As any of you know who have read me in the past, I am not one to write on issues in a timely fashion, most assuredly because I am just so arrogant as to prefer the Last Word over the first. But tonight, I felt compelled to hack away, as tonight, I think I witnessed the 44th President of the United States actually wake up…but did he wake up in time?
Now, to be fair, even in good economic times, most first-term Presidents come in with that Deer-In-Headlights Look, and who could blame them? I’m positive Pentagon and C.I.A. lists of who wants to bomb the U.S. today, shoved ever so politely into the face of the Commander-In-Chief, all before he’s had his second cup of coffee, would be a heart-stopper for anyone. But this position makes you the Head Chief Mucky-Muck of the Free World so at some point you just have to have what it takes to get out of bed at the crack of dawn and hit the ground running.
Historically, it used to be that a new President’s first 100 days in office were that “grace period”, you know, to allow him to meld with his team, to grow accustom to the Ins and Outs of everyday Oval Office Life and to find proactive ways to get what needs to be done, done, or rather what he promised the American people would be done, if he were elected.
Fine and dandy, said the American people. “You go get your shoes wet, you’ve got our support!”
And that’s all well and good…when all is just dandy with the State of the Union.
But what happens to a first-term President, when he adopts a union that is anything but strong, weakened either by a Wall Street fall-out or by a monstrous debt incurred by going to war on a country where it was determined the Bad Guy never was? Or both as was the case for Barrack Obama? What then?
Sure, the new Commander-In-Chief still has those 100 days of grace and the American people still have his back.
Yet those 100 days just fly by and the President who campaigned on Change is still picking up the pieces from the atomic destruction created by his predecessor and desperately swallowing advice given to him from green-horn advisers who as yet can’t see the radiation for the ash.
President Obama, the one person who more than most knew what poverty does to people, having worked with the needy in Chicago, allowed others to make up his mind for him, ignored his gut and chose to work on ObamaCare instead ObamaCareer, never thinking that healthcare would mean little to his citizens if they were hungry and homeless because they were jobless. Americans will gamble on their health but damn if they’ll indefinitely forfeit their two SUVs in their double car garage!
“Okay, heck, we get you Mr. Prez, you adopted one whack of a fiscal mess, take another 100 days, we’re a patient people, if Change, this time, takes 200, we get it, we’ve got your back!”
But when 200 days melds into 365, which moults into 1099, and now, with the threat of a lost 2nd Term, does this sitting President finally smell the coffee that’s been steaming in his face since he took the Oath of Office three years and four days ago?
With 49 million Americans on food stamps and over six million not even bothering now to look for work, not counting the 30 some-odd million who still are, three years and four days maybe just too long to wait.
How long can a country be In The Red without completely bleeding out?
President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight was stellar, well researched and delivered, of that there is no debate. But all the while I am transfixed to my TV screen, seeing his forceful, sincere, almost aggressive stance on what he now sees as the solutions to problems he faced 1099 days ago, I could not help but wonder why this speech wasn’t his first State of the Union speech and not what could be his last…
To ask the Congress to become all Cumbaya in less than a year to get Bills Obama wants passed, now, is like Moses parting the Red Sea…it works well as a morality tale but kinda hard in the practical. I basically lost count as to how many changes he wanted to enact, all the with the, “If you send me that Bill, I will sign it.” (paraphrased) caveat.
Sure, nearing the end of this wonder oration, knowing full well how impossible it would be to ask the Sea (Congress) to “part” (come to bi-partisan agreements) on it’s own, he slipped in, “Well, with you or without you, I'll get stuff done on my own.” (paraphrased)…but is that the system of government the Forefathers of the U.S. Constitution meant to have, a President going “rogue” because there was no other way to get things done in such a short amount of time? Hardly.
I am not an American but if I were I would not have voted for Obama, not because I have a Republican slant but because I saw in his Harvard Yard “gloss” the lack of practical experience in knowing how to go to blows with the Washington crowd. He was the proverbial New-Boy-In-Town lamb to the Old-Guard slaughter. Yes, of course, now you see the maturity of age and wisdom in Obama, that no longer will the Washington elite pull a fast one over on this guy. But after a 1.5 Trillion dollar Stimulus Package that only seemed to help a small percentage of the U.S. manufacturing sector, the ever-present albatross of a double-digit unemployment rate, still no Bills enacted to regulate against another Lehman Bros. fiasco or bring to justice its white-collar perpetrators or a budget in place to pay for Bush Jr.’s useless war, is he not just asking way too much of his people now, to hang on, to hold on, for yet one more year? Sadly, I’d have to say yes.
Yet, the thought of one of these mindless, power-hungry extremist Republican candidates as Commander-In-Chief is enough to make Bush Jr.’s reign look like a cake-walk.
Tonight, more than any other night since Barrack Obama took Office, I feel for the plight of the American citizen. Mr. & Mrs. America now have a choice between a sitting President, who may have finally woken up, smelled that darn cup of coffee and now has the experience and the cajones to make the next cup, finally, better; or a choice between four extreme Right-Wing Republican candidates, the cream of the 1%ers the Occupy Wall Streeters have been protesting against (a Mormon who wouldn’t know hardship if it bit him in his 15% tax bracket; a former Speaker of the House, who, it seems every American with the long term memory of a squirrel has forgotten, annihilated Congress under his tutelage, oh, and can the American public get a $500,000.00 per person retainer at Tiffany’s too?!; an extremist Capitalist who’s sell-by date really has gone by and who’s NO government regulation plan may have worked in post WWII boom times but is hardly doable in today’s American experience; and a sweater-vest wearing, Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood wannabe Do-Gooder, who sadly, would be a bigger lamb to the Washington slaughter than newbie Obama ever was).
A completely unenviable choice.
Many, I fear, may vote ABO – Anyone BUT Obama - just because they are so very desperate for financial change, any candidate has to be better than who they have right now, will be their reprise.
Yep…that’s what Germans thought when they were lining up for day-old bread in post WWI days too…they voted ABSQ – Anyone But the Status-Quo – and they voted in Hitler.
Homeless, jobless, hungry people will often make mindless choices…go figure.
And the rest of us who aren’t American, should we care? Yep, we better, because our own countries’ fiscal health is dependent upon the health of the U.S. dollar and its’ trading might…always has been, always will be. We have to care and hope the Americans make the right choice for all of us.
Maybe the greatest fear I have tonight is that a huge chunk of the population south of the 49th may just become apathetic and will choose instead to be No-Shows come Election Night. Is it not easier just to bury one’s head in the sand rather than make the awful choice between the Devil you know and the Lucifer you don’t?
Yes, Capitol Hill was well lit up tonight but while others basked in the white light of success as the well-spun Image of the American Dream, all I saw was the Red hue of debt and danger. The Dome was bleeding and no one seemed to know where the buckets were to catch the blood.
200 days of not knowing? Fine.
1099 days…and still no buckets…not so much.
My heart bleeds for you, Mr. & Mrs. America…it really does.