“Present”… and unaccounted for
During the 2008 campaign and continuing into President Obama’s embattled term as president, the Republicans and their media outlets have thrown the kitchen sink at the president with specious charges that are best summed up as “socialist, racist, Nazi, silver-tongued leftist neophyte who pals around with terrorists.” We can only sympathize with the president’s continuous war againt the three-headed monster of real world problems (the economy, the environment, wars and world turmoil), the party of no and the propaganda of Fox News.
However, one obscure criticism harped on by the right-wing media during the campaign revealed a flaw that has actually undermined Obama’s ability to be an effective leader.
Fox News loved to point out that when Obama was an Illinois state legislator he voted “present” an inordinate amount of times. The critque annoyed me; I assumed he was thoughtful and was not ready to vote on a particular draft of legislation.
However, we now know that President Obama seldom plays his hand until he senses which direction the wind of public opinion is blowing. One of the crasses examples was his recent “compromise” on the tax cut extension. Immediately after the agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts,
Obama stated that he felt he was dealing with “hostage takers.” But within twenty-four hours, after the polls showed public support for the deal, Obama lauded the bipartisan accomplishment.
With the pillars of our social safety net, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid under attack, the question is: can we count on a strong presidential presence in that ideological battle about the characer and future of our nation… or will he merely be present to sign the articles of surrender?
Apr 6 2011 - 3:56pm