It has been an interesting almost three years of the Barack Obama administration and its affect...or lack thereof...in the world. Even though I didn't vote for him, I truly thought he would with the help of a Democrat controlled Congress have more impact for better or for worse than he has proven to have. For whatever my core political differences with him and his party...I really thought his intelligence and the momentum of his landslide election would propel him into SOME kind of key changes for our nations government. Unfortunately, the result so far from my perspective have been dismal...and his lack of true, effective leadership has allowed the vagabonds of Congress to continue their running our country into the ground through their politicking and infighting. Unfortunately, the people paying the cost of this failure are the taxpayers and the powerless masses who have no true representative voices in their government.
Unfortunately for this President, the combination of world events and decades of governmental abuses of power and mismanagement of budgets from both major parties has caught all of us in its powerful vortex of financial disaster, an entitlement system that cannot be paid for, and continued power mongering as the only response these "leaders" have for the extreme problems that ail us. Obama has been isolated in his White House tower and I think surrounded by a lot of people who had no breadth or scope for handling the leadership of a melting pot country like the USA. While I have been chagrined by the nasty, oftentimes racist attacks by his critiques to the Right...and many "Christian" leaders even...it is obvious to me that our nations ills cannot be completely placed at the feet of this one man or administration. We the people have to take our share of the blame for lack of involvement in our governments and blind appeasement of what the government or media has commanded of us to think or feel on these issues. Each of us has to take our own level of responsibility to be up on the issues that affect OUR daily lives. To leave these things in the hands of representative government without our input or comment is simply irresponsible. We all vote not only at the ballot box, but by which TV channel we tune into, where we spend or invest our money and where we choose to live.
For all his charm, intelligence and "message of hope" for the disenfranchised, I think this President had no clue what was waiting for him on the other side of the past election. Perhaps he had his head in the sand. Perhaps he was so blinded by his own message or ambition that he hadn't taken the time to take stock of what connections, ammunition and money he would need to execute his plan for America. I think his biggest discovery was how pathetic and weak his own party leadership was in handling the tasks at hand with him. There seems to me no continuity or teamwork between his administration and his party`s leadership. All of these people for the most part have clearly exhibited their hubris and hyper egos of position to where there has never been room for agreement, bi-partisanship or unity for the American people to follow.
The other big factor is the continued wimpishness of the American masses overall. In previous generations the American people have been able to unify and even demand of their government actions that would protect their interests or reel in the egocentric ways of their leaders. It is my observation that these strong American characteristics are in hiding. I don`t know if it is because we have just gotten too calloused, jaded and cornered by the normal ineffectual actions and traits of our government system...but I can predict that if we don`t get a grip on our country soon, there will be no semblance of the power and independence we all grew up with. We are quickly becoming a sea of "munchkins" ruled by the "Wizard of Oz" (unfortunately there are probably a few million kids in our country who have no idea who those characters are or from what book...part of the problem). We are letting all the extremists like the Tea Party, ultra right or ultra left voices control the whole conversation. I would suggest that a majority of Americans don`t fit any of those profiles that the rest of the world judges us by. MOST of us are "moderates" in one way or another. This COULD have been our President.
But I digress...I think this desperate President is now doing too little too late what he should have tried from the beginning. Instead of participating in the usual game of politics upon his election, he should have truly taken the reigns as Franklin Roosevelt did at the end of the last Depression. Not that I agree nor think that everything that came out of FDRs leadership has served our country that well over the long haul. Many emergency actions were taken during that time of government takeovers that were meant to be temporary on an emergency basis...but then the government got heady over its growing role in economies and increased control of revenues that were not even constitutional...and never relinquished back to "the people" the powers and freedoms to self govern or retain their private freedoms, including expecting taxation WITH representation. Unfortunately the American people got too used to the government programs "taking care of them", and it grew over 70 years into this behemoth of entitlement programs that there are now no resources to cover. Bushes administration did the same over reaching with the "temporary" Patriot Act and taking on even MORE controls or powers than the USA Constitution has ever permitted of our government. Big government has siphoned and borrowed against 70 years of entitlement funds of the American people...and continue to do so without a yelp from the people. We sacrifice "freedom" for our safety...and our government has us right on the track they want us on. Just "trust them" to work it all out for you.
I think Obama had a mandate and COULD have implemented solutions early in his Presidency that the people would have supported. Had he followed through with his promises to immediately pull out of all our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and reeled in the power and irresponsibility of Wall Street sooner...he would be in a different position and light today. While the "bail out" of major financial systems was probably required at the moment partly due to the legacies of the Bush administration, he continued to leave in the same leadership of people such as the FED and various Wall Street firms to continue manipulating and controlling the flow of money in our system. This to me was his first step in compromising and becoming a "moderate" from his earlier positions. Instead of being "Robin Hood" and taking from the rich to give to the poor, he directed good taxpayer money from the relative "poor" to bail out the rich...not only in our country, but in the international money circles that now invisibly affect and control our country`s currency and credit ratings. And lets remember that both parties pretty much went along with this plan...since they had no better morals or ideas. Unfortunately, three years later the jobs have still not come back in force and our country continues to go broke while politicians just point fingers at each other and work overtime to make the other side look bad.
The other area in which President Obama has looked weak is in the recent budget compromise he did with the Republicans and his continuing the tax cuts of the Bush administration. I am not judging at this point that issue...but his problem is that he ran on a totally contrary platform than what he has executed and has now significantly lost core support he had from his own party and many independents because of his "moderate" stances with the Republicans. Perhaps he is being extremely smart as a fox politically for his own political future or private plans and into the next election trying to shore up a NEW base of support...but it seems to me if you are going to trust somebody in this role, they have to be more predictable and of stronger principle than just playing politics within the system, risking potentially the whole power and position of the country you lead just for political or personal security.
Perhaps we DO need more of a moderate, centrist leader in this day in age...who can breach the gap of ideologies and the various institutions that control us and unify Americans of all persuasions. The Republican line up so far gives me no sense of hope for improvement from extremism in government. The problem with this President is that he did not run on a moderate platform, and in his apparent aim to "please" or succeed at all cost, he has become perceived as having less backbone and strength than the Democratic President FDR who has been revered for bringing America out of its previous darkest hour economically. And that President did all this from a wheelchair.
True leadership is not "given"...it is earned.
I have to agree in summary with Paul Krugman, a Liberal columnist with the NYTimes who wrote recently...
We’re in a world in which conventional prudence is folly, in which playing it safe is extremely risky. And we have, alas, a conventionally prudent, play-it-safe president — the kind of president who might have done fine in the 1990s, but not now.