Friday, June 12, 2009

A Little More Audacity, Mr. President

I had a Keith Olbermann WTF moment when I saw President Barack Obama on NBC shilling for that network's Conan O'Brien show and several nights later making a cameo appearance on the Colbert comedy program.

The Man is omnipresent on every news medium on the planet. All right, Mr. President, we get it. Enough's enough. When liberal comic Bill Maher complains about Obama's overexposure on television, you know the guy has crossed the line. "I'm still a fan, but there's a fine line between being transparent and being overexposed," Maher writes in an op-ed column in today's Los Angeles Times. "Every time you turn on the TV, there's Obama. He's getting a puppy! He's eating a cheeseburger with Joe Biden! He's taking the wife to Broadway and Paris -- this is the best season of "The Bachelor" yet!"

I too am an Obama fan and as Maher believe it's time for the president stop worrying about his popularity and reelection and start taking decisive stands on the pressing issues, most of which he and his White House cronies continually blame on the Bush administration. Writes Maher:

I mean, selling the personal part to stay popular, I'm all for it, but you got us already. We like you, we really like you! You're skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady. But so's Lindsay Lohan. And like Lohan, we see your name in the paper a lot, but we're kind of wondering when you're actually going to do something.

I know that's harsh. But when I read about how you sat on the sidelines while bailed-out banks used the money we gave them to hire lobbyists who got Congress to stop homeowners from getting renegotiated loans, or how Congress is already giving up on healthcare reform, or how scientists say it's essential to reduce CO2 by 40% in 10 years, but your own bill calls for 4%, I say, enough with the character development, let's get on with the plot...

I never thought I'd say this, but he needs to be more like George W. Bush. Bush was all about, "You're with us or against us." Obama's more like, "You're either with us, or you obviously need to see another picture of this adorable puppy!"

Patience is also wearing thin among Obama allies for his penchant of blaming Bush even though it is the flat out truth. It's become a case of overkill as Peter Baker discusses in a column in today's New York Times.

“The financial crisis this administration inherited is still creating painful challenges for businesses and families alike,” Mr. Obama said this week as he proposed spending limits. “We inherited a financial crisis unlike any that we’ve seen in our time,” he said last week as he thrust General Motors into bankruptcy. His advisers and allies follow the same script. “The Obama administration inherited a situation at Guantánamo that was intolerable,” James L. Jones, the national security adviser, said of the military prison in Cuba. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the Obama foreign policy in the same vein. “We inherited a lot of problems,” she said.

Baker rightfully argues that Obama needs to fess up and take ownership of many of these problems that now smacks with his imprint even though he has been in office five months and it may take years to solve them. Among them is the cause and effect of the stimulus package, adding 21,000 troops to Afghanistan and firing its top general and insisting Israel stop expanding its settlements on the West Bank.

Baker offers some telling quotes from David Axelrod, the president's senior advisor:

“Whatever problems he inherited walking in the door, they’re his responsibility now,” Mr. Axelrod said. “Nobody’s trying to duck responsibility or make excuses for them. But it is important at times to put it into perspective, not to fix blame but to underscore that some of these problems are complex and they’re going to take time to solve.”

Taking notice of Baker's comments were these offered by Ben Pershing of The Washington Post who predicted the political ramifications of taking full responsibility:

To start, his poll numbers may drop. On some issues, they already have. It was widely noted a Gallup survey showed a measurable uptick in the percentage of respondents who disapproved of Obama's economic policies. And a new Gallup poll shows 55 percent of Americans disapprove of current U.S. policy toward GM. Numbers like that will affect Obama, regardless of whether it was him or President Bush who started the country on the path of bailing out auto companies.

Even though Obama's popularity remains around 60% (90% from Democrats) he essentially has only the remaining months of this year before his political capital is spent. In 2010 the congressional and governors races will focus on results and failures perceived by the voters over the Obama administrations policies.

I'll defer to Bill Maher for closing arguments.

"I'm glad that Obama is president, but the "Audacity of Hope" part is over. Right now, I'm hoping for a little more audacity."

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