Good riddance to year 2009. The year was the final one of the first decade of the new millennium. To say times have been tough is an understatement.
The decade began with the contested 2000 presidential election and the tortuous recount after recount of votes in Florida as the losing candidate refused to accept defeat. The incoming administration's transition time was gravely abbreviated. Then, despite such stunts as one caucus in Congress refusing to acknowledge the election of the new president, everyone came together after the attacks of 9/11/01. For a brief time, anyway. Then the nastiness of political expediency took over and the conspiracy theorists enjoyed a good run.
The Republican brand first soared as President George W. Bush lead the response to the worst terror attack on our homeland into Afghanistan, then plunged as he continued on into Iraq. President Bush succumbed to massive federal spending with the help of Congress and soon Republicans were not very distinguishable from Democrats to the general voting public.
The economy recovered after the destruction of the 9/11/01 attacks but Republicans were given little credit for pursuing the policies that brought about the recovery. Bush suffered from a slow and mostly ineffective communication department. Hurricane Katrina and then the economic collapse in the autumn of 2008 fairly guaranteed a Democrat would occupy the White House in January, 2009.
Barack Obama benefited by the turmoil and unrest felt by the voter. He also benefited by a talent for reading a teleprompter and tapping into the pool of black voters dreaming of a candidate that looked like them. Unfortunately, the smooth and cool candidate Obama was a man with no executive experience and a very short time in politics at the federal level. He ran as the opposite of President Bush and made naive and overreaching promises to make his case.
Once installed into office, our first bi-racial president - a distinction all Americans have pride in - is proving to be the incompetent leader his opposition feared. He has given outlines of his agenda and left the actual heavy lifting to Congress. His lack of executive experience does not serve him or our country well.
As Obama makes much of reaching out to foreign regimes not previously friendly to us, they continue to flaunt resistance to reason. Whether it is Iran, China, or North Korea, all of these totalitarians have lectured our president publicly and remained belligerent in pursuing paths that will not bring about peace. Obama has racked up a track record of looking the other way when oppressed people cry out for freedom, risking their lives as they protest in streets of Iran and defend their independence in Georgia. Obama has squandered a year of diplomacy by allowing his 'I'm not Bush' riff to continue around the globe, apologizing to whomever will listen. The ridiculous spectacle of Secretary of State Clinton presenting her counterpart in Russia with a 'reset' button - using the wrong word in Russian - started off the year and we have ended the year with Iran declaring it will not cooperate with us on anything until we destroy all of our nuclear weapons.
The president of France has lectured Obama on not taking terrorism seriously. Obama continues to refer to domestic terrorism as 'isolated incidents' and turn a blind eye in connecting the dots of the global threats.
The president told us who he was - especially with his personal associations and his brief time in the Senate yet voters fell for the inane mantra of 'hope and change'. Such a vacuous slogan has delivered a weak and failing president. He chose to make health insurance reform as his shining agenda success before the end of the year, as he knows the longer it languishes in Congress, the more opposed the public is to it. Under bogus deadlines, Speaker Pelosi was only too happy to twist arms and push the agenda. Leader Reid followed suit and now it appears President Obama will speak of his success as the highlight of his first State of the Union address later this month.
The Obama presidency is presently saddled with poor polling numbers. The rise of the Tea Party movement - average citizens taking to the streets to protest the runaway spending and corruption in Washington, D.C. - has slowed the overreach of this administration. The signs of an administration with roots in Chicago politics are unmistakable and the average American doesn't like it. Obama tries to play both sides of a policy debate and neither side comes away satisfied. This president came into office with approval ratings of above 70% and has rapidly fallen to high 40%approval numbers. Even Democrats are surprised at the quick fall to earth by the candidate that promised to part the seas and open the skies. The supremely narcissistic president is tone deaf to reality.
The massive federal spending bills have failed to produce jobs for the unemployed. "Government" doesn't create jobs, except government jobs, which now outnumber private job creation numbers. How's that for change?
The midterm elections of 2010 will be a boon for Republicans. This president has united Independents back to voting Republican and fractured Democrats. The far left ideologues are angry with Obama for continuing on with so much of the Bush agenda, despite his insistence he was the anti-Bush as he ran for office. The naive promises of closing Gitmo and items like climate change legislation have proven to clash with reality. Surprise! Governing is hard. Campaigning is not real life.
So, good riddance to 2009. Republicans will continue to work hard and produce a comeback to power in 2010.