Before proceeding, I’d remind readers that I did not vote in the last election, and I do not have a party affiliation. Is not one quality of an “effective” leader an ability to get their agenda through? When Bush was elected in 2000 and when Obama was elected in 2008, I would argue that each was in an equally favorable position to have their preferred policies put through. Each was not facing an opposition Congress, and also in each case the President was from a party that was out of power for the 8 preceding years (so people seemed to be more accepting of change). You could even argue that Bush was in a worse position to have his agenda approved because of the narrow election result.
If you look at what Mssrs. Bush and Obama “accomplished” in their first year in office, it would hard to argue who was the more effective leader. In Bush’s first year, he passed his hallmark campaign idea – the No Child Left Behind Act. Regardless of how awful that act was, it was his keystone proposal and he saw it through. He also saw through his preferred tax cuts and later on in his presidency managed to increase the welfare state to his preferred larger size by signing the Medicare Part D giveaway into law. About the only major proposal that was rejected was his effort to reform Social Security.
Now contrast that to the major programs President Obama has seen through in his first year in office. Health reform? Cap and charade? More transparency? I actually can’t think of any. Granted, Obama’s policy wishes were perhaps a little more ambitious than Bush’s (I don’t necessarily believe that), but the Great One does not seem to have been able to lead his sheep to the slaughter just yet.
By the way, if I were forced to vote, I probably would have voted for the Messiah because he seemed to passionately believe in reducing the increasing power of the executive office that Bush initiated. I, too, would have been a fool for doing that.
Regardless of what you think of either President, if we are keeping score on leadership qualities alone, it would appear to me to be Mr. Bush 1 and Mr. Obama 0 at this point. And no, I do not say that with pride.