Many millions of Americans believed he was, in fact, the long awaited political savior of America. Many Americans truly thought that Barack Obama was a visionary, a different kind of president that was his own man, one that would come to the rescue of this nation as it was struggled to regain its stability and restore its stagnating economy.
Well, unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way and, instead of a savior, we might well call him the Master Illusionist. He fooled the American people beginning in 2008, he fooled them again in 2012; but the fooling is now over. Oh, he can sit in the Oval Office and fly wherever he wishes in Air Force One until the end of his term. He can continue to put forth his lofty rhetoric which an ever-increasing number of Americans ignore. He has lost a great deal of the trust and respect of millions of his former supporters.
Headlines in the news that say, "Obama Defends NSA Secret Spying" and "President Obama Embraces NSA Spying on U.S. citizens" and "Bush-Era Spying Made Legal Under Obama" are tremendously damaging both to this president as well as the Democratic Party. While he didn't create this spy program, he is enthusiastically supporting it. This is the kind of a situation that has, in the past, escalated to the point of bringing down presidencies and this one, in particular, has the potential to do just that if damage control is not put into motion; i.e., concrete actions to reverse this clandestine surveillance of the American people by the NSA
Mr. Obama's presidency has already been on the decline as virtually nothing of real substance has been accomplished for some time. Besides his failed Afghan surge, the deadly drone program and the NSA spying, I see five major issues that were of critical importance to the governing of this nation and its society; issues and matters that President Obama should have handled much differently and far more effectively but did not. Those issues are:
*Obamacare, aka The Affordable Health Care Act; the public option would have been a revolutionary accomplishment that would have produced a program just a step away from a universal health care system that all the other industrialized nations of the world have had for many years. But Mr. Obama pulled the plug on the public option because he was not about to go up against the powerful medical insurance industry.
*The Filibuster; changing this outmoded, destructive tool that kills legislation would have been a real game changer. A tremendous opportunity was there for the taking; just that one rules change in the Senate would have ended the gridlock and allowed the enactment of important major legislation so badly needed in this country. Harry Reid choked and caved, and Mr. Obama looked the other way as is his habit when he wants no part of a controversial issue.
Is there any doubt that the Republicans, who control the House, have also effectively controlled the Senate for the last 5 years? Remember in 2008 when Sen. Mitch McConnell blatantly decreed that the Republicans' #1 priority was to take down the presidency of Pres. Obama? Well, they have certainly achieved that objective as the business of the government has largely been shut down right before Mr. Obama's eyes.
*Refusal to investigate members of the G.W. Bush administration for potential illegalities; this Obama administration has acceded to the central doctrine of Bush/Cheney; secrecy, spying, lack of transparency, close ties with Wall Street and intrusion into the affairs of other sovereign nations. His inept Attorney General, Eric Holder is no more than a puppet and he should immediately resign before more scandals involving his area of responsibility are unearthed.
*Allowing Wall Street white collar criminals to continue their deceitful and manipulative tactics without making any real effort to launch an investigation that would end these practices and protect the American people from these deadly predators. From the time that Timothy Geithner and Lawrence Summers entered the administration many observers knew that this administration and Wall Street were joined at the hip, and that this president had not the slightest inclination to stop the massive abuses being perpetrated against the people by the financial sector.
*Gun safety legislation: I was hoping to finally see him get very angry, very passionate and determined and do something to enact reasonable, effective measures to prevent a reoccurrence of the slaughters of 20 young children in Newtown, CT. What I saw was his usual low key, non-confrontational and totally ineffective effort. He let the Republicans and some Democrats kill this legislation while totally ignoring anything he said. The man has no real fight in him. Maybe a shot of adrenaline would help.
Yes, the country was looking for that president who would learn from the mistakes of his predecessors and lead the nation, rather than allowing himself to be controlled by the Establishment. America needed a president who would reject the doctrine of perpetual war, stop the building of the military empire, bring reasonable and effective regulations to Wall Street, establish a government/business coalition to stop outsourcing and create new jobs; in short, establish a positive, constructive direction for America. Well, it didn't find that person in Barack Obama.
This president really needs to think about the difficulties that future Democratic candidates running for office will face because of how he is tarnishing the party's reputation and standing. Sure, he will soon be at the end of his term and leave for a prosperous life as a former president but he will leave his party in a precarious state; and all because of the way he has compromised the positions he should have taken and joined the powers that control Washington D.C.
We should never confuse high intelligence with great wisdom nor should we confuse lofty rhetoric with the ability to turn those words into positive, constructive results. This is a president who had a tremendous opportunity to do great things for this country, who had the majority of the American people strongly behind him, with entirely solvable problems waiting to be addressed. He couldn't get it done.
But in criticizing this and any other president for their failures we need to ask this question: have we been misled and mistaken to think that a president has total power over this government and its many powerful agencies and that they will obediently follow his orders? Or is that power far less than we thought?
Well, just consider the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of government employees in the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Dept. and a myriad of agencies all of which are run by extremely powerful officials. If anyone thinks that a president is going to confront the power brokers in Washington and start dictating the policies and agendas of this country and these officials do not possess the power to fight back, often covertly, may be sadly mistaken.