This horrendous hole the President has put himself into has its roots back in the early days of his term. When he proposed the stimulus package to be sent to Congress, the cornerstone of the package was about job creation, infrastructure improvements, tax credits for business performance, and budget cuts. The republicans demanded more blanket tax cuts, Obama caved in so the final product of the bill contains damn near 40% tax cuts. The ironies here are; the documented history of tax cuts not helping the economy or job creation and how the republicans have howled since the passage of the bill that it’s been a failure! 40% is their responsibility! I do agree with the opposition that Obama’s pursuit of a health care reform bill was ill-timed. In retrospect, politically, this was a suicide mission from the get go. Okay progressives, I said “politically”! I absolutely agree with the administration about the need for health care reform. Because of the economic situation, TARP hadn’t proven yet at the time as being a success, and the wounds were still fresh from the stimulus bill fight, I think a priority might have been something more in line with repairing the economy. Again, this economy was handed to him, his predecessor took a 200 billion dollar surplus and turned it into a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit. We all understand this, but as of January 20, 2009, the country was under the Presidency of Barack Obama, not George Bush.
I am also very keen on the sense of what got Obama elected was a progressive platform with many needed changes and improvements to the present situation. That being said, it’s all about the timing. Coming out of the stimulus bill wrangling, the President pitched the ball to Pelosi, Reid, and Baucus to write him a health care reform bill. That was mistake number one on this deal. this is major legislation that he ran on. You don’t pitch it off to Congressional leaders to do it for you, it’s your deal! Of course, with the extreme incompetence displayed by Senators Reid and Baucus, the writing and passage of the bill floundered for months. While all this time passed, the opposition grew out of control, mostly due to the incompetence and silence from the White House. Since the conservatives were opposed to any part of health care reform, they took advantage a clear field to build their case against any such measures. That is what was most responsible for the explosive growth of the Tea-Bag movement, the birthers, and the town hall meeting disruptionists. The White House had no response, they were silent. Why?, because they were not in control of the flow of the legislation for the health care reform bill, the nimrods in the Senate were. Pelosi, to her credit, got it done on a very timely basis in the House.
Obama’s next cave in was the throwing out of the public option, without even a fight or debate about it! This was the cornerstone of the plan he campaigned on and it’s the first thing he gives in on. It was at this time, you could really sense the volume of the Tea-Bag movement, the politicians were beginning to run scared, including the President. Here’s another irony for you; the percentage of Americans that identify themselves as Tea-Baggers or sympathetic to the Tea-Bag movement is around 20%! So what is the White House afraid of? In 2008 they dominated the independent voters as well as scoring a good percentage of dissatisfied republicans. I don’t get this run and hide action they have been doing since the spring of ’09.
Next was cap-and-trade. A very good plan with both economic and environmental benefits. Again, the White House back pedaled and conceded entirely too much in order to get the bill passed. Didn’t President Obama run on a cap-and-trade bill with teeth that would be a job creator? Again it’s watered down but, still irony of ironies, the republicans are still complaining about it, though it’s really not very beneficial to anything in its present state.
President Obama ran a very strident repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” soon after becoming President. Here we are, twenty-three months into the term, still no repeal. In fact, he’s caved in almost daily to Grampy McSane and a few of the other homophobes in the Senate, and will not forcefully do his duty and get this institutionalized human rights violating policy repealed. Again, what in the hell is he afraid of?
Probably the President’s biggest single failure, which has ruined his ability as much as anything to get things done, has been his blind ambition of getting support from the republicans for anything. He has spun his wheels endlessly trying to get the republican Congress to work with him and the Democrats in the governance of the country. Boner, McChinless, Cantor, and McSane have all said almost since day one, they don’t like Obama, they won’t acknowledge he is the President, and absolutely they refuse to work on a cooperative basis with him on anything, therefore, the “Party of NO”. Obama should have kicked them to the curb over a year ago and governed with the Democrats and pursued his progressive agenda, which is what he won election on.
The bottom line is simple. President Obama was not qualified to be President. He has no private sector experience, no executive experience, and only legislative experience. Being the leader of the executive branch of government, a person must have the experience to make leadership decisions. Decisions must be decisive, without apologies or delays. Going back through the first half of his term, Obama hasn’t been a decisive leader. He had a clear vision while campaigning but, that clarity was clouded under the immense pressure of leading the government. His Presidency didn’t have to be this weak and indecisive. Had he surrounded himself with a Washington-based experienced staff, many of his shot comings in leadership could have been avoided. I don’t believe having the Chicago group in the oval office was beneficial. Sure, Obama trusts them but they have not been able to break through with Congress or America. I’ve said it before, Tom Daschle should have been his Chief of Staff from the get go. I would bet any amount of money, the republican Senate would be working with the White House had Daschle been there. I would also bet, the health care reform bill would be a hell of a lot closer to what the vision was had Daschle been there.
President Obama has had, legislatively, a very successful first two years. More of his proposed legislation has been passed than any other President in modern history. His problems are two-fold, communication, they have spent the last six months playing defense, running from their own accomplishments rather than campaigning on these accomplishments and his inability to get action on the other major issues he campaigned on, DADT and immigration, they can’t even get the Dream Act to the floor!
I still support President Obama, but he’s going to get killed in 2012 if he and the democrats can’t get back in control of the message. The republicans hijacked the message in the spring of 2009 and have not relinquished it. The President needs to get rid of the Chicago baggage in the White House, get Daschle in there, get Howard Dean back in charge of the DNC, and take back control of the message! He is the President, he is supposed to be controlling the message, not the opposition that runs out of fear of the lowly 20% Tea-Bagger populace.
In spite of today’s wasted meeting at the White House, the Tea-Baggers are simply not going to permit the republicans to work with the President. They are all too afraid of upsetting the far right fringe. The vocal leader, though empty-headed, Sarah Palin will not allow it and will try to get any republican in Congress viewed as being too cooperative with the White House “primaried” in 2012. So, there you have it. A failing Presidency, but an opportunity to right the ship. Thanks for today’s read, and I’ll look forward to your comments.