"My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery." -- Sarah Palin
Since he has been elected, Barack Obama has been like a four year old wearing water wings and desperately trying to reach the edge of the pool. In other words, he has been completely out of his depth. Who could have known that giving soaring speeches about "hope" and "change" while voting "present" on the tough issues wouldn't be enough preparation for the most important job on Planet Earth -- oh wait, millions of Americans knew that and pointed it out at every opportunity. Unfortunately, the media was too busy obsessing over Sarah Palin's wardrobe and parody songs on the Rush Limbaugh show to actually consider whether or not a man whose biggest accomplishment was winning a Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton was qualified to be President.
Of course, we can debate Obama's ideological decisions all day. Does the country need socialized medicine? Should he have pursued that staggeringly expensive stimulus program? Has he been applying enough pressure on Iran? The answers to those questions are no, no, and no -- but, there's a more important question we need to consider: does Barack Obama know what he's doing?
Early on, the Obama Administration made a lot of foolish mistakes. Obama selected numerous tax cheats for his Cabinet. They gave the Russians a button that was supposed to say "reset"-- but that actually said "overcharge." They gave our best allies, the Brits, 25 DVDs of American movie classics -- that were not only wildly inappropriate, but wouldn't even play in their DVD players. Unfortunately, those early gaffes have not only continued; they've begun to have more serious policy implications.
1) What are we trying to do in Honduras? After Fidel Castro wannabe, Manuel Zelaya, started trying to engineer a rigged vote to overthrow democracy in Honduras, the rest of the government there sprang into action and bounced him right out of the country. Bizarrely, the Obama Administration sided with Zelaya and against democracy in that nation. Eventually, by making it known that they wouldn't recognize the results of a new election, the Obama Administration seemed to have Honduras right where they wanted them: they appeared to be on the brink of putting Zelaya back in power. Puzzlingly, the Obama Administration then switched course on a dime and made it known that they'd accept the results of the election whether Zelaya was back in charge or not. In light of the change in American policy, Honduras went ahead with their elections without giving power back to Zelaya. There was no explanation for the Obama Administration's original position, beyond catering to leftist thugs like Hugo Chavez, and no explanation of their radical shift at the last minute. If you can figure out what they were trying to accomplish, you should tell Obama. He's probably still trying to figure it out.
2) Russia's missile defense date dupe: It's bad enough that Barack Obama, in a display of cowardice that would make Neville Chamberlain wretch, unhesitatingly tossed the Poles and Czechs over-the-side on missile defense in an effort to appease Russia. Keep in mind that when we first went into Iraq, Poland was one of only three other nations to actually put their troops in harm's way to help us. Their repayment for that act of friendship and loyalty? We pulled back from building missile defense in their nation and made the announcement on the 70th anniversary of Poland's invasion by Russia in return for...well, nobody seems to know. There was an unmistakable message that Russia wanted to send to the small Western European nations on its borders by making the announcement on that date: It was, "America can't help you now. Russia owns you." Their message was sent with Obama's help as once again, he was played for a fool. Since then, Obama has backpeddled in an effort to fix the damage his bungling caused in the first place. It's almost as if Obama has no coherent strategy, no idea what he's doing, and is so far over his head that he doesn't know which way is up. But, it couldn't be that because if it were, Chris Matthews and the New York Times would be talking about it on a daily basis -- right?
3) Putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial in New York: No one seems to be able to give a coherent explanation for the decision making process behind this. Other terrorists are being put on trial at military tribunals, so why not Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? Why put someone through the American system of justice when both the President and Attorney General are publicly assuring everyone that no matter what happens, he can't be found innocent and released? You think putting KSM in front of a military tribunal, where at least, theoretically he could be found innocent looks bad? Well now, we're risking intelligence secrets getting out, increasing the risk of a terrorist attack on New York, and making it possible KSM might be acquitted on a technicality for a hearing that makes the greatest system of justice in the world look like a show trial cooked up by North Korea.
4) Cash for Clunkers: In a nutshell, the Cash for Clunkers program involved borrowing billions from the Chinese to incentivize Americans to destroy their working cars in order to buy brand new foreign cars. Although it's debatable how accurate their data is, according to the Department of Transportation, 4 out of the top 5 models bought in the program were made by foreign car companies. Moreover, after the program ended, predictably, the sales of new cars dropped considerably because the program didn't create new demand so much as cause people to buy a few months earlier than they would have anyway. In other words, not only did the program fritter away 3 billion dollars in borrowed money, it led to the destruction of more than a quarter-of-a-million functional cars that were bought and paid for by the government and could have been given to the poor or charity. The Obama Administration's reaction to this debacle? They want to create a cash for appliances program. Will they ever, ever, ever learn anything?
5) Why all the bowing? Most Americans find the idea that they should bow to another person offensive and they find it even more galling when their President does it. It's almost an insult by proxy. If even your leader is willing to admit he's inferior, what does it say about you? Obama seemed to realize this mistake, albeit after the fact, when he bowed to the Saudi King. Weirdly, even though many Americans actually saw Obama bow on video, the White House simply denied that it happened. How much audacity do you need to lie about something that tens of millions of Americans have seen with their own eyes? Even after that experience, Obama went on, in a grotesque, servile fashion to bow to both the Emperor of Japan and the Chinese Prime Minister. It was a pointless, humiliating display that quite frankly, made many Americans embarrassed for him as a man and slightly ashamed that we have such a weakling in the White House.