Presidential Doldrums

April 13, 2011

I’m listed as a member of the Democratic party on my voter registration, and I tend to vote on party lines, but that doesn’t mean I like what the Dems are doing these days. That goes up and down the board, through the House and Senate and up to the big man, Obama, who promised Hope and Change and has pretty much had his presidency torpedoed by crises both abroad and at home. Obama has had to deal with the Gulf Coast oil spill, not his fault, but the inability to clean it up quickly and efficiently was going to have a negative impact on whoever was in charge, much like Bush with Katrina. Obama Care, while being viewed at this same time last year as a landmark step forward toward cementing a successful presidency, has become a millstone around the commander in chief’s neck. Then there’s the flip-flopping and hemming and hawing as it relates to Libya, and the slow economic growth. Even while Obama had control of the House and Senate, he still, seemingly, couldn’t get anything done. I’ll be the first to admit, I was excited when Bam was elected. All the shiny, happy Hope and Change seemed like just the ticket. I had my doubts about how much actual governmental leadership Obama had logged in his previous life, but I actually regarded that as potentially a good thing. He’ll have a fresh perspective, I thought. But when it came to implementing actual policies, not to mention dealing with new challenges as they came about, this president has oftentimes proven himself¬† incompetent, while at the same time appearing to act superior to his constituency and petulant when things don’t go his way. He seems to have a difficult time adjusting his strategy on the fly, and really, isn’t that what successful leadership is all about?

Here’s the scorecard through the first two-plus years in office, as I see it. Obama Care is essentially a success, with one major exception: mandating that by a certain date, all American’s must have health insurance. Issuing that as a totalitarian decree is crazy and stupid. There was no reason for it. Repeal that aspect of Obama Care, and I view the rest of it as an unqualified success. Obama repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That was something that had to happen, and he accomplished it. Give the man credit. The slow economy sucks, but I don’t know quite what the general public expects the man to do about it. He’s not a wizard; he can’t pull jobs out of his ass. I think he just set the bar for expectations so high with all the Hope and Change talk that people really did expect things to turn around overnight. They couldn’t. We dug ourselves in too deep, and it’s going to be a long, hard road back from the brink of economic disaster…that’s if we make it at all. But patience is something the American public seems to be a bit short on these days. The Deep Water Horizon disaster wasn’t Obama’s fault in any way, shape, or form. It was going to take as long to clean up as it did, and that’s all there is to it. You can’t fault him for that one. As far as Libya goes, it’s hard to know what the best policy is, since we already have so many troops committed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. I know America is supposed to be the World Police, but I, for one, can’t make heads or tails of this quagmire. The thing is though, I’m not the president, and Obama should have set a firm policy here and stuck to it, something he seems incapable of doing. He’s not decisive. And for all his many, many faults, that’s one thing you could say of George W. Bush. The man was obstinate, and he was usually wrong, but at least he stuck to his guns.

It’s been a hard go for the nation’s first bi-racial president (he’s not black, no matter how many people claim otherwise). I don’t like some of what he’s done; I keep on coming back to well, he’s tried his best, which is not what you want to say about a commander in chief. But I’ll vote for him come reelection next year, because any of the Republican nominees, no matter who shows up, are going to be Satan incarnate, and I’d like to think that the American voting public will recognize that, even though chances are they won’t. Looking at possible Republican candidates, it’s just one nightmare after another, each worse than the last. Palin? Romney? Christie? Santorum? Trump? Are you fucking serious? President Trump? I’d expatriate in a second. I’m not claiming for one moment that Obama’s done a great job. He hasn’t. No two ways about it. But he inherited a God-awful mess, and he’s been trying to dig his way out from under it. He’s trying to learn on the job, not necessarily what you’d want from a president, but since he’s what we’re going to be getting from the Democratic side, it goes without saying that he’s going to be superior to whoever the alternative turns out to be. Obama deserves another four years. Come next November, it really is going to be a lesser of two evils type of situation, which is usually what it amounts to in the political arena in this country. Yes, I was excited when Obama was elected, and that excitement has cooled considerably. But I’d rather have somebody in the Oval Office who I know to be basically a good person, who’s going to continue learning as he goes, rather than someone who holds opposite policies to mine from the very beginning…and I know for a fact that’s going to be anybody on the Republican ticket.

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