Of Barack Obama and great disappointment …

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?

7 thoughts on “Of Barack Obama and great disappointment …”

  1. I’d settle for leadership instead of class warfare. How about unity instead of driving a wedge through the country. When someone suggests a way to preserve medicare so the next generation will have something, he scares seniors with his divisive rhetoric instead of a plan of his own. Obama, Reid and Pelosi are all the same. They won’t come up with a plan of their own, they’ll just wait for someone else to come up with one and scare the public with misinformation. My hope for this president, being a conservative was that he’d unite the country but he’s done everything in his power to divide.

  2. Read the constitution Jeff, Congress, not the President controls government spending. A President can use the bully pulpit to say what he would “like” to become law, but the decision ultimately rests with Congress and this Congress will not give the President what he wants because that is what they were ELECTED to do.Democrats controlled all 3 branches of Government last year and FAILED to come up with their own budget. They lost their majority and this is what we have now.

    1. Wait, Bobby, I certainly know the innards of the constitution. And, amazingly, I agree with you here. It pisses me off, but I agree …

  3. I basically agree with all you’ve written. I would like to add that the current batch of democratic representatives and senators are scared to death of their own shadows and have shown no support to their president. They are nothing short of gutless.

  4. I phone banked for Obama in 2008, but I will not vote for him in 2012. If that means I vote Green Party then I guess that’s what it means.

    Obama will go down in history with presidents like James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover — men called upon to lead in a time of crisis and who instead shirked their responsibility. The man is a complete cipher who has achieved nothing of consequence.

  5. Read the New Yorker’s longform piece on the Bin Laden raid and then decide if you think his leaership has been a “great disappointment.”

    Voting for a Republican — even one of Huntman’s ilk — is self-defeating if you value progressive policy. If you vote for a Republican, you are voting for Republican supreme court appointments, Republican cabinet secretaries, republican agency heads, et al.

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