My wife thinks President Obama is working for Al-Qaida. I kid you not. She brought up this contention while we were watching the news Saturday night. To Mikki, the combined effect of President Obama’s policies, being clearly anti-business (on any business level) anti-entrepreneur, and anti-consumer mean that he is working to destroy the infrastructure of the United States. Bear in mind that my wife is from Hong Kong, and tends to see things from a different perspective than most people. The thing is, Mikki is no Republican, in fact she does not vote much except when she really likes someone, like Mayor Bill White of Houston, or is furious with someone, like Barack Obama. And Obama has really set her off. So far as she is concerned, Obama is directly responsible for just about every problem in America right now, if for no reason beyond the fact that as President, Obama should be setting the example and building optimism and confidence. I do not agree that Obama is trying to undermine America, though. I think the man just has the interests of the United States of America far lower on his list of priorities than his own personal agenda.
The reason I mention that point of view, is that I am hearing it more and more, and from black Americans as often as from white Americans. Obama seems to have exhausted his mojo, and the canned promises sound, well, like canned promises that aren’t worth spit. This happens a lot with politicians, though, so the real question is the way an individual politicossack handles the turbulence. Some, like Harry Truman, tough out the flack, explain their reasoning and push ahead. Some, like Jimmy Carter, go into hiding and let things fall apart. Some, like Bill Clinton, recognize the battles they can’t win, cut their losses and regroup for the next proposal. And some, Like FDR, pull back from a sure loss, embrace the other side’s solution, and build credibility and support from that action in advancing his broader agenda. I mentioned Democrats who were President, because it reminds us that Barack Obama is in no way the first or last President who has had to face an angry public for a misstep, either in the way he delivers his decisions or who just plain gets the call wrong. But in every successful President’s administration, the solution begins with recognizing what is wrong, and why. Barack Obama has been stubborn in holding on to the pretense that his plans are perfect from the go, and if he pushes hard enough he will inevitably win. Given his record in getting to the White House, but the guy is no student of history.
Admitting you are wrong is hard for many people, and flat out impossible for some folks. I personally know some very fine people who have been completely wrong, yet won’t admit their error in the least, much less make necessary changes. It’s not about intellect, but ego. Certainly we’ve seen many debates in politics where the truth came out in an obvious way, but the party in the wrong refused to budge from its position, no matter the cost. This obstinacity is relatively harmless and can even be amusing at the low level debates we see on the blogs, but it’s a bit more serious when the President of the United States, in effect, puts his fingers in his ears and yells “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”. Not smart, just plain dumb.
The problem comes down to sensitivity. Barack Obama is about as tetchy a POTUS as we’ve had since Richard ”They’re all out to get me” Nixon. Any criticism of the man’s policies and politics is immediately tagged as “racism”, which would just be a crude spin tactic if it were not so obvious that our Narcissist-in-Chief buys into that conspiracy theory himself. Or that President Orwell engages in so much NewSpeak, like telling us that taxing people if they don’t have health insurance would not really be a tax, and certainly not a tax on the poor, even though the people who do not have insurance now and who would be most likely not to have insurance in the future, are the poor. Like telling us that he has personally “created or saved” millions of jobs, in spite of a national unemployment average rising above 10 percent at times, with some urban minorities seeing local unemployment above thirty percent. Like telling us that there is no risk in “investigating” CIA agents through political committees on the assumption that the ‘civil rights’ of foreign terrorists may have been violated by men doing their jobs. The man imagines himself spotless, but that’s only because his moral vision is so poor.
That’s not to demean President Obama. Every President makes mistakes and has areas of weakness. Most of them are aware of their deficiencies and work to improve them and to avoid the worst mistakes. Almost all have to face situations which result from such mistakes. Sooner or later, President Obama is going to have to face the consequences of his mistakes and errors. The delay only means the consequences may be much more serous than he imagines.