabilities and mistakes? We will know that answer only if we are strong enough not to appoint anyone like him in 2016.