Tuesday, July 29, 2014
A Perspective on Issues of our Time July 28, 2014
By Bill Neinast
The next few words will make some turn purple with rage and frustration. They need, however, to face the facts. Those facts are that Barack Obama is the second most outstanding president of our history.
Consider the daily news, for example. The front page of newspapers distributed throughout the country will have a picture of the President standing out in a field three or four days every week. He will be in the field in front of a carefully selected group of admirers hawking money for other class warriors.
Now doesn’t standing out in fields most days of the week make him an outstanding President?
Obama’s supporters, apologists, and assorted sycophants are now frothing at the mouth to point out, “every president does it!”
Unfortunately, that is true. Bill Clinton, however, is the only one to have racked up more standing out occasions than Obama. George W. Bush, Obama’s favorite scape goat, comes in substantially below our current outstanding President.
Here are the figures. In the first six and a half months of this year, Obama has made 72 fund raising trips out of Washington, D.C. In the comparable period for the second year of his second term, Bush made only 45 such trips. For the first six months of 2011, Obama was out standing in the fields 86 times while Bush made only 31 appearances in the comparable period of his first term.
So what, the apologists will ask. The President is in constant contact with his advisors and staff and can make decisions just as easily on Air Force One as he can in the Oval Office.
But can he? There are more than the usual number of crises facing the nation today. The immigrant flood, stagnant employment, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Russian/Ukraine affair, Iran’s nuclear program, the VA mess, the creation of a Muslim Caliphate haven for terrorists in Syria/Iraq thats frightens even al Qaeda, and China’s expansion ambitions are just a few of the serious domestic and foreign problems facing us today.
Obama’s answer to all is to go, stand out in the fields and excoriate Republicans for tying his hands and keeping him from taking care of these problems in his usual rapid fire method (in his own mind) of making decisions.
Until recently, Obama claimed it was all his predecessor’s fault. Now it’s the Republican controlled House of Representatives that just refuses to cooperate and give him everything he wants
Blaming the House of Representatives for problems not being addressed, however, is built on quick sand. Thursday, Alabama Representative Bradley Byrne called the President’s hand on this assertion.
Byrne asserts that the Democrat controlled Senate is the problem, not the House. He said, “some 300 House-passed bills – including at least 40 ‘job-creating’ measures – are languishing in the Senate. The House also has passed seven of 12 spending bills, while the Senate has not passed one.”
Maybe it would help if Obama took Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, to the wood shed and told him to move some legislation and began excoriating the Democrat controlled Senate as the road block.
Then there is the excuse that the President can run the country as easily from Air Force One as from the Oval Office. Really? Is a conference by telephone or Skype as effective as one with everyone \sitting around a conference table and eye balling the body language and nuances of all participants?
Finally, Obama’s repeated claims that all the hard to solve problems were created by either George W. Bush or are the fault of Congress not bowing to his “my way or the high way” approach. His criticism that the Republicans will not compromise on anything sounds rather hollow when there is no indication that he ever held out an olive branch of compromise on his demands.
So here’s the perspective.
Obama could reverse the downward spiral of his approval rating if he would quit being such an outstanding president. He should brush up on the history of two of his predecessors, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
Johnson commented frequently that politics is the art of compromise, and he was a master of that art. He got his civil rights legislation only with the support of the Republican members of Congress, not from his own Democrat colleagues. Likewise, Ronald Reagan spent the end of many work days having a drink with Tip O’Neal, the Democrat Speaker of the House.
Imagine what might happen if Obama were to hang around the White House a bit more. He could have breakfast every morning with his intelligence and security personnel. Then, at mid day, have a long, leisurely lunch with the leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress to discuss the nation’s problems.
Maybe, just maybe, if he would get off his my way or the high way kick, and make initial requests a little larger than he really needed or wanted so he could offer to “compromise down” to the real desired base, there could be a break in the grid lock.
On second thought, maybe Obama should be referred to as a stand out instead of outstanding. That should turn the purple faces back to normal.