Can We Blame President Obama For Anything Or Should We Shut Up?
We're hearing the argument nowadays that President Obama has been in office for only nine months and that it's not fair to blame him for America's problems at this early stage in his presidency. The irony here is that the Obama apologists started blaming George W. Bush for the nation's woes the minute (literally) that he stepped foot in the White House. And many of the same Obama apologists can often be heard blaming Reagan for some of the nation's ills more than twenty years after he left office (and let's not leave out Richard Nixon). In other words, Republicans are bad! Democrats are good!
In light of all the political and historical information available at our fingertips today in regard to past presidential administrations, I'm amazed that so many Americans continue to be entrenched in political ideology. The Obama Administration, in particular, has brought the ideological entrenchment to light, for there's no doubt that a number of American's react to criticism of President Obama as if it were a personal attack on them. Indeed, the other day, I was in a school lunch room discussing President Obama with a colleague, and at one point, we had to continue our discussion in hushed tones, because we were getting angry looks from fans of Obama.
The Bush Administration left a bloody mess for the Obama Administration to clean up--no doubt about it! And, quite frankly, anyone that denies that assertion is disingenuous. But let's not forget, that George Bush was left with a bloody mess on his hands, too--less than nine months into his presidency as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. And anyone that denies that assertion is disingenuous.Which president had the bigger mess on his hands?
When George Bush entered the White House, in January of 2001, the U.S. unemployment rate was 6 million. Four years later it was 7.7 million. And four years after that, in January of 2009 when Bush left office and Obama became president, it was up to 11.6 million. The upward trend in unemployment began in June of 2007. At that point it continued its rise to its present level of 15.1 million. Keep in mind that these unemployment numbers are actually significant understatements of the amount of workers unemployed due to the methodology that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics incorporates when compiling unemployment statistics.
The facts are that there has been a steady and upward trend in American unemployment since June of 2007. In other words, throughout the past 2.25 years (9 consecutive quarters) the unemployment rate in the U.S. has continued to climb in absolute terms to such a point that the argument can be made that the U.S. is heading toward a depression as opposed to being in a recession. If President Obama wasn't aware of, or didn't take note of, the continuous upward trend in unemployment then he's not as observant (or as smart and competent) as some make him out to be.
President Obama was elected under a lofty banner of "hope and change". What kind of hope and change is it when over 15 million Americans are out of work and no one knows how many more Americans will be out of work a year from now? It's all well and good that President Obama feels the need to apologize to the rest of the world for America's past sins and in so doing demonstrate that he's a "new kind" of American president. But most Americans are under the impression that a U.S. president's first concern and allegiance is to America, its citizens, and domestic tranquility. Indeed, one of President Obama's first concerns should have been the disturbing upward trend in American unemployment.
The Obama Administration appears to be more concerned with ideology and lofty ideals than with the nuts and bolts of running a country. The majority of Americans don't give a crap about their president receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, President Obama's Peace Prize Award may turn out to be an Albatross around his neck in that it brands him as an elitist. Americans never have, and probably never will, put their faith in an elitist.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: In my lifetime, I've never seen a presidential administration stumble and bumble over policy issues as much as the Obama Administration has. And I've never seen a more indecisive president. And I've never seen as many Americans, as I do today, holding their president in utter contempt after only nine months in office. As American and NATO troops continue to get killed in Afghanistan, President Obama continues to conduct the equivalent of "focus sessions" (I think it's up to five now) in regard to how the Afghanistan war should be fought. His health care reform efforts (which 50% of American voters oppose and only 44% approve) have aroused the angst of millions of Americans. He's even pissing off his most loyal supporters via his failure to deliver on his promise to close down Gitmo and eliminate warrantless wiretaps He reneged on his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. He hasn't done anything to support his promise to restrict lobbyists from working for his administration, nor has he done anything to support his pledge to require transparency for "earmarks". And he's even brought into his administration the likes of individuals such as Van Jones--an avowed white-hating racist and communist that called Republicans "assholes"-- and wondered why people were upset over his choice of cabinet members. The list goes on and on and on . . . .
As of today (Oct. 17, 2009) President Obama's voter approval index is minus 10. 29% of American voters strongly approve of him and 39% strongly disapprove. Only 7% of American voters believe that their taxes will go down and 69% believe that government spending will go up. Only 32% of voters believe that President Obama is more ethical than most politicians and only 29% trust him on the current economic crisis and only 30% believe that he's governing on a bi- partisan basis.
I have no doubt that the vast majority of Americans would like nothing better than for President Obama to deliver on his promise of "hope and change" and for him to be successful in bringing the country together--and only an ideological dupe would not want this. But facts are facts. And the facts are that the only thing that President Obama has accomplished is to drive a wedge into the heart of America and pit Americans against Americans.
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Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel