Friday, January 29, 2010

The State of the President

The President used the occasion of his first State of the Union address to appeal for unity in our country, but true to his proclivity for avoiding blame, he refused to take responsibility for the nation’s great divide.

In the mind of Barack Obama, of course, the culpability lies with the Republicans; when our dear leader speaks of “unity,” what he really means is “acquiescence.” Failure to rubber-stamp his agenda is considered to be the chief component of disharmony in Obama-world - daring to stand firmly in opposition to his schema borders on disloyalty.

Never mind that what is offered by his lapdog Congress is terrible - and terribly radical - legislation. Most of his programs have not been passed, despite a Democrat super-majority in the Senate, simply because the bills are so bad that the American people have risen up to voice their outrage at almost every turn.

It seems that for each budget-busting, job-killing, government-expanding proposal that comes along, the Tea Party movement gains another hundred thousand followers.

So to a man (and woman), Republicans are voting “no,” and when they are not voting “no,” they are voting “HELL no.” Who can blame them? They are accused of blind partisanship, but they are merely listening to their consciences and their constituency – a pretty damned good approach to representative government, I would think.

Voting for a bad bill for the sake of Barack Obama’s definition of unity is just plain wrong, just as it would be wrong to vote for a bad bill to avoid being called an obstructionist.

There was a time, during his campaign and in the early part of his administration, that when the President would make statements that defied credulity, he would get away with it. Not anymore; he exhausted his supply of free passes long ago. He continues to defy credulity, to be sure – but now there is a real-world price that must be paid.

The American public told him as much when given the opportunity in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.

Until now, Barack Obama has had a career in which he never actually had to perform, as one would if running a business, or a town, or an agency. Every “job” he has ever held involved only two things: offering his opinion and running for the next highest office. Now, however, he’s bumped into highest ceiling of them all – there’s nothing else to run for and he’s got to be, for the first time in his adult life, a decision-maker. And also for the first time in his adult life he’s going to be graded on his performance, not his oratorical and campaign skills.

He’s not getting very high marks - and for all the reasons we knew he wasn’t going to: his upbringing was radical and far left, and when he brought those values to the White House, they turned out to be well beyond the threshold that the majority of the American people could find palatable. He’s surrounded himself as President with the same kinds of people he’s surrounded himself with for his entire life: leftist ideologues with no real-world experience.

Obama is now being held accountable by the world’s media for his every decision, and many of those decisions are turning out to be poorly conceived, illogical and strongly driven by partisan politics. Rather than seek the haven of most Presidents – the political center – his hubris caused him to believe that such a shift was unnecessary.

So we find ourselves trying to make sense of oxymoronic policy statements, which is what we get when instead of actually offering a firm and cogent position, he tries in vain to please both the left and the right.

Epic fail. Witness a strategy (and I use the term loosely) in Afghanistan that has us surging, and then pulling out without regard to the result of the surge, a policy I like to call belli interruptus. This is no way to govern, and the people of the United States know it; some admit it more readily than others, but the realization is certainly seeping into the broader American consciousness – Chris Matthews notwithstanding.

Decision-making for the most powerful country in the world cannot be done Chinese-takeout-menu style. One from Column A and one from Column B just isn’t getting it done, and not surprisingly we find ourselves hungry for a new policy a few hours later.

Bit by bit, like a mosaic, a picture of this Administration is slowly coalescing, and it is not a pretty one. Incompetence abounds, sometime on a scale so huge (think Napolitano, Geithner and Holder) that we peer intently at the facts in order to discern some master plan so incredibly intricate that we mere mortals cannot discern it.

But that’s not it, is it? It is just plain incompetence. So when the President calls for a “change in tone,” by which he means that everyone must sing in his key, I have to say no, I don’t think so, Mr. President.

You’re not good for America, and unless you have an epiphany of the highest order, you never will be. And I’ll never stop saying so. Now that you’ve done what no other President in MY lifetime has been able to do – get me up off my butt and behind a keyboard – you’ll have to deal with me until you go away.