Obama's Influence On The Federal Government

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EXECUTIVE IN CHIEF President Barack Obama has worn many hats these last two years -- including commander in chief, presiding over two wars; and legislator in chief, in his many battles with Congress. As he regroups after the mid-terms for a likely altered political landscape, Obama should now embrace the role of executive in chief. He needs to don the hat of chief executive of a federal workforce of 2.1 million people, placing new emphasis on improving the effectiveness of federal programs. Most presidents and their political appointees would certainly prefer to focus on policy, not operations. Generally, there is no payoff for worrying about management details, and no penalty for ignoring them. But ask President George W. Bush about…show more content…
Recent polls show that the majority of Americans want government to deal with a wide range of pressing issues -- but do not have faith in its competence to get things right. Obama signaled last month that he understands the importance of well-managed government, "When government does not work like it should," Obama wrote in a memo to federal career executives, "it has a real effect on people's lives -- on small business owners who need loans, on young people who want to go to college, on men and women in our Armed Forces who need the best resources when in uniform and deserve the benefits they have earned after they have left." The Office of Management and Budget, led by chief performance officer Jeffrey Zients, has been working to establish agency performance goals, increase accountability and improve government operations. Despite these laudable efforts, there is little sense that these are administration priorities, or that the president is providing the kind of leadership required in this area. His initiatives have not been communicated clearly to the public or the civil…show more content…
Obama's position on gay marriage has become a sore point for some gay activists who say they're otherwise pleased with the president's handling of issues important to them. Some of the president's backers say he could be wasting a chance to energize key segments of his base, including young people, if he doesn't publicly advocate for gay marriage. "If he doesn't, he could be missing an opportunity to mobilize voters who need to be inspired to vote for him," said Doug Hattaway, a Democratic consultant. The president's position on gay marriage puts him at odds with some of his supporters. Numerous recent polls suggest a slight majority of Americans favor giving same-sex couples the right to marry, and support is highest among Democrats and young people. Obama has acknowledged that public support for gay marriage is building. During a meeting with liberal bloggers last October, he said "it's pretty clear where the trend lines are

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