Studies in Command - 1: Barack Obama
In many of the candid campaign news photographs, Barack Obama is seen staring into the tiny screen of a BlackBerry hand-held communication device. With his impossible travel schedule, Obama’s BlackBerry enabled him to keep in touch with his far-flung campaign organization, friends and family, as well as stay on top of fast-moving events worldwide. In speeches, he could cite a news story moments after it broke, staying ahead of his audience and the media that covered him. As it stands now, the moment Obama's sworn in as president, the bureaucracy has decreed he must surrender his BlackBerry for two main reasons:
- It can be hacked—electronically broken into and his private messages stolen to be used against him and the United States.
- “In addition to concerns about e-mail security,” writes Jeff Zeleny in The New York Times, “he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas.”
“I'm in the process of negotiating with the Secret Service, with lawyers, with White House staff and....” the president-elect told Barbara Walters. “I'm negotiating to figure out how can I get information from outside of the ten or 12 people who surround my office in the White House. Because, one of the worst things I think that could happen to a president is losing touch with what people are going through day to day.”
The idea that the planet’s most powerful person presumptive is “negotiating” with the bureaucracy to keep his BlackBerry is preposterous.
Either he's in charge or he's not.
If Barack Obama allows himself to be controlled by the bureaucracy, this presidency is DOA.
The First Press Conference
I watched President-elect Obama’s first press conference on Nov. 7, following his meeting with the economic transition team. The advisers trooped in and lined up behind the speaker’s stand.