Thursday, August 11, 2011

Obama - A Laim Duck Messiah?

From both sides of the mainstream media aisle, the insinuations are flooding the airwaves and saturating the blogosphere. So could it be true? Is the messiah of the Democratic Party dead? Has he already lost his re-election campaign? The Op-Eds are already echoing affirmations of this possibility.

Why the Tea Party Lord? Why?
How the fuck did we get here? And are we really here? Is this rhetoric half-assed hyperbole or should I really be worried?

Perhaps to answer this question, we first must retrace our steps over the last three years…maybe then we can figure out how we got here. And I will attempt to offer my assessment without the left-leaning bias that permeates my worldview. I will genuinely try to be objective and keep my acerbic commentary minimized and perhaps even muted. This should be an interesting experiment and one I will undoubtedly fail but here goes.

The year was 2008 and in a response to predatory lending and sub prime mortgage exploitation, the financial universe was on the brink of complete annihilation and in an attempt to avert this impending disaster, George W. Bush championed and congress then passed the $700 billion dollar Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, better known as the bank bailout. I find it noteworthy to mention that Jesus, umm I mean Obama, was over a month away from getting elected at the time.

This spending measure sucked but it was necessary. Sure we could have let the banking industry sink into oblivion but Bush acted responsibly and spent the money he had to. Wait…did I just compliment W?

Bbllluurrgghhh. Sorry, I just vomited all over my keyboard. Excuse me for a moment.

Okay. All clean, pressing on. Four months after this spending measure and several weeks after his miffed inauguration speech, Obama took the next painful but necessary step when he passed the $787 billion dollar American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. This stimulus package was meant to do two things…prevent the implosion of our economy and then get it back to where it had been before W. and his two terms of destruction took a budget surplus and turned it into the largest deficit an American president would ever inherit.

Does ‘two terms of destruction’ qualify as acerbic commentary?

Anyway, here’s what we have so far. Bush, with brilliant economic brainstorms like cutting taxes for the rich during war time and doing everything in his power to deregulate the market, paving the way for Enron, Ponzi schemes, sub prime mortgages, etc., managed to bequeath to Obama the largest deficit ever. And then, with the economy on the brink of collapse, Obama had no choice but to pass the stimulus package.

Dude, where's your hope?
The only problem was that, according to many economists, the stimulus package wasn’t big enough. Some economists speculated that any economic growth would level off or retreat once the money ran out. And they were right.

So what do you get when you take the first black guy to become president and saddle him with crippling debt in a dogshit economy that lacks the capital necessary to jumpstart itself? You get the Tea Party and a toxic Republican Congress hell-bent on cutting the deficit they handed Obama while refusing to increase tax revenue as part of the equation for doing so.

So amidst this climate, here is what Obama has accomplished, in case you missed it.

He passed a historic healthcare bill. It was a flawed bill but it was by far the most ambitious legislation to ever tackle the stratospheric costs of healthcare that has left tens of millions of Americans without coverage. But it did not contain a public option because such a bill would not pass the Senate so the liberals chided Obama for not sticking to his guns and getting every single element that their base wanted.

So he was not a pragmatist in this legislative triumph, he was a pussy.

Soon after, he tiptoed into hostilities with Libya but took a back seat, allowing other nations to shoulder the burden of another conflict that was not our war to wage. This move was cautious and politically calculated though an appropriate position to take because, I don’t know, we were already involved in two other fucking wars at the time. So we kind of had a full plate already.

But just before the GOP could completely castrate his national security credentials, he went and did what W. never could, he killed Osama bin Laden. But this celebration was short lived because of a pesky little problem called joblessness that just wouldn’t go away.

And unfortunately, the Republicans’ only response to the unemployment crisis was regurgitating the same ineffectual talking points…cut spending and cut taxes. Hhhhmmm. Can someone explain to me exactly how that creates jobs? And if you say one word about ‘trickle down’ economics, I will dropkick you in your tits or balls, depending on your gender. There is more evidence supporting the existence of the Loch Ness Monster than there is for ‘trickle down’ economic growth.

But the GOP stood by their principles, enabled and abetted by a growing contingent of Tea Party zealots (so much for objectivity), holding Congress hostage at every opportunity. They held it hostage for the budget negotiations and in the last hour, reached a deal that cut $38.5 billion dollars from the budget and created ZERO jobs.

They held it hostage once again in the Debt Ceiling Showdown of 2011 and once again, Obama compromised and conceded to a party that almost joyfully announced that they would rather allow a Government default than raise taxes on wealthy Americans and close corporate loopholes. The deal reduced long-term spending by $2 trillion dollars and thus far has created ZERO jobs.

And once again, the GOP cried victory and both parties pointed at Obama and screamed ‘Pussy’ as the Standard & Poor’s downgraded our economy to AA+, citing Congressional discord and lack of functionality as its reason for doing so. 

So as stock markets plummet, so do Americans’ faith in our government. The approval ratings for Congress are the lowest ever. EVER. Obama’s approval ratings have gone from its high of 69% to its present 42%, one point less than Regan’s at this stage of his presidency.

So how do I feel about this president that I spent six months campaigning for? I am both disappointed and sympathetic. I like to fancy myself as a little more informed than the average voter about the nuances of the Beltway cage fight that Obama and the GOP are presently embroiled in. So I find it easier to justify the decisions he has made.

But I have to ask myself if I am just rationalizing… employing a reliable defense mechanism to conceal the fact that our messiah has not saved us…that this black Jesus may have a good jump shot and a great smile but he’s got a shitty golf game and provides worse leadership.

But how does one define leadership? Is it standing up to the opposing party even if the consequences are a government shutdown or default? Or is it making compromises that avoid worsening a financial crisis even if it diminishes his chances for a second term? Did John Boehner display leadership when he gave into Tea Party demands to strike any and all tax hikes from the debt ceiling deal? Or did Obama display leadership when he acquiesced in the wake of this reversal? You could make a case either way. 

But as the New York Times cited yesterday, Obama told Diane Sawyer about a year ago that he would rather be a good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. Right now, it’s hard to say how future generations will remember him. But if he cannot find a way to create jobs, stifle the radical right and inspire this country as he did on the campaign trail, it is quite feasible that despite his accomplishments, his presidency may go down in history as being neither good nor mediocre.

And that would be tragic…considering all the things that he has indeed accomplished.