Running for the presidency and being the president are awfully different things.
When one runs for president, he is a superhero, galloping from town to town atop a white horse, promising hope and fortune and something called The American Dream. He can say whatever he pleases; guarantee whatever he wishes to guarantee; talk of better days to come; of a light atop a hill; of glory and prosperity.
When one is the president, he works a desk job. An awful desk job. People take shots at him all day. He becomes increasingly isolated and alone. He believes those around him, often to his own peril.
When Barack Obama ran for president, I bought the dream. I was initially reluctant; I’m 39—old enough to know how these things work. Yet, especially on the awful heels of George W. Bush, Obama seemed different. Yes, he was young and African-American and a dazzling speaker. But it was more than that. Obama peddled hope; peddled this idea that, just maybe, we can unite as a nation again and work together. I loved hearing that, especially because George W. Bush’s ram-the-shit-through administration had been an ode to thuggery. I was ready for change. Beyond ready.
Now, it is August 1, 2011, and I’m beaten down once again.
I am disappointed. Beyond belief.
When Republicans like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have mocked Barack Obama as “the so-called chosen one;” when they’ve said, “Where’s your great president now?” I’ve cringed. Not because, to a certain degree, I don’t agree—but because I don’t share their reasoning. Buffoons like Hannity and Limbaugh rip Obama simply because he’s a Democrat, and they’ve been screaming “Failed president!” since Day 1. It’s partisan crap, and they’d be howling the same words even if Obama were a reincarnation of Ronald Reagan.
To me, the reason Obama is looking more and more like a failed president is because he lacks guts. And passion. And a willingness to stand up and say, “No—that’s not right.” He’s a compromiser, only his compromises lean 95% toward the Republican demands. The latest debt ceiling battle is the greatest example. In a word, it’s pathetic. Sad. Cowardly. Thanks to the president’s refusal to demand, well, anything, this country is about to spiral into even greatest financial dispair. It is true madness—this idea that, in times of financial strive, the best thing the government can do is cut, cut, cut. Cut jobs, cut programs; while leaving the tax rates untouched. Somewhere, FDR is moaning. Hell, somewhere Reagan is moaning.
Maybe Barack Obama is a conservative. Maybe he ran a liberal campaign to mask a Republican reality. Whatever the case, he’s losing me.
I’ll never support a Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachman or Rick Perry. But if, somehow, John Huntsman emerges as the GOP candidate, I might be forced to give him a look.
And I can’t believe I just wrote that.
PS: What I really hate: How Republicans continue to attack Obama. He has given you everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Kept Gitmo open. Kept the tax rates as is. What more could you ask for?