When the American people go to the polls to elect their president, they are electing a person who they hope will bring people together and lead by getting out in front of important issues facing the United States. They look to their president as someone who will make their lives better and who can protect them against the country’s enemies. Further, whether voters realize it or not, another reality of a U.S. presidential election is that the rest of humanity relies on Americans to vote for a president who is capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of the leader of the Free World. In retrospect, with the election twice of President Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States, the American people have twice failed and failed miserably. His record tells the tale that time after time, by his usual and repeated practice of leading from behind, Obama has divided the nation and caused chaos among the people of the world in a way that history has never before witnessed.
Internationally, there is the genocide in Syria and the Russian crisis in the Ukraine. In addition, there is the growing strength of the radical terrorist organization, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has committed religious cleansing, there is the continuing chaos in Libya, the failing to come to the aid of the American Consulate in Benghazi and lukewarm support for Israel. While domestically, there is the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border, the IRS targeting scandal, serious negligence by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the domestic spying on U.S. persons and the CIA spying on the U.S. Senate. These are just some of the examples of the president’s track record of leading from behind. In the eyes of most observers, leading from behind is an oxymoron and exemplifies the president’s weakness and complete lack of leadership.
Obama’s campaign strategy should have served as a precursor to what would follow. His election modus-operandi was to immediately and effectively drive a wedge between those he identified as the poor to middle-class 99 percent, and the rich one percent. Logic and math would dictate that winning favor with the 99 percent by demonizing the one percent just about guarantees victory 100 percent of the time. The dynamics of the 2008 presidential election were complex, and having risen from his position as a Chicago community organizer to public office in the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama was no ordinary candidate. Nor was he without substantial controversy, the likes of which, as candidates whose misdeeds were not similarly overlooked or forgiven, would have dissuaded them from even considering a presidential run.
However, the persona of Barack Hussein Obama, from the origin of his name and the controversy about his birthplace, to his rise from the Chicago weeds to the Illinois State Senate is complex. While there were concerns about his sealed records, the character of his friends and associates, his pastor and religious beliefs and his radical leftist ideology, apparently these concerns held more complexities than were able to be sufficiently understood by anyone, including his own party.
At the time, the top two Democrat candidates running for the highest office in the land were Obama and Hillary Clinton. The party proved to be more comfortable with the concept of a black man than a white woman to represent them in the presidential race and so Obama won the party’s nomination. Somehow, during whatever vetting process that occurred, Democrats blindly ignored every Obama red flag, and the controversies were not enough to derail his candidacy or his nomination. In November 2008, the world observed America elect its first black president, and the fulfillment of his promise of Hope and Change was on its way. Immediately following was mind-numbing elation and celebration over what was once perceived to be a racial impossibility in a racist United States; the election of a black man as president.
The coinciding GOP experiment by presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), with his selection of virtually unknown Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, proved a failure. The Democrat strategy of divide and conquer, while using the race card at every hint of challenge by the GOP, was successful and the global community observed the consequences of political correctness at full throttle. The world witnessed American voters elect the first black man to serve in the Oval Office. Expectations for the long-awaited Hope and Change ran at nose-bleed altitudes. However, as the nation and the world are now experiencing, along with such high expectations comes the risk of extreme disappointment.
Since his election and re-election, President Obama’s record does not reflect a lack of initiative and there are plenty of examples of his assertiveness. Over the course of his presidency, he has put into place many proactive domestic and foreign policies and, much to the chagrin of the U.S. Congress, a growing list of executive orders. While these are all examples of being proactive and forward thinking, they do not necessarily represent the kind of leadership Americans expect from their president. Yet over the course of his presidency, Obama, as evidenced by his plummeting job approval, has seen his once eager, but steadily diminishing group of followers transformed into a disillusioned reluctant lot who, at least subconsciously, now find themselves desperately defending their vote.
This week a Wall Street Journal / NBC News poll disclosed 60 percent of Americans are fed up with the state of the American economy. Over 70 percent believe the United States is going in the wrong direction and approximately 80 percent are disillusioned about the country’s political mechanism. Pollsters were composed of both Democrats and Republicans.
In the president’s defense, however, he was initially hugely successful in persuading progressives and other groups into believing Disney-like fantasies such as his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare, and its companion lie / promise-of-the-year repeated ad nauseum, that if one likes their doctor; they can keep their doctor, “period.” His presidency though, is replete with lies, scandals, power grabs, and an unrelenting assault on the United States Constitution. The latter has already resulted in a United States Supreme Court ruling against him for his “recess appointment” abuse of power; and a pending lawsuit being brought against him by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) for overstepping presidential authority by unilaterally amending the Affordable Care Act and other actions constitutionally restricted to the Congress.
The vast majority of polls show that the American people, and likely the rest of the world, are no longer enamored with a president who was once imagined as a larger than life entity. The record of his presidency over the last six years, demonstrated by his lack of leadership skills, has proven to observers that the job of President of the United States and leader of the Free World is clearly far beyond him. About the only logical explanation for his re-election, especially amid the monumental Benghazi scandal, can only be the continued mass delusion that this enigma needs and deserves more time in a second term, the luxury of which America has learned too late that it cannot afford.
Interestingly, and perhaps even ironically, some observers view Obama’s tactic of divide and conquer, which he successfully employed to win the presidency, as possibly the precise cause for his failures and for finding himself in his usual posture of leading from behind. Notwithstanding the excuses and the blatant lack of scrutiny given to him by a fawning media that would ordinarily closely examine executive incompetence, corruption, and overreach of power, Obama has been provided every benefit of every doubt and been given opportunity after opportunity to prove himself worthy of the votes he won from his supporters.
Starkly obvious to any observer is Obama’s strength as a divisive force. Within the many opportunities the American people have given him, one might have been more forgiving had he demonstrated any ability whatsoever as a uniter. However, the president has repeatedly proven that he is an abject failure in this regard. Indeed, it is understood that winning a presidential election involves, to some extent, an adversarial environment within the parties and among the candidates. However, once the votes are in, a genuine leader has the ability to heal whatever wounds were opened and unite his party and all American people for the overall good of the country. Failing to accomplish this critical responsibility as a leader and then expect support from those that were alienated is just absurd. One might be forced to consider the possibility that Obama never intended to unite; that he understood the divide he represented would be too great and that the strength of his charm and charisma would be enough to obliterate any factions that dared to oppose him.
When policies are put into place that produce positive results for the good of the people, political nature has been known to take its course and support for the policy maker is won. However, making matters more difficult for the president is the unmitigated fact that his policies are just bad policies. He has also made some very bad appointment choices to serve in his Cabinet who have added to his woes, in particular, embattled Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Consequently, Obama’s lengthy record of failure and the growing perception that he is capable only of leading from behind, reveals inherent weakness that usually results in a lack of respect. The polls indicate that the American people may have decided that they have had enough of this failed socialist experiment. Americans have endured six plus years of a deteriorating economy, an obscene national debt and the continuing decline of American stature both abroad and from within its porous borders. Thus, perhaps in the next presidential election voters will set aside their obsession with being politically correct and vote instead with their conscience and common sense for the candidate who would best represent the interests of the American people and who is capable of restoring global respect for the United States of America. Staunch Obama supporters will cry foul with the tired and overused accusations of racism and dirty partisan politics while forever failing to hold him accountable for literally any of his actions. Rather, they dismiss completely the fact that Obama lacks the traits of a true leader; traits that are critical to overcome obstacles to leadership and are the necessary traits that bring people together.
Opinion by Mark Politi