August, 2011

Top of This issue Current issue

Down With Obama

by Bruce Clark

How could I say that? Have I converted to raging conservatism? Have I joined the Republican party? No, none of the above. I’m still the same unquantifiable radical centrist working class anarcho-syndicalist small-d democratic small-l libertarian (before the term was hijacked by the right) person I've been for a long time now. Nevertheless, Obama should still become the first one-term black president in American history.

I don’t say that because he is black. That has nothing to do with it. The fact he is black and became president is his one redeeming feature. That is also part of why I strongly disapprove of him. I always envisioned that this country’s first black president would be someone of such outstanding qualifications, warmth, dynamism, experience, charm and power, because of all that he had to overcome to get into that position, that he (or she) would be someone of heroic proportions. How disappointed I was when he was selected as the candidate of the Democratic Party!

Obama is really a cipher. I don’t mean that in the same sense that “W” was a cipher. Obama at least has high formal intelligence and an excellent command of the language. However, other than academic and local activist credentials, there is nothing about him that earned him the position of senator, never mind president. He got there by being skillful at politics and by the fact that he allowed himself to be raised up as a symbol of African-Americans. I’m sorry, but being half African and half American does not make one an African-American, not with the connotation the term has in this country.

Some folks think that Obama’s experience living in various parts of the world gives him breadth and an ability to see things from the point of view of others. While that is a good ability to have, it not a good substitute for not knowing how life and history is for Americans. Remember, he was elected as president of this country, not of the rest of the world. More on this later.

Obama’s handling of this latest budget war continues to demonstrate his attitude from his handling of earlier problems in the criminally-caused recession/depression the country is still facing. He has no stomach for a fight! One often must compromise when one cannot win. However, Obama enters the fray by announcing that he wants to compromise. What the hell kind of an attitude is that? Put that before any union negotiator and see what that person has to say about it. Part of “having the stomach for a fight” has to do with having a set of principles that one wants to fight for. Unfortunately, President Obama doesn’t seem to have any. There seems to be nothing that he will not give away. Unfortunately, he has never taken sides. At least “W” did that, even though he is substantially non compos mentis.

The following won’t be a surprise to readers who have seen my previous contributions to this forum over the last fifteen (has it been that long?) years, but it’s my opinion that the main thing that defines the United States is the Bill of Rights. That was what had to be written (or at least promised) before the states would ratify the Constitution of this country — no Bill or Rights, no United States! That also comprises the beacon whose light attracts people from around the globe. There are numerous democracies around the world, but no others with our same Bill of Rights. Part of the Bill of Rights is the Second Amendment, the existence of which gives us the ability to protect the rest of the Bill of Rights. Supporting the Bill of Rights — all of it! — is part of what defines an American.

It is unfortunately true that many people in this country carry what are essentially European ideals that do not support the full flowering of the Second Amendment. (I went to a gun show a few months ago, and I was thrilled to hear so many foreign languages spoken — immigrants intent on exercising their new American liberties, ones that they did not have wherever they came from.) Many people in this country seem to subscribe to the European concept that people only have the rights that the government deigns to bestow upon them, rather than the idea that people have rights that upon which the government cannot infringe.

Obama definitely has that outlook, perhaps from his time in the former Dutch colony of Indonesia, I don’t know. His administration is currently involved with and supporting a proposed United Nations treaty on arms control that would limit civilian ownership of firearms. (Many Americans don’t realize it, but treaties entered into and ratified overturn all American law, including fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, that might be contrary to the treaty!) Obama is using this as a back-door method of circumventing the Second Amendment. Fortunately, we have organizations like the National Rifle Association that are standing up for American liberties over U. N. treaties. That carries weight: As of July 22, 51 members — a majority — of the U.S. Senate have signed letters to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton saying they will oppose any Arms Trade Treaty that includes civilian firearms ownership.

The forgoing is included strictly as an indicator of why Obama is not ideologically fit to be the president of the United States. (By the same logic, neither was Bill Clinton. JFK was an NRA life member. So was presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey.) That’s part of the reason I didn’t vote for Obama in the first place. (No, I didn’t vote for the Republican, I wrote in the name of New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. He is just as smart and at least as qualified as Obama and he is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. He has a concealed carry permit for a firearm and exercises it!)

I hope that the Democrats wake up to the fact that Obama is a dud, and if he is put up as the candidate of the party in the next presidential election, he is a candidate for defeat. The political polarization is in this country is ridiculous. That is standing in the way of rational political thinking among the voters. However, if the Democrats hope to make long-term gains, they are gong to have to make some fundamental shifts in their thinking. They are going to have to refuse to stand on the ceremony that the incumbent gets an automatic pass to be a candidate for a second term. The Democrats should consider that Obama is not only a loser, but that he is, for many Americans (and not just the hard-core political right), but a bum! The opportunities of the Democratic Party will stand or fall upon whether they have a set of principles, different from the Republicans, that they are willing to fight for. Obama is no FDR; he is no Harry Truman (with Obama, the buck doesn’t stop); he is no LBJ, who had the capability and the will to fight for what he thought the country needed; he isn’t even a Jimmy Carter, who at least showed that he had a heart.

The group of politicians who are both qualified and inspiring enough to be good presidents is vanishingly small. I wish the Democrats luck. But whoever is their choice, Obama is the wrong one.