This is the first of an occasional series of what I am calling "Obama's America."
While the political elite are focused on the Republican primary fight, the rest of America is focused on looking for (or keeping) a job; hoping the kids are actually learning something at school; despairing over, while staring at, their evaporating retirement accounts; and wondering, while they watch geniuses like me verbally spar with other geniuses on cable talk shows who, if anyone is actually watching the store.
I started thinking about this while contemplating the Was-Bain-Capital-The-Bane-Of-The-American-Economy action in South Carolina. Mitt Romney is a big boy and has a good campaign. They opened the door to the attacks by Newt Gingrich by attacking Gingrich in Iowa.
The world, to torture what Lincoln once wrote, will little note, nor long remember what they say about each other there, but we should start taking close notes of what our political leaders are doing in and to America.
Like it or not, Barack Obama is President of the United States. And, by that I mean, whether he likes is or not; or whether we like it or not.
One week from today will mark the fourth anniversary of Barrack Obama's inauguration. He, as all new Presidents are, was full of hope, full of ideas, and full of himself.
Near the beginning of the speech he delivered on the Capitol Steps he said:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.
Alas, like so many of the 43 men who delivered that address before him, the soaring rhetoric crashed under the weight of the same "petty grievances and false promises" he had promised to erase from the national blackboard.
"Bold" would not be an adjective most of us would use to describe President Obama's leadership style. President Obama has, in the words of his supporters, chosen to lead from behind.
In dealing with the Congress he went from completely ignoring the Republican Minority when Democrats controlled both Chambers, to completely ignoring the entire Branch by ruling via Executive Order and redefining the Constitution after the 2010 mid-term elections in which his policies and leadership style cost Democrats control of the U.S. House and broke the back of the near filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.
In Obama's America, your opponents are too disobedient and negotiations with them are too tiresome. There is only one President in all the land, and it is he.
In dealing with the American economy - a problem he, indeed, inherited, he has consistently retreated to his "community organizer" roots and embrace the "worn-out-dogma" of us versus them. Rather than reduce the "recriminations" he talked about, he has created more government agencies to watch over fewer growing businesses to institutionalize recriminations against economic growth.
In Obama's America, economic success is no longer something to be proud of, is something to be embarrassed about, investigated for, and taxed on.
In Egypt he stood by as the group of demonstrators caused the overthrow of a bad leader - President Hosni Mubarak - to, like the Hydra of Greek Mythology, be replaced by a group of bad leaders - the very generals who had protected Mubarak and done his bidding during the decades of his rule.
Foreign policy, in Obama's America, is based upon the French model: We want to have a big say, but that whole "big stick" thing is so, so 1900's.
The world, at the best of times, is an uncertain place. The world in 2012 is uncertain, unstable, and unpredictable. We need President Obama to step up and assume the mantle of the position the people of America have bestowed upon him.
We need him to act like the president of the United States.
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