Friday, January 29, 2010
All Obama, All the Time
By Alan Caruba
We are back to the Obama administration’s original theory of governance, “All Obama, all the time.” Having basked on the spotlight during his rather long State of the Union Speech, Obama addressed the Baltimore conference of Republican members of Congress with yet another familiar excuse, it’s all George W. Bush’s fault.
In one year in office he has learned nothing or, if he has, the lessons have been dismissed as irrelevant to his mission of “transforming” a nation that is far more focused on just surviving the worst Recession/Depression since the 1930s.
Obama seems mystified that, with the greatest majority in Congress in decades, he is unable to get Democrats to coalesce behind his major initiatives such as healthcare “reform.” Republicans wisely decided to avoid being a part of this debacle and have since been labeled “the Party of no.” Sometimes, the right answer is no.
In other parts of the world, our system of government is baffling, particularly for the way it deliberately slows the passage of various legislative proposals. Writing recently in El Mundo, a leading newspaper in Spain, Prof. Rafael Navarro-Valls, said, “The problem, it seems to me, is that we should first consider the very system of power in America. When speaking of the U.S. President as the most powerful man in the world, one forgets the rules of the political circus in which he functions.”
“America produced a political system that is burdened and slowed down by a game of opposing powers,” said Navorro-Valls, who noted that this was intentional on the part of the Founding Fathers who had “fears of kings and tyrants.”
If Obama is unable to lead his own party when it had a lock on political power in Congress, his ability to do so for the rest of the nation is indeed in question and Navorro-Valls noted that “reality is relentless when we come down from the blue sky of promises to the vulgar world of facts, so the gap between what was offered and the reality concerns the electorate.”
The power of the American electorate was seen most recently in Massachusetts, in Virginia, and in New Jersey. It will be seen again in November.
Around the world, America is watched closely and what happens here is news everywhere else. This is particularly true in the Middle East when America, following 9/11, invaded Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban and al Qaeda, and then invaded Iraq to remove a regional destabilizing figure, Saddam Hussein. And, of course, America has long been an ally of Israel through several wars perpetrated against it by Arab nations and, lately, the Iranian proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Writing in The Jordan Times, Hasan Abu Nimah took a look at “The Arabs and Obama after a year.” The Arab fixation on the “Arab-Israeli conflict” remains the obstacle to any rational resolution; it is now past sixty years since Israel became a reconstituted sovereign nation and, with the exception of Jordan and Egypt, none of the 22 Arab states with their 360 million people, have been willing to accept that fact.
Nimah bluntly said that “Until the Arabs take control of their own destiny, they will continue to wait and hope in vain that rescue will come, if not from Obama’s promises, then from someone else’s.” None of them want that someone else to be Osama bin Ladin.
The answer, of course, is to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to seek peace with it. That is not likely to happen. Nimah wrote, “The Arabs expected that with Obama in office they would see the beginning of the end of the occupation of their land.” Israel is not an occupier. Its claim to the Holy Land predates both Christianity and Islam by thousands of years.
Georgiy Bovt, writing in Izvestia, the Russian newspaper, also took a look at Obama’s first year. Suffice it to say he tore into the young President, along with the “reset” message he tried to send Russia and the rest of the world. Bovt said, “While Obama practiced conciliatory gestures, the camps of al Qaeda prepared and continues to prepare for future attacks.” He ripped the political correctness that leaves America vulnerable.
“How many more of these ‘resets' will this pillar of modern political correctness be able to withstand, with the assertion that terrorism has no nationality, nor religious affiliation?” asked Bovt. Good question!
The Russian analyst concluded saying, “We hope that he doesn’t fall quickly and disgracefully.”
Reading from the newspapers around the world, the message is the same, a distinct sense of disappointment and apprehension regarding Obama’s first year. They are not alone. If the polls are any indication—and they are—approval of Obama’s performance in office is dropping rapidly.
All Obama, all the time is not the answer. It is the problem.