Monday, February 28, 2011

The World Keeps On Turning But So What?

"So it seems that the world keeps on turnin' but so what
I don't doubt it, it just keeps on the move."

Little Feat

Barack Obama is going to be a one–term president — and deservedly so.

Some people will read that sentence and only one word will leap into their minds — racist.

But I defy anyone to identify anything that is racist about it.

It is based on the same assessment I would give to any president more than halfway through his term.

At this stage, frankly, my assessment is not good.

In more than two years of his "leadership," unemployment has gotten steadily worse — and Friday's report is likely to show a jump in the last month. Gas prices are higher than they have been since his predecessor's days and likely to get much higher. Food prices are following suit.

If people were going to the polls today and asking themselves Ronald Reagan's question from 1980 ("Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"), the answer would be a resounding "No!"

Not since Herbert Hoover has an American president, with the economy imploding around him, been so content to play Nero, fiddling while Rome burned.

The pain and suffering of millions of average, formerly hard–working Americans have been all but ignored by this president so he could have "teachable moments" or focus on reforming health care — it really seems absurd to have to say this because it oughta be obvious, particularly to someone who was once a community organizer and supposedly had to work with people who were down and out, but if you're out of work, whenever you do have a little money in your pocket, you're going to buy food or pay for whatever meager shelter you may have; you aren't going to worry about paying for health care.

This president does things backwards. You have to restore the working class before you begin tinkering with health care.

But he approaches things from the detached, theoretical perspective — as if conducting experiments in a laboratory.

I have long heard Obama compared to Dwight Eisenhower, and I have concluded that he is much like Ike in another way. Like Eisenhower, I believe Obama is simply out of touch with the needs and concerns of ordinary Americans.

Eisenhower, of course, was a general before becoming president. Mundane tasks were handled for him by others, both before and during his time in the White House.

Anyway, when Ike left the White House and went into retirement, so the story goes, he picked up a telephone to make a call for the first time. Before that time, an aide had always dialed the number and then handed the phone to Eisenhower when the party had been reached. But, on this occasion, Eisenhower had to do it himself. He picked up the receiver and then told whoever was with him that there was something wrong with the phone.

Eisenhower said there was a strange buzzing sound. When his companion picked up the receiver, he/she realized that what Eisenhower was talking about was the dial tone. He had been so shielded during his public life that he had never heard a dial tone before.

I'm sure Obama knows what a dial tone is. He was raised in a different time than Eisenhower.

But he's still like Ike. He's as remote from the suffering that goes on in this land as he can be.

Since taking office, he has behaved as if the rest of the universe will stand still while he, The One, tinkers with individual problems and nudges them along.

Of course, that isn't how things work — oil spills happen independently of whether the economy is good or bad, revolutions occur in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The world keeps on turning, and a president must be proactive, not reactive.

This president hasn't been. There is no sign that he will be.

And, while there has been some talk that he will drop his current vice president and put someone else (maybe Hillary Clinton) on his ticket with him in 2012, that isn't the correction that is needed.

This country needs a president who will be its champion, who will stand for what he believes because a big part of what he believes is that it is good for all.

Obama's defenders often say people should remember who was president when things turned sour and that people also should allow time for things to get better. They make a valid point.

But the voters need to believe that things are moving in the right direction. After four years of a presidency, they are entitled to that feeling.

After two years of this presidency, where is that feeling to be found?

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