Progressives’ love-hate relationship with Barack Obama was never more tested than this week. The Boston Bombing, although the worst terrorist episode since 9/11, brought about Obama’s best. In stark contrast, his budget proposals elicited the most disappointment. His base is sorely disillusioned, and legitimately so. Perhaps Boston overshadowed the budget. It is difficult to issue a failing report card when balancing an A+ on one subject.
This writer is as torn as the progressive devotees that put him in office. On the one hand, Obama’s handling of the terrorist’s event is superb. The nation applauds his performance because it seems so sincerely passionate. Obama’s speech at Cathedral of the Holy Cross is one for the history books. What better picture than that of Michelle Obama visiting the injured?
On the other hand, Obama hints at privatization of one of the bedrock programs of the New Deal, the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In addition to TVA, Obama proposes privatization of several other public sector programs, elimination of 6-day delivery for the Postal Service, weakening government unions, further privatization of NASA, cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and environmental agencies. Who knows how he’ll handle the Keystone XL Pipeline? Since conceding to the right takes precedence over honoring his promises, it only seems logical the pipeline would be approved, the environment be damned.
The budget, it seems, is meant to antagonize supporters while showing Republicans his willingness to compromise by angering his own. Does he expect some sort of reciprocation from those that have hated him with utter disdain to the level of impeachment (if not assassinated first)? Haven’t we heard this tune before?
Chamberlain returned to Britain bragging of his deal with Adolf. The prime minister waving the worthless paper is forever etched on our minds. More informed Brits asked, “Does this man not know the Fuhrer?” Seventy-five years later we ask, “Does Barack Obama not know Republicans – especially after being trashed for five years?”
The problem isn’t so much his proposals, but his strategy. Or lack thereof. Offering concessions BEFORE negotiations is a chronic form of intellectual stupidity, especially if repeated time after time. And the consequences are enormous – not just for the personal record of Barack Obama, but for us all. Especially for us all.
The defeat of the watered-down universal background checks for gun purchases is just a sample. Obama should have recognized Republican obstinance and obstruction after countless incidents. When the narrow window of opportunity opened to enact gun safety laws after Newtown, he was wisely advised to act quickly. But his pattern changed not. He did work hard, gave several passionate speeches, and flew Newtown families to Washington. But he didn’t heed the warning to act urgently and swiftly before the NRA had a chance to derail any action. As a result, only controversial, weak executive orders may be his legacy.
Obama’s problem isn’t leadership, it’s gullibility.
Where was the President when Harry Reid had the opportunity to change Senate rules, setting the filibuster back to its intended purpose? Why did he not push Reid to fulfill his promise? A Lyndon Johnson or Bill Clinton would have. His tunnel vision of idealism blinds him to practicality.
If offering compromise before the hand is dealt, the final settlement (if reached) would equal far less than initially offered, which would mean a colossal rightwing drift. Republicans win without firing a shot, because Obama commits political suicide. As our chosen champion of progressivism falls eagerly, unilaterally on his own sword, we cannot help but express perplexity, “Why is the President we so love, so willing to sell us out?”
The speech of Obama is sweet, yet his misconceptions so oft repeated bring bitterness to those who love him most.
And this week seems the most contradictory in our love/hate. The nation is enthusiastically united behind Barack Obama for his Boston guidance, law enforcement, FBI, and comforting the victims. What a great President, our Black JFK! His personal touch touches our hearts.
Yet we are taken aback by his proposals that would gradually destroy FDR’s New Deal and set the course for another economic catastrophe. What Democratic leader in their right mind would offer to destroy what took so long to build?
How can Obama produce both sweet and bitter? The two seem quite incompatible.
“Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.” – James 3:11-12