I was perusing the news this morning. On Saturday’s I like to read Peggy Noonan’s column. Sometimes I agree with her, and sometimes I don’t. Today I agreed with her until the end. Here is how she finished her column.
This is all so dire and critical that I will swerve and end with three things I’ve admired about the president since he entered the White House.
The first is that he has an intact, multigenerational family, a wife and kids and mother-in-law all living together in that big house. This is no doubt a source of strength for him, but it’s also moving and impressive to see in a country ravaged by family breakup and fatherless—and sometimes motherless—children. It is a needed example. As nothing human stays intact without great effort, all credit to him, and them.
The second is that he isn’t mean. His staffers do snark and push-back, but they don’t do targeted abuse, they don’t seem to try to take down foes in a personal way, as administrations before them have. Credit goes to the president because it’s always the boss who sets the tone.
The third has been a relative absence of deep political scandal. It’s been good not to have a Watergate, a Whitewater. But there are signs this week that could change with the Solyndra loan scandal. The White House apparently tried to rush almost half a billion dollars of taxpayer loans to a solar panel manufacturer that later went belly up and took a thousand jobs with it. The reason for the rush: The awarding of the loan would make good PR. This looks bad, and if it’s true, heads should quickly roll. It’s one thing to be branded as “out of your depth but not corrupt,” quite another when it’s “out of your depth and corrupt.” That is much worse.
I disagree with her. As regular readers of this blog know, Obama and his administration are a frequent pin cushion for barbs. However, few things are 100% bad, and Obama is one of them. There are some things that I actually admire in Obama-I’ll list them later after using Ms. Noonan as a pincushion.
Isn’t her first statement about an intact family sort of racist? It’s similar to pundits saying, “he speaks well” back in 2007. Are expectations in America so low that we don’t strive to have an intact family? Shouldn’t we at least set expectations there so that our standards are there? Especially given all the stats on how damaging one parent families, and the difficulties encountered by out of wedlock children. I would agree it would be tough to live in any house with your mother in law-no slight to my mother in law intended. (She reads this blog!)
I disagree with her second statement too. I think Obama when he gets rolling is mean. Mean like Richard Nixon was mean. He isolates enemies and really goes after them. Think about his rhetoric on wealthy people, banks, corporations. Obama attacks them like a junkyard bulldog. He grabs hold and won’t let go. Additionally, when his minions use terrible rhetoric to attack the same constituency, he fails to call them out on it. I honestly don’t think that you achieve the highest office in the land without having some sort of mean streak. Presidents like Kennedy and Reagan could hide it really well because they had such an easy sense of humor about themselves. Obama doesn’t.
Noonan must have missed the current reporting on Solyndra. But how could she miss the gun running scandal? These are real abuses of power. The crony capitalism that Obama has practiced ardently is less of a scandal and just more evidence of why we need smaller less invasive government.
So what do I admire about Obama? The first thing you have to admire is the fact that he is the first black President of the United States. I won’t say it’s refreshing-but to me it puts to rest the race card. Too often I hear that there is a glass ceiling because of racism. Toss that excuse out the window.
The only thing holding anyone in the US back is themselves and accepting responsibility for their actions. No one is pushing the needle into their arms. No one is telling them to have children out of wedlock. No one is forcing them to pull triggers and gang bang on the streets. No one is telling them to drop out of school.
The same could be said for any ethnic group that has a historically poor record of achievement. Far too often in many communities today rural white kids are engaging in similar destructive behaviors that inner city kids do. They are responsible for themselves and no amount of government help can save them from themselves. It’s on them.
The second thing you have to admire about Obama is that he has exposed government for what it really is. Being as far left as he is, he has stimulated people that previously were not involved in the government process. The Tea Party couldn’t have happened without Obama. Millions of people that sat on the sidelines are engaged. In reality, I think the Tea Party probably had a natural home within the old Scoop Jackson Democratic Party. However, the Democratic party of today is simply a big government/pro government union party. The only issue that gives it attraction to many voters is their stand on abortion. Absent that, those voters would go Republican. Hopefully the Tea Party can remake the Republican Party.
Noonan was absolutely correct about one over riding theme of the Obama Presidency. He is an abject failure as a leader. Leadership classes around the world could write a textbook on the failure of leadership in this administration. It’s a polar opposite of the kind of leadership taught from studying the Missiles of October during the Kennedy administration. Kennedy blew the Bay of Pigs, but learned. Obama blew the economy, and didn’t learn. He isn’t the pragmatic, Socratic President many in the nation thought they were voting for.