Heck, the Presidential honeymoon has gotten so gushy that even a lot of conservatives have been writing mash notes to Obama of late because some of his cabinet picks aren't to the left of Michael Moore. Of course, the real question about his cabinet at this point is what's Dennis Kucinich doing these days? After all, since Obama seems to be trying to bring everybody who ran against him into his administration, he might as well create a Department of Peace for Kucinich to run, put Chris Dodd in charge of HUD, and hire John Edwards to be Bill Clinton's wingman at sorority parties. Speaking of the Clintons, with all the Clinton staffers Obama is hiring, you have to wonder how many of these people will ultimately be loyal to Hopey McChange and how many of them will secretly support Slick Willie and the Wicked Witch of New York? The first time something goes wrong overseas and either the Secretary of State or the President has to take the blame, the leaks will tell you where the staffers' loyalties really lie.
But, that brings us back to the crux of the matter: Barack Obama hasn't actually started governing yet. We have a rookie senator who's never made a tough decision in his adult life getting ready to enter the White House in what may be the toughest time to lead the country since Jimmy Carter was wrapping the country around a telephone poll.
The economy is now officially in the toilet and is likely to remain so for at least a year or two -- and the bailouts? They've just started and they're already unpopular. How is that corporate welfare on steroids going to look as more and more companies come to Congress with their begging bowls? How about when we're running trillion dollar deficits? What happens after the unemployment rate cracks 8%, large numbers of Americans are really worried about paying their bills, and they're reading about the latest round of hand-outs to companies? How can Obama possibly fulfill his campaign promises, many of which are staggeringly expensive, when the country is in a recession and the government is running record deficits? It's not a pretty picture.
We're also still in the midst of a global war on terror. In Iraq we're winning, but Obama has to finish the job or be "the President who lost the war." In Afghanistan, things aren't going as well, but Obama has promised to get us back on the right track. Plus, we can't forget that Al-Qaeda is looking to hit the homeland, Iran getting perilously close to a nuclear weapon, our ongoing negotiations to disarm North Korea -- and Obama's squawking, bratty liberal base that will demand we forego necessary security measures, get out of Iraq and Afghanistan ASAP, and oppose military action against foes of the United States -- while demanding we send the troops to places where no American interests are at stake.
Speaking of Obama's base, they may be quiet now, but they certainly will not remain so. They're looking at the size of the Democratic majority in Congress and expecting Obama to dramatically tilt the country to the left. Woe be unto him if he doesn't meet those expectations. Meanwhile, the Democrats who have to run in red states or districts will urge Obama to remain in the center, lest the party take a beating in 2010. Then there are the competing Democratic interest groups and the people who projected their own hopes and dreams onto Obama and now expect him to pay up. Remember the Obama supporter who famously said she was backing him because,
"I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car, I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, If I help him, he's gonna help me."
That's the problem with promising to be all things to all people in order to get elected: if you actually win that way, they expect you to pay up.
On January 20, 2009 -- Barack Obama is going to face an extraordinarily difficult situation that would test the most capable of Presidents. It's not quite a "I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy" spot, but it's going to be tougher than a Waffle House steak, particularly so for Obama because you can't vote "present" in the White House.
So, before we carve Barack Obama's face right there on Mt. Rushmore beside of Abe Lincoln, perhaps we should wait to see if he's as good at tackling this country's very real problems as he is at raising money, reading speeches off a teleprompter, and chucking his former friends and allies under the bus.
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