Obama's change stalled during '09
Electoral success doesn’t always translate to executive greatness and our president is learning that first hand. He’s a year deep into his four year term and has little to show for it.
Apologists and supporters can provide a laundry list of reasons Nobel-Laureate Obama hasn’t made headway on his ambitions agenda. But those people miss a very key point. We don’t elect presidents to try. We elect presidents to do. We elected this president to do.
In fact, more than any other president in recent history, Barack Obama was elected because he was thought to be the right man at the right moment. He walked into the Oval Office one year ago with the wind at his back and comfortable majorities in both chambers. The rookie from Illinois was called in from the bullpen to get us out of a rough inning. He hasn’t.
To call his presidency inconsequential would be generous. This president had a moment in history all to himself and he punted. He had the political capital for ambitious projects.
Instead of spending that capital wisely, he allowed it to disappear. Instead of spending his capital on the exact health care plan he wanted, President Obama stood on the sidelines.
This president, elected to lead, let Democrats in Congress bicker for twelve months without stepping in to broker reform. As a result, if any reform comes to his desk, it will pale in comparison to what he proposed during his two year campaign for this office.
He let this happen for two reasons, and both are quite telling. The first is that he lacks political courage. He fears the cost of acting, and in turn, feels the backlash of inaction. The second reason is that President Obama got himself in way over his head.
The fresh-faced senator ran for president on the banner of change. He spoke of a broken Washington. He talked of bringing people together to solve our problems. He built a larger-than-life personality for people to pull for, and Americans desperately wanted get in line behind the next great American president.
To this point, he has failed significantly. He set the bar high for himself and hasn’t even come close to clearing it. Don’t fool yourselves into giving him a break because he was dealt a bad hand. He sat down at the table after seeing his cards. He is responsible for the expectations. He ran on the platform of expectations.
He saw the problems we faced and told us he was the one to help us overcome them. But, we’re no closer to energy independence. We haven’t put people back to work. Health care hasn’t been reformed. Main Street is still bleeding and partisanship is as rampant as ever. He has either failed to act or acted minimally on almost all of his key promises thus far.
The American people are slowly learning he might not have been up to the job. Experience matters. The presidency is not an entry level position. A Fortune 500 company would never hire a CEO fresh out of business school. The American people shouldn’t either.
Now, our constitution gives the president four years, so he’ll get three more whacks at it. But, if the past is a predictor of things to come, those whacks won’t be particularly inspired. Political allies will say he gave it his best shot. Political enemies will call him a failure. But one thing is for certain: He’s in way over his head.