Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear President Obama,

You got dealt some bad hands coming on board just over eighteen months ago.

The economy sucked (who laughed when they heard the recession ended sometime last year?), stuck in Iraq, lots of Bush neglect of business oversight.  And some more stuff.

Hope, yep, some of us had it.  Change?  We haven’t seen it.

You are a timid president.

Health care.  “What ya’ll want to do?  Let’s all get on board and work up a plan.”  The GOP said no.  Then it said no.  Then it said no.  You folded.  You folded.  And so on.  First rule of negotiations:  don’t negotiate against yourself.  You make a proposal, stick with until there’s movement.  No movement, no concession.  You conceded to the GOP, and your own party, sensing your weakness, piled on leaving the country with a mish-mash pleasing no one and likely to help few.

Financial reform.  “Guys, girls, we’ve sunk a bunch of money into bailing out Wall Street, the insurance industry, the auto industry, mostly before I moved into the White House; but, we can’t quit now.  I know you have no clue, hell, I don’t; but, we have to do something!  If we all could just get along.  I pretty much kept everyone that advised W and got us into this mess.  Work with me here damn it!”

Foreign policy.  “I just really don’t understand these Iraqi folks.  Billions, billions we pour in and they can’t even form a Parliament.  And those Afghanis, corrupt, absolutely corrupt after all we’ve done for them! All Bush’s doing, all I’m doing is trying to clean up his mess and all I get is blame.  I hate to say it; but, thank God the economy is in the tank or I’d be getting real flak for what’s happening overseas.”

Civil liberties.  Here, I’ll quit with pseudo whining by the President and talk a little bit about what he could have done with a few strokes of a pen – those executive orders so popular with his predecessors. 

DADT.  Started with a stroke of a pen by Clinton, should have been ended the same way.  Clean up the legislative mess after the fact.  But no, you want everyone on board so there’s no blame for you except among the people that supported you since you figured they’d always be on board.  Careful with that attitude.

Guantanamo.  Stroke of the pen and I’m really tired of all your excuses.

Gay rights.  One of your worst panders in the first place and worst refusals to act responsibly once you had to chance to.  I really have a hard time believing you don’t understand the difference between a “civil union” and a marriage.  I think you are a Chicago pol who thinks he can keep supporters and not alienate the other side (who are already alienated) by straddling.  Being half black and half white, you ought to know you can’t parse basic civil liberties.  That you think you can, greatly disappoints me and does you no go with the other side of the issue.

Finally, you’d make a great mediator.  “Dave, Rick makes a great proposal to end your political dispute.  I know he’s a right wing ,crazy guy and you’re a liberal, commie, pinko; but, I’m on board with both of you, if only you could just agree.”  By your failure to commit to anything, you fail both of us, and all of our counterparts.  You called out the Tea Party today and demanded specific proposals.  Where have yours been this last year and a half (other than trial balloons?) on specifics?

President Obama, you talk pretty good, your follow through is lacking.  You and the Dems deserve what it appears you are going to get in November.  My only hope is that it appears your opponents are as equally clueless and ineffectual and with you around for another two years, we’ll have stalemate.




Dave said...

I just want you to know that I follow your blog, read your rantings, and mostly agree with your thoughts. I just can't get as angry. I just think that the world is going to hell, always has been so, but we hear more about it now. Is it worse now than WWI or WWII, Hitler and his kind? Or the Spanish Inquisition? McCarthy? Prohibition and all the gangsters it spawned? I could go on and on. So could you. I like living with my head under a blanket but I am glad you are out there ranting.

Anonymous said...

I've come to think of Barack Obama as being cut from the same cloth as Barry Switzer.

Barry Switzer came into Dallas thinking, "These are all grown men, professional men, and they'll act responsibly without any yelling or hand-holding from me."

And I'm sure you remember how that turned out.

Wes said...

The Barry Switzer analagy is pretty good. I too wish Obama would grow a pair and say "Y'know what? I don't have one of those faux mandates that the mouth-breather just before me had. I have a real mandate, and it's time to use it. Bring it on, nutcases. Hold up Sarah Palin as the ideal public servant, Pinochet's Chile as the ideal country, and the droppings of F. A. Hayek as the ideal economic approach. Let's see how we stack up, eh?"

But no, that's not gonna happen.


The Curmudgeon said...

BHO had no mandate. He had the good fortune to be not-a-Republican in an election where, because of the economy, any old not-a-Republican would do.

You are so right that he'd be a fine (if frustrating) mediator. (When I have a case mediated, my client really needs to know what the mediator thinks -- and the old judge's blunt response of "in my experience, if you put that in front of a jury, you'll bankrupt your company," is far more helpful in settling a case than the mediator's careful neutrality in everything.)

Anyway, for all his talk, BHO never really tried bipartisanship. In practice, Mr. Obama's idea of "bipartisanship" has been 'agree with us or you're an obstructionist.' Which makes it all the worse that he's never put his own proposals on anything, that I can see. He put Pelosi and her people in charge on Obamacare when it should have been clear to him that her positions were too extreme for her own party. The mishmash we are saddled with now came from compromises necessary to get Democratic votes required for passage, not compromises unilaterally made to get Republican votes which would never be delivered. On Dodd-Frank, it was the debate between the White House economic team and the Democrats in Congress that watered all the potentially helpful provisions down -- again, not unilateral cuts in hopes of attracting phantom Republican votes. And never did BHO stand up and say, 'I must have this, this and this or there is no bill.'

On the civil liberties questions, well, statism is a disease from which all recent presidents (in both parties) have suffered. Somehow anyone who gets in sniffing distance of the White House forgets about their prior commitments to civil liberties. An illustrative excerpt from my 2/23/09 post (which was suggested by a comment of yours, actually) follows:

This is why people concerned about civil liberties were concerned when the Bush administration sought to give telephone companies retroactive immunity from suits "for participating in the government's program to eavesdrop on Americans without warrants following the Sept. 11 attacks." Though originally opposed to the retroactive immunity provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, then-Senator Obama, perhaps already thinking about how he might want to govern, changed his position and voted for the bill, with the immunities included, when the bill reached the Senate floor. (Source: Chicago Tribune article by Katie Fretland, July 10, 2008.)

Dave said...

The first comment above is actually by Susie, my blind friend, who asked me to post it for her. I forgot about attribution. Sorry Susie.