Obama's buck-stopping goes only so far

Discussion in 'Politics' started by drjekyllus, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. WASHINGTON – He says "the buck stops with me," but nearly a year into office, President Barack Obama is still blaming a lot of the nation's troubles — the economy, terrorism, health care — on George W. Bush.

    Over and over, Obama keeps reminding Americans of the mess he inherited and all he's doing to fix it. A sharper, give-me-some-credit tone has emerged in his language as he bemoans people's fleeting memory about what life was like way back in 2008, particularly on the economy.

    "Yes, we can"?

    Try "Yes, I have."

    While candid about what he called his team's "screw-up" in the botched Christmas airliner attack, Obama has made a point of underlining all the good he believes his government has done, too.

    "Our progress has been unmistakable," Obama said as the new year began. "We've disrupted terrorist financing, cutting off recruiting chains, inflicted major losses on al-Qaida's leadership, thwarted plots here in the United States and saved countless American lives."

    Yet every time Obama tries to offer a dose of perspective like that, he faces the reality that people live in the moment.

    On terrorism, Americans are less concerned about quiet successes than troubling failures, especially one that evoked harrowing memories of Sept. 11, 2001.

    On the economy, people prefer good news now, not updates on how things are gradually getting less bad.

    The way Obama sees it, the problems he took on — recession, war, health care, a warming planet — were always too huge and complicated to fix that fast.

    So he emphasizes progress by taking people back to where he began.

    Which means taking them back to Bush.

    "I don't need to remind any of you about the situation we found ourselves in at the beginning of this year," Obama told people at a Home Depot stop last month. And then he reminded them anyway, detailing a nation in financial free fall when he took office.

    The economy now is both groaning and growing.

    Gloomy employers just slashed another 85,000 jobs in December, but Obama rarely misses a chance, as he did again Friday, to remind people that, hey, remember the job erosion at the start of the year? About 700,000 a month.

    That is true, but it doesn't matter much to the man or woman who is out of work, a point Obama concedes.

    He's not just trying to give people context. He's trying to shore up his standing and his party's, hoping voters will let it all sink in during this big congressional election year.

    An overwhelming majority of people say 2009 was a bad year for the country, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll. As Democrats head toward midterm elections trying to hang onto control of the House and Senate, half of Americans still think the country is headed in the wrong direction.

    Obama needs to show that he gets results. And so he describes a year of overlooked achievement since his predecessor left town, addressing a range of problems: hate crimes, tobacco advertisements toward children, pay disparities for women, abuses by credit card companies and many more.

    In other words, change from Bush.

    Except for when Obama sounds just like Bush with tough words for the enemy.

    "We are destroying training camps, disrupting communications and dismantling air defenses," Bush said of the mission in Afghanistan in November 2001.

    Said Obama this week of terrorists seeking to kill Americans: "We are determined not only to thwart those plans but to disrupt, dismantle and defeat their networks once and for all."

    When Obama got heat for his government's decision to try the Sept. 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in a civilian court, he defended it by saying the justice system has handled other recent terror suspects just fine. He spoke of examples during Bush's administration. "We've done this before," he said.

    Even when Obama achieves what he wants, the public doesn't always seem to share the feeling of success.

    He may be close to signing what could be the one of the biggest domestic laws in decades, an overhaul of health coverage in America. The House and Senate have passed separate versions and are trying to give Obama a bill to sign within weeks. But the nasty, noisy partisan fights have left many people soured and confused.

    "I suspect he's just trying as best he can to give people a sense that what they've been experiencing, seeing and reading is not an accurate portrayal of what's actually gotten done," said Norman Ornstein, a politics scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Obama has openly wondered how some of his work is forgotten so fast.

    "I think we have been successful in averting disaster," Obama said on Dec. 16 about righting the economy. "You know, you don't get a lot of credit for that, because nobody knows how bad it could have been."

    On this front, Obama often chides the media for what he sees as accentuating the negative and minimizing progress. As on Dec. 4 when Obama mocked the press for saying he had pivoted back from health care to jobs. He insisted that every day is about jobs. "Folks' attention spans are short," he said.

    Not everyone's. Nearly 15.3 million people are unemployed, an increase of 3.9 million during 2009, and a lot of Americans seem aware that that problem is far from over.

    A Gallup Poll near the end of the year found 25 percent of people — just one in four — feeling satisfied with how things were going in the United States.

    "The president himself, not surprisingly, may feel quite satisfied with accomplishments in his first year," said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll. "But we don't see signs that the American public is positive."
  2. If only John McCain and Sarah Palin had been elected...then all of the mess left by Bush would have magically vanished in a year...

  3. The left is reduced to making bogus arguments like this.

    The bottomline is Obama wanted the job. If he wasn't up to the job, he shouldn't have run. Just face it, for most of 2007 and all of 2008 we heard how great Obama was. The media ran countless stories claiming that Obama's shit smelled like fresh roses.
  4. Oh, John McCain and Sarah Palin would have saved us, for sure...

    Woe is us that we got Obama, oh the horror...

  5. No genuine "credit" is deserved. Had Bush been in office, there would have been another round of stimulus/backstopping... then another then another until the market did exactly what it has done.

    In either case the "can has been kicked down the road" is all.
  6. It goes without saying that he is he one that is responsible yet he says it anyway.
  7. There is no worse reason any leader can make than to continually blame someone else, and in this case, especially someone who is no longer present.

    The message he sends is that he is not capable of solving any of the issues and challenges he faces. His only ability is an ability to see problems after they've popped up and then say, "wasn't me".

    For a guy who built his campaign on anti Bush, blaming Bush is doing nothing but highlighting his failure to change and fix the anti Bush crapola he sold his circus on.

    It's amazing that no one in his administration recognizes that. But then again this is an administration who has the fewest percentage of people (8%) since 1900 of having any real world experience...which reminds of this great quote, "the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so."

    It's as if our country is being run by teenagers who've lost their Ritalin.
  8. Dude, YOU got us into this mess with your Bush vote. it's all on your shoulders :mad:
  9. I wonder if one day, you guys will realize just how pathetic all of these hysterical character assassination posts really are. I mean, come on. We've just come off 8 years of being led by a guy who is acknowledged by both sides as probably the worst President in the history of the office, a guy who spent the majority of his time on vacation, when he wasn't busy involving the US in their most disastrous military debacle since Vietnam. Obama has had a decent track record; not great but not terrible, and he's been lauded by (non-hysterical) members of the right for his commitment to Afghanistan. He reversed the idiotic ban on stem cell research. He's going to effect long-needed change in health care. Just his presence has gone a long way towards mending America's shattered image abroad.

    He should have fired a bunch of people over this failure of intelligence on Xmas day. Had he done that, he would have distinguished himself from the political creatures he professes to despise.

    In any case, you guys need to get a life, man. Seriously. You should be worrying about who in the fuck you have in the stable to run against him in '12. Who's it going to be? Sarah Palin, the only profile Republican who is possibly less intelligent than George Bush?
  10. +1 :cool:
    #10     Jan 9, 2010