Friday, August 26, 2011
The Obama Conundrum
Once again, I am feeling the strange need to wax philosophically about something significant and important affected the nation. I have no idea why I want to do this, blame it on some disturbing but curious character flaw, a desire to shake off my suburban malaise brought on by the dog days of summer, or just my need to join my fellow Americans in collective whining, the only thing we excel at in the twenty-first century. With that out of the way what will allow me to properly grovel in the verbal emissions of my pomposity? How about something I have been pondering about for several years, the performance of Barrack Obama as president and liberal short sightedness and the conundrum they present for 2012 election.
For conservatives Obama never stood a chance once he vanquished Hillary in the 2008 campaign, they immediately tagged him as something akin to the Antichrist with a certain segment actually believing he is the spawn of Satan. On the other hand, within a few months after taking office progressives began to go rogue when he did not whip out his magic wand and instantaneously transform the country into a social utopia.
Call me a sleazy sycophant but for the longest time I cut the guy significant slack given the dire situation the country faced. For starters, I can mention the two wars going on with billions disappearing into a black hole that had Dick Cheney’s Cheshire cat-like smile superimposed over the event horizon. We also faced a financial apocalypse caused by the finely dressed banking rats eating holes into the nation’s economic ship of state forcing the previous president to bail them out leaving Obama to finish cleaning up the mess and to be call nasty names by the moronic masses for doing so. Top it all off as if two southwest Asian quagmires along with a monetary disaster were not enough millions of Americans lose their jobs before and after he took office.
So excuse me for not jumping early on the progressive bitchy bandwagon and castigating the man for his failure to have unicorns and rainbows sprout from his and Michelle’s ass and cover the country in sweet rose pedals and happiness. The only problem with my early high optimism that slowly morphed into pragmatic realism then to impatient frustration is that while Obama was a great campaigner in all honestly we seem to have gotten a hybrid cross of Hamlet and Mr. Spock of Star Trek. He appears to be a president more interested in contemplating his existence while casting unemotional observations about how Washington is broken rather than getting involved in the dirty business of politics.
Once again, I do not completely blame him, there were disturbing signs and omens during the 2008 campaign that liberals were building him into something he was not. I remember some lady on MSNBC that literally had a religious look of utter rapture talking about how super duper things would be right after Obama took office. Cartoons of Obama wearing a Superman-like costume regularly appeared with him beating up corporate villains and fixing global warming as an afternoon project. In my ever-humble opinion liberals and progressives placed Obama on far too high a pedestal expecting far too much of him given the rules Washington works under.
Another problem that liberals/progressives created for themselves at the expense of Obama was the utter failure to counter the Koch brothers and Fox Noise sponsored Tea bagger movement that sent the country spiraling off the cliff to near default status. We had close to two-million people in Washington attending Obama’s inauguration and had that group stayed organized and vocal the assorted right-wing rubbish that arose to run such fine American intellectuals as Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell would at the very least been blunted. Even better had right-wingers carrying assault weapons at town hall meetings during the health care debate screaming slogans about the tree of liberty needing to be refreshed by the blood of tyrants been met with liberals passing out flowers the public would have freaked at the visual dichotomy.
Now I have come to the point where I have to express my disappointment with Obama. For someone who was the visual definition of high-energy charisma and dynamic action while running for president his lackluster leadership since taking office has been depressing and unexplainable. During the Republican drive to renew the Bush Tax cuts, something that created much of our current deficit, he shrugged off all suggestions to tie the agreement with an extension on the debt limit. The resulting uncertainty the prolonged and ugly battle to increase the federal debt limit threw the country into yet another crisis. This was a failure of leadership on Obama’s part that bordered on a George W. Bush level of incompetence.
One criticism the Republicans have tagged Obama with that I believe hold some merit is that he appears to be quite infatuated with his own celebrity. During the worst of the Gulf oil spill crisis Obama came down to Louisiana on one visit just long enough to have some pictures taken before jetting back to the White House so Paul McCarthy could give a personal concert to him and the family that evening. He did not talk to any locals and never got his nicely pressed khaki pants and bright white dress shirt dirty. Hello! Rule number one to all those hoping to be elected to any office and stay there is to press the flesh and feel the pain of the lowly minions.
My biggest disappointment with Obama has to be his inaction on the unemployment front. Millions of Americans languish with no job or doing their best with underemployment and once again, the president is playing the dithering Hamlet. Several people light-years smarter than me like Paul Krugman of the New York Times and Chris Matthews of MSNBC have been screaming for months about tactics that the president could use to outmaneuver the Republicans on getting a jobs program going. But only very recently have we been rewarded with a pronouncement from the vacationing president that he will present a jobs plan after Labor Day. I just pray that many of the unemployed have the luxury of electricity then so they can hear about his wonderful path to salvation.
Here is where my conundrum comes into play. The Republicans running for their party’s presidential nomination make the aliens in the Star Wars cantina scene look like a white folks country club social gathering. They are the finest collection of paranoid fanatics, religious extremists, and sleazy flip flopping toadies ever assembled and given the comatose American economy Democrats would be suicidally insane to think the eventual nominee could not win the election.
Therefore, the question is do we reelect Obama despite his faults and failures or do we surrender the country allowing the Republicans to continue their assault on the working people? Because while I am seriously asking the question I feel many in the liberal/progressive movement are equally at fault for their apathetic laziness to the tea bagger movement and narcissistic infighting over their own special interests at the expense of the country as a whole.