For the past week I’ve listened to President Obama talk about urgency regarding our economy. We need to act now, delaying is not an option, we face the worst economy since the Great Depression, failure to act could lead to catastrophe, etc. Some of it has been politics as usual, some of it downright irresponsible. So much for all that “hope over fear” stuff. It appears Congress took his rhetoric to heart and acted urgently. So urgent, in fact, that they passed his stimulus package without even reading it – apparently to avoid further delay. As it happens, Obama won’t even sign the bill until tomorrow. Why? Because he is on vacation with his family.
Now, I don’t have a problem with our President taking a few days off. The stress of the job requires it. But it seems to me that the prudent thing to do would be inform Congress that he wouldn’t be available to sign the bill until tomorrow, thus allowing an additional 3-4 days before voting on it. Ideally, this would give them time to actually read the legislation. Of course, that would risk some nasty conservatives discovering things the American people may not like, and that pesky Fox News could actually report it. That was simply unacceptable. So urgency was the word du jour. As a result, we have the largest spending bill in American history and not one Congressman can tell us what’s in it. So much for transparency. Come to mention it I haven’t seen much in the way of leadership, pragmatism, prudence, cautioned thinking, inspiration, bipartisanship or reassurance from him. What I have seen is fear-mongering, chaos, lack of communication, panic (or at least the appearance of panic), recklessness, irresponsible rhetoric, gloating, and a general lack of historical knowledge. After all, this is NOT the worst economy since the Great Depression. Not even close.
In light of this, I have formed a few opinions of Obama. The only problem is that I’m not quite sure which one is right. To say the least, I have been very disappointed with his performance and empty promises. I’m sure many will chalk that up to partisanship despite my independent affiliation. But make no mistake, I am not the only one who holds these concerns. So, one month into it, I see Obama as one of two people:
1) The puppet. Obama is a young, bright, handsome, charismatic spokesperson out there selling the agenda of the Left. People like him because he is young, bright, handsome and charismatic therefore making him very electable. The actual agenda gets lost in the fray. He is a product of Chicago machine politics with someone else actually calling the shots. Ability to govern, to make executive decisions, and lead are not required so long as the puppeteers keep pulling the strings, even though eventually the lack of these attributes becomes apparent. This would explain why Obama allowed Pelosi and Reid to write his stimulus bill with very little objection. Even when public support for it began to wane and bipartisan Congressional support vanished, Obama did nothing to alter the bill. And despite his promise of transparency, he allowed them to ram it through Congress without allowing time for the actual bill to be read, and the public properly informed. This leads me to wonder: Who exactly is in charge up there? Obama showed no actual leadership despite urging us all to support “his” stimulus plan. Instead, he acted more like a salesman for Pelosi’s stimulus plan, steadily beating the drum of fear, like a snake-oil salesman warning us of impending death if we choose not to drink his tonic. When he isn’t taking cues from Pelosi/Reid, as in the case of choosing a cabinet, his executive decision-making leaves something to be desired. Without a puppeteer to pull the strings, the puppet just collapses. We’ll see if this trend becomes more of a definitive pattern.
2) The mastermind. President Obama is very much calling the shots with a clear intent on driving this country very far Left in a smoke-and-mirrors sort of way. He is able to put on a moderate face and talks a good centrist game, but his actions don’t match. Pelosi and Reid are enforcing his agenda, which is why they get no grief from the supposedly-centrist President when they put forth a Christmas tree of Left pet projects and massive spending labeled as stimulus. Their objective is to seize as much power as possible before the 2010 election with the hope of crushing conservatism. They pledge transparency but govern in secrecy, counting on the Left-friendly media not to call them on it. This would surely explain the stimulus package, the renewal of the fairness doctrine, the attempt to gain control of the census and all the redistricting and distribution of funds that goes along with it. They have a roadmap to Marxism and it requires the American people to be completely oblivious of their intentions as they transform us in baby steps rather than a Bolshevik-style revolution, stealth being the key. The hope being that by 2010 the wool will be sufficiently pulled down and the proper measures taken to guarantee power that they won’t have to worry about another GOP resurgence. This characterization of Obama certainly explains the affinity for Alinsky, his friendship with Ayers, his fellowship with Jeremiah Wright, his belief in a nanny state.
So which one is it? At this time that’s unclear. But so far I haven’t seen an alternative characterization. Unless, of course, we’re willing to believe that he has simply gotten in way over his head, is currently learning on the job, and at the moment has no idea what he’s doing. To be honest, I’m not sure which would be worse.