When Obama won the presidency last November, I wasn't happy. I voted against him. But he won, and I was determined to give him a fair chance. He is, after all, my president, even if he isn't of my political orientation. A little over three weeks in and I am finding less and less to like about President Obama.
I disagreed with the idea of removing waterboarding from our arsenal. This wasn't a widespread practice, we used waterboarding in a total of three very specific and crucial instances which yielded information that demonstrably saved lives. By any objective measure, waterboarding isn't real torture — we waterboard our own soldiers as part of special ops training. I'll acknowledge that perhaps I am not on the side of the angels here, though can any country at war always be on the side of the angels? But fine, I can't argue that it is a morally questionable practice, even if it's nowhere near the scale of behavior our enemies have used on captured Americans. Then again, beheading isn't torture either.
Then I heard that Obama wanted to reverse Don't Ask Don't Tell. Really, Obama, really? The economy is sinking, we are facing two wars, and you're worried about soldiers in a foxhole expressing their sexuality openly and freely? What about the actual job that the military has to do? I'm not saying that this Clinton era compromise was the greatest legislation ever, Don't Ask Don't Tell was absolute crap. But it silenced an issue that we really shouldn't have been talking about and Clinton understood that. America understood it and accepted it, for the most part. After all, our military is there for one thing, to protect American freedom and interests overseas. I for one don't want anyone on active duty expressing their sexuality, hetero or otherwise. If you think I'm way off here, just remember that somewhere in Iran, there are soldiers laughing at our gay military. And that's precisely the problem with this feel good nonsense.
Next up, let's close Gitmo and halt any current proceedings, Supreme Court sanctioned proceedings mind you, to bring justice to Americans hurt by 9/11. And no plan for what to do with the terrorists we were storing there. Do we really put them in a regular U.S. jail, even a supermax, where they can be idolized by the criminal population, while simultaneously turning the jail into an instant terrorist target? And who besides Jack Murtha's minimum security prison is willing to take these despicable creatures? And what exactly was so wrong with Gitmo in the first place? Not to mention the obvious issues with trying them in our regular justice system.
All three of these actions after meeting with Cheney, just days earlier, and pledging to understand what the Bush administration was doing before making drastic changes. I guess he used the easy button.
I've already talked about my views on Obama's executive pay caps. I don't disagree that companies getting a government bailout should have to abide by government's rules, they should. The problem there is that President Obama and team aren't just talking about bailout companies, but executive compensation in general for all companies. His words, not mine.
However, I reached the pinnacle of my disgust watching the press conference last night, and the two campaign stops in Elkhart and Ft. Myers. Shocked by the utter disingenuousness of the President's own words. Awed by the near devotion and lockstep of his followers in the audience and in the media. Generally disappointed that the President thinks he is still campaigning, or that going back on the trail will solve the problems he needs to deal with in Washington.
Specifically, there were quite a few major issues with the way the President addressed the nation last night. Yes, his presentation was terrible, he stuttered and stammered his way through incredibly long and boring answers, he seemed defensive, angry, out of his league. He said "uh" about 5000 times. But these are superficial things, and not nearly as important as the content itself, which was even worse than the presentation.
First off, to suggest that because there are no earmarks in the stimulus bill, there can't possibly be any pork is about as disrespectful to my intelligence as can be. One thinks about Obama's comment during the election, saying that McCain's focus on earmarks was silly, as earmarks only represent a small fraction of spending. Now I get it. I guess a rose by any other name doesn't smell as sweet after all.
Obama falsely cast the position of opponents of the bill as a straw man choice between his stimulus plan, pork and all, or doing nothing at all. But this is verifiably untrue — the GOP did forward a plan, as well as tried to contribute ideas to the original stimulus; ideas that were more or less completely dismissed by the Democrats. Obama suggested that the problem with the GOP supporting his bill was due to "a lot of bad habits built up here in Washington, and it's going to take time to break down some of those bad habits." So disagreeing with Obama is a "bad habit" and agreeing with him is "post partisanship?" Got it.
Obama actually brought up Japan's "lost decade" as a reason to vote for the stimulus. Never mind that Japan's problems stemmed from being highly overextended in terms of credit, which is exactly where we will be if this bull, I mean bill, passes. Then Obama suggested that the premise of the New Deal being a good thing was settled long ago. I agree, it was settled that the New Deal was not a good thing and was actually terrible for America. I've only recently started hearing this bit of revisionist history that the New Deal was positive. Interestingly, Obama also asked Republicans "to not engage in some revisionist history."
Obama repeatedly blamed Bush for the problems he is dealing with. Didn't he run because he wanted to resolve the country's issues? Now he's complaining about being in this situation? I've never heard a president act this way, and let me say that it is entirely unbecoming. I'm pretty sure Hillary Clinton or John McCain would be happy to relieve Obama of his responsibilities if they become too much.
I don't have much experience being President, but I am pretty sure it's not a good idea to make fun of your own Vice President, even if he is the "gafftastic" Joe Biden. Biden is a joke, a total joke, which is why there was a collective groan that could be felt as far as Nepal when the world heard Biden was the VP choice. But for Obama to poke fun just raises the question of his own judgment. If it's "not surprising" that Obama wasn't really listening to Biden, then why did he pick the guy to be his running mate? This is just one more slap in the face of Hillary Clinton and the American people who put Obama/Biden in office.
The media meanwhile, thought that Obama did just great. Not just OK, but fawning praise. Commentators on CNN seemed to feel that he had a strong message and delivery. Politico's "Arena" was lighting up with comment after comment of sheer jubilation at having a president that "could speak in full sentences" and "keep more than one thought in his head." I must be getting old, or out of touch with this world, or both.
Today, watching Obama in his post election Florida campaign stop, one questioner, after having a near orgasm for being able to speak with the President, said that he was a student and also had worked at McDonald's for four years. He asked whether Obama would do anything about people who work in a company that long without a promotion. Obama's response was that he was going to have government provide health care and reduce education costs.
No mention to the questioner about the obvious. If he was at McDonald's for four years without a promotion, perhaps he wasn't doing a good enough job. Perhaps the questioner should stop looking for Government to solve his problems and look in the mirror for why his career at McDonald's is at a stand still. But President Obama didn't dare suggest anything like that. I guess this new era of hope and change doesn't include one iota of personal responsibility.
Unless, of course, you are rich.