Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Obama Presidency as Grand Social Experiment

It is a false claim, the one that compares Obama favorably as a reincarnation of JFK. The two men share little in common and certainly not the same personalities.

Now and then Mr. Obama's devotees nodded to American history with evocations of FDR's New Deal and superficial parallels to JFK—the good looks, the glamour, the young children. But Kennedy had seen combat, was a Cold Warrior, and believed in the burdens of American power. Yes, he charmed Parisians and Berliners—but as the standard-bearer of an American empire of liberty. He never journeyed abroad to apologize on behalf of his country.

The voters that placed Barack Obama into the highest office in the land have now mostly soured on his abilities to govern. The country, it turns out, is not willing to continue on this path of Obama's grand social experiment. We are not a socialist leaning nation. We accept the need of big government programs, such as social security and unemployment insurance, but not for socialized medicine at the expense of 1/6 of our national economy.

Now the hard stuff begins for President Obama.

The era of charisma, which began when Barack Obama was swept into office by delirium and enthusiasm, has drawn to a close. With the resounding repudiation of the midterm elections, the tax legislation, the ratification of a strategic arms pact with Russia and the end of "don't ask, don't tell" thanks to the support of Republican senators, the Obama presidency has just begun.

Which way will this president go? Will he heed the cries of the general public and moderate? Will he continue to whine and blame when his agenda meets opposition? I predict a resounding 'yes' to both questions. The man really, really want to be re-elected in 2012 and yet his own stunted personality will not allow him to be gracious in either victory ("I won") or defeat. He was able to push through his health care boondoogle on Christmas Eve 2009 with a completely Democratic dominated Congress. Come January, the game changes.

Now President Obama no longer has super fan Nancy Pelosi as head cheerleader and agenda setting leader in the House of Representatives. Now President Obama will have to work with incoming Speaker of the House Boehner, of whom he previously ridiculed and trash-talked for political points during policy debates. Some of the change this White House has provided comes in the lowered political rhetoric - that of personal attacks of those with a different political philosophy. This White House has provided the change of dialogue more fitting of middle school students than of the highest levels of political leadership.

The man ushered into power on the basis of skin color - a hard reality often not spoken about out of fear of criticism if we were honest - as a 'historical' presidency, the first bi-racial president had little experience to qualify him for the office. The man delivered a speech in 2004 at the Democratic convention that impressed many people, including myself at the time, and his path was set. He would be a future presidential candidate. Then he decided it was his time in 2008. With only a very brief Senatorial career in Washington,after time in the state legislature in Illinois where his claim to fame was voting 'present' an unprecedented amount of times, his fan club grew. He was able to parlay his teleprompter reading skills into capturing the imagination of the voters. John McCain ran a lackluster campaign and then relied on Sarah Palin to draw the crowds and woo conservative voters. The slobbering press never bothered to investigate some very troubling aspects of Obama's past - decisions that clearly showed character faults that would bleed into future presidential decisions. The press was hell-bent on the first bi-racial presidential bid. The American public was scared and nervous about the financial climate and rising unemployment. A majority of voters latched onto candidate Obama as a hope for a new path to recovery.

We have a slobbering press to thank for much of the Obama popularity leading into his electoral victory in 2008. Reporters - a term used loosely here - tasked with the campaign trail coverage of Obama turned their collective heads and then used the experience to write tell-all books which included the stories that should have been reported during the campaign. "Journalists" cashing in on a professional assignment instead of actually doing the job for the American reader and voter was a new low for them. It appeared to be the last nail in the coffin of the death of journalism in this country. The slobbering press is at it again - the very ones who profited before are looking for greener rewards now. The move to Chicago for the re-election headquarters, for example, is being 'reported' as 'daring' and other nonsensical descriptions.

The man in the Oval Office is a master of deception. He bends with whatever will be best for his legacy. It is hard to believe this selfish man has anyone but himself at the forefront of his thoughts.

How did Barack Obama invent himself into a bi-partisan, working across the aisle, no more red state/blue state unifying figure? Mellifluous rhetoric and a partisan myth helped to promulgate that myth, I grant. But still, how did the U.S senator with the most partisan voting record in the Senate (to the left of the socialist Bernie Sanders from Vermont) and a devout attendee of one of the most divisive and racist preachers imaginable refashion himself so successfully? Was it the simple declarations — as in something like “I say I am bipartisan, therefore I am bipartisan”? Did all forget that our pre-mid-term election president evoked phrases such as “enemies,” “sit in the back of the car,” and “hand to hand”?

No matter — as soon as Obama was “shellacked” with a 63 seat loss in the House, and his polls hit 42 percent approval, he dropped all the prior rhetoric about “I won and you lost” or “elections matter”—and now announced to his “enemies” that he could “work together” to get things done. Had Obama increased the House Democratic majority by 30 more seats in November, would he now be praising the virtues of bipartisanship? Had the vanity of Rev Wright not convinced the huckster preacher to hawk his Trinity racist rants on incriminating DVDs, would he now be a frequent “healing” presence at the White House?

America deserves better.

1 comment:

Jo said...

Bravo - anothe great article.