Is Obama’s presidency done?
Is it too early to declare Barack Obama’s presidency a failure? It seems to be the talk of Washington pundits lately and a new poll showed a clear majority thinks so.
When Obama came on the scene, I like others, warned that someone who had pretty much done nothing of significance short of giving a great speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and that alone did not show any gravitas, was not a good choice to be leader of the free world and commander in chief.
Before I continue, let me say this. Although I did not vote for Obama, either time, I think it was a great thing for the country to elect a black president. And because it was so historically significant, I even recorded his first inauguration, and I still have the tape.
But by the same token, I will also say, I get very tired of people who accuse critics of the president of being mentally deficient in some way, unpatriotic or worse, racist. And the word “racist” continues to be the excuse du jour of those who just can’t say, “Yeah, our guy screwed up. Again.” Are there bigots who castigate Obama because he is black? Of course. Every ethnic and religious group has their haters. There are white racists and black racists, and Christian and yes, even Jewish racists. But the histrionics of many liberals to find the race card every time Obama is denounced, and he deserves it, believe me, is way out of control.
When Obama started his presidency in 2009, his popularity was close to 70%, even higher in some polls. Now it is in the low 40’s, sometimes lower. Did 30% of the country all of a sudden become stupid, unpatriotic or heaven forbid, racist? Is Jimmy Carter – and in my opinion, Obama is mimicking his ineptitude – who just criticized Obama for waiting too long to confront ISIS, a racist? (Wow, when even Jimmy Carter thinks you are too slow to act forcefully, Barack, you have a problem.) Is Leon Panetta, the well-respected and highly experienced public servant (Army veteran, Congressman, Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget Director and White House Chief of Staff, Obama’s CIA Director and Secretary of Defense), a racist? It was OK to lambast both Bush’s and Ronald Reagan when they were president, and even call them racists (and a lot worse), but say Obama has screwed up, and well, you are a racist. By the way, it is hard for some Democrats to label Panetta a racist so he is being called disloyal and even unpatriotic. Right. A guy who has devoted nearly his entire life to serving our country is unpatriotic. And if he is being disloyal, good for him. Loyalty to one’s country comes before loyalty to one’s boss.
[And I am sure we will hear more about the so-called “war on women” when Hillary Clinton finally ends her “tease tour” and officially announces her presidential candidacy. I would like to remind all who support her of her own words, forcefully given, words that can be used now regarding the current president: “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans, and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration.” Of course if Hillary becomes president, many who criticize her will be called misogynists rather than patriots.]
Look, both sides make ridiculous assertions when defending their own, and Republicans have had, and yes, do have, their own irrational and obstinate pols and supporters, but some people on the left are just so hysterically biased and unreasonable that it is impossible for them to be objective and fair. They hurt their credibility when they yell, “Racism!” at every turn, and it only makes those who legitimately condemn the president and others, more angry and reactive, and the political discourse even more poisonous than what it should be in a normal democracy.
Has Obama done anything right? Certainly he has. And I will list a few things. Ordering the killing of Osama bin Laden, even though I think any president would have, was a very good thing. Increasing the drone attacks against terrorist targets another good thing. Ordering the navy to kill Somali pirates back in 2009 who were holding the captain of a US cargo ship hostage, yep. The surge in Afghanistan, although it took him way too long to approve and order it, and so, keeping and putting US troops there in danger. Requesting funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. And by the way, its development and initial funding was done by Israel itself.
But what else? Our foreign policy is a mess; the list of mistakes and failures keeps growing. And domestically, yikes. Don’t get me started. Either Obama has done the wrong thing, domestic or foreign, not done or given up on doing the right thing, or just plain waited too long to do the right thing, as with ISIS. And this newest mission is still confused and weak. Obama’s incompetence is no surprise to me. He did not have the right experience; in fact he had hardly any experience. And he had had some very questionable associations to say the least. Our president was just the “perfect storm” of a candidate in 2008.
As loyal as his base is to him, and the Democratic base is more loyal to their own than the Republican base, Obama has caused major damage to his party much like George W. Bush did to his. The current president lost his House of Representatives majority because of Obamacare among other things in 2010, when the Republicans claimed victory in a landslide of 63 seats gained. And he will lose his Senate majority, which could have already been in Republican hands had that party not fielded weak and even laughable candidates in the last couple election cycles.
In this election cycle, Democratic Senate (and other) candidates are doing their best to distance themselves from Obama. He is so radioactive that a couple days ago, Kentucky’s Democratic Senate candidate even refused to say, when asked repeatedly, if she had voted for him.
And it’s not just Republicans chastising Obama. Liberal pundits and other Democrats have been disapproving. David Axelrod, Obama’s former chief campaign strategist said it was a mistake for the president to say that he may not be on the ballot this election cycle, but his policies are. Sometimes, even the script shown on the teleprompters can be sloppy and not well prepared.
So is it too early to say Obama has had a failed presidency? Yes, I think it is. He has a couple more years to turn it around. The odds are not in his favor considering how I think he just doesn’t care anymore. I have said it almost from the start, and I will say it again, Obama wants to be president, he just doesn’t want to “do” president. And I think the chances of him leaving as a successful leader are about as good as Joe Biden going two weeks without saying something insulting, offensive or just downright nonsensical.
Time will tell.