Monday, August 8, 2011

Why Not Take Responsibility, Mr. Obama?

Barack Obama has spent two-and-a-half years blaming George W. Bush for virtually everything--but certainly for the economy he inherited.  Some of it--especially early on--hurt; because it was the truth.  But after a while, the "blame George" game became tired, and un-presidential.  Even the press (sorta) picked up on it.

Now, our credit rating has been lowered.  The market lost 5.5-6% of its value today, depending on which index you choose.  Markets are panicking, confidence is dropping, fingers are pointing, and alibi's are forming.  But what of taking responsibility?  What of taking charge?  What of owning up, and saying "the buck stops here?"

The President is failing on virtually every level these days; sadly, even the great triumph of the killing of Bin Laden appears diminished today as 30 lives are snuffed out in Eastern Afghanistan.  The war is his, now, just like the economy is his.  And while I would seriously like to see the President lose the next election, as an American, I'd like for him to lose from a position of strength--with the economy on the rebound and a spring back in the national step.  But how to get there.

Well--the first step is to lead.  Yep.  That's it.  Lead.  Stop blaming others.  It isn't the Tea Party, it isn't George Bush, it isn't the S&P and yes Mr. President--it really isn't you either.  Where we are is the result of a witches brew of dysfunction, and while it isn't Mr. Obama's fault--it is his JOB to work on turning it around.  Mr. Obama had a chance today, and he blew it.  Here's what he should have said in the Rose Garden today.  Actually, he should have said it in a statement from Camp David Saturday--waiting 72 hours was ridiculous.  But here goes.

"My fellow Americans.  On Friday, the Standard and Poors Corporation downgraded the credit rating of the United States one level, from AAA to AA+.  This is not a good thing--I won't try to tell you otherwise.  Since such things as credit ratings have existed, we have been AAA.  To be President at the time of this downgrade is not one of my proudest moments, and while it is too early to tell what the impact will be on our ability to borrow money to fund continuing operations of our government, the markets are rendering their judgment even as I speak."

"My administration made a mistake this weekend--I made a mistake.  We never should have questioned either the competence or the integrity of S and P in their judgment.  They made their decision, and after what we as a nation watched for the past six weeks, it is hard to argue that it wasn't a good decision."

"Ladies and Gentlemen--we are in a bind.  One party in our great democratic system largely rejects any attempt to raise additional revenue for the general treasury; and the other party largely rejects any attempt to rein in entitlement spending.  Given the size of our national debt and those two political realities, any body attempting to adjudge our fiscal health would be seriously questioned were they not to reach the same conclusion S and P reached."

"So--from this day forward.  No more blame.  No more talking about what I inherited.  No more blaming things on the Tea Party, or S and P.  No--we're out of the blame game, and I'm going to ask all of you to hold me to it.  My administration is now in the "get busy" game, and my single minded goal is to regain our AAA rating by the end of my first term".

"I'm betting my Presidency on this.  I believe that if--working with the Congress--I am able to help bring about economic and fiscal conditions that warrant our movement back to AAA--I will win a second term.  I will run and win on my record, or I will run and lose on it.  Nothing could be more simple.  From this day forward--any member of my administration who blames someone or something else for our problems--will get a warning from my Chief of Staff.   A second offense is a firing offense.  For myself and the Vice President--I'll let the national press do its job of holding us to our word, and the voters will then rehire or fire us as required in 2012."

"What, you may ask, if we haven't achieved the AAA rating by the time of the election?  Well, I trust the American people to make the right decision.  If we've put people back to work; if the markets are slowly and steadily growing; if we do what is right to get us back in the center of the channel and not headed toward the rocks---well then I believe I'll get four more years."

"So that's it.  No more blame.  Just action.  To that end, I am inviting John Boehner and Harry Reid to take office space in the White House.  West Wing.  I've kicked out a few of my assistants, and John, Harry and I are going to keep at this.  Now I know they've got lots to do--but nothing any of us does is more important than getting this ship back on course. I figure at the very least--we can spend Monday's talking and working.  Every Monday.  And probably some more time during the week.  We don't have "war cabinets" in the US, but that's sorta what I'm proposing.  If they want me to come over there once a week and work--well I'll do that too.  Just give me an office.  With a view."

"So no more recrimination, no more finger pointing, no more blame.  I've spent a lot of time in this office trying to compare myself to Ronald Reagan--but that's not what we need.  We need a little Harry Truman.  The buck stops here.  The buck stops with me.  Thank you."


"The Hammer" said...

Well unfortunately David Plouffe is Obama's chief advisor and he doesn't think that way. He knows dick about governing and the rest (apart from Bill Dailey) are no help, they're all ideologues.

Rove was just on the tube and he said what most of us have been saying. The campaign has already started and since the President can't run on his record he has no choice but to go negative in a big way. Just look at Obama's previous campaigns, he won most of them by smearing his opponents.

Here's the thing, as bad as Obama is, if he can smear the eventual Republican candidate to the point that he or she is deemed unacceptable, then Obama will win by default. In 1980 Reagan only broke ahead of Carter the last two weeks because people were making up their minds as to whether he was the madman the Dems said he was. They knew Carter was bad but was Reagan worse? They decided he wasn't and Reagan won in a landslide.

Now, you're probably right CW. Romney is probably the guy they don't want to run against. He has executive experience and the bearing of a leader (no small thing). As much as I like the fire of Michelle Bachmann or the political philosophy of Ron Paul, I think they would be a target rich environment for the likes of Plouffe.

This is going to be a slash and burn, filthy, devisive election because Obama has no choice but to make it so. I think a Republican will win, and possibly win big, but in the end the country will be a mess. At the end of the day, we're going to need a real leader. I hope we get one.

Bryan said...

This is a terrific post, CW. I agree with Hammer, though, that the GOP will need to bring a candidate who can present a more competent and visionary alternative to the increasingly negative President. I still don't see that person. Romney is reticent to take a stand, flip flops on issues, and his most egragious fault (at least for me) is that he supported the war in Iraq while his five sons chose not to serve.

The only GOP candidate who could exhibit the needed combination of optimism and competence is probably Rick Perry. He's very conservative and Christian, but at least sincerely so. He will have to explain, however, that his success in creating jobs in Texas also came with worst-in-the-nation teen pregnancy, second-worst education, and bottom five infant mortality.

Mudge said...

Are you seriously suggesting that, until the last two years, a man who was never responsible for anything would by now have had time to develop the character trait of standing up and actually taking responsibility? Especially when considering the years he spent being a Community Organizer, who's very essence is one of blaming everyone else for his own community's ills?

Newer Post Older Post Home