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Politics // Just Thoughts
Bob Jones

Obama Disappoints Many Supporters

If you came aboard with Barack Obama in 2008 and again in 2012, and find yourself disappointed and wishing he didn’t have two-and-a-half years to go in the White House, join the burgeoning crowd.

It’s nothing to do with Obamacare or those problems with veterans care or Benghazi.

It’s about his wobbly foreign policy and that he seems to sometimes run the country like a passenger in one of those new driverless Google cars.

I sense his presidency will not go down in history for much except being our first black leader.

The words “colossal failure” and “complete failure” are showing up more and more on national and international blogs.

We can’t even applaud Obamacare because we don’t know how it will pan out in cost and ability to dampen runaway medical care bills.

Yes, he steered us successfully out of that horrible recession, but will anyone other than economists care?

His legacy will be haunted by his unfortunate statement of “leading from behind” in the Libya revolution, by the failure of the Arab Spring in Egypt, the failure to dislodge Assad in Syria, and then the Russian intervention in Ukraine.

I think I understand what happened. Domestically, he just wasn’t the kind of person to break a few arms and legs in Congress to get things done. He wanted amity. But when you’re dealing with surly politicians who are mainly out to smother you, a few broken arms and legs are what you hand out. Sort of like a crime boss protecting his territory and demanding loyalty. American policy-making isn’t about being nice.

In foreign policy, he wanted to be done with American boots on the ground. We are tired of war and death. But it seems that if you back off from threatening war and death, you get challenged by bad people not afraid of threatening war and death.

There was a great clue in a Jan. 27, 2014, article in the New Yorker by journalist David Remnick, who had traveled with Obama, and at one point Obama said to him (I paraphrase): “I wish I could be like you and sit back and just observe things.”

I think he’s an observer by nature, not an aggressive front-liner. A good law professor parsing the fine points but probably a lousy prosecutor or defense attorney doing life-and-death cases. I don’t see him ripping into a courtroom opponent and going for the jugular.

Some of you will say, “Well, that’s good. We’re tired of going for the jugular.” But that’s the reality of both domestic politics and foreign policy. Good guys tend to finish last in those arenas.

I’m reminded of Harry “The Gentle Haberdasher” Truman. People said he was a wuss. Then he dropped the A-bombs on Japan, fired popular Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and passed the 22nd Amendment limiting a president to two terms, plus the Taft-Hartley Act restricting the activities and power of labor unions.

He wasn’t a wuss any more.

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