Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The worst president?

Quinnipiac University poll just came out said Americans rate President Obama as our worst president since World War II. Of course, a few years ago, they gave that honor to George Bush. It may be that whoever is president these days will reap that reward, but, I agree. Bush was the worst. And now Obama is even worse than him.


The good news is, I'm going to explain to you why. The bad news is, I am not going to do it in one of my evalovin' never ending posts, but in short bursts. While it may be painful for some who love reading through eight typewritten pages of haphazardly edited opinion pieces, I hope that a few of you will appreciate it broken down in this fashion.


Initially, I named the larger post - "Ten reasons I did not, could not, would not vote for Barack Obama (and glad of it.)" That's because I was going to pick ten reasons and divide them up as I went before I posted. Not sure how it will play out now.



I never got around to writing all the reasons I am sorry I had to vote for George Bush in '04 (but, numbers 1-9 were I had to, because Kerry was his opponent). I won't miss the opportunity with the only president I feel is worse in my lifetime. And, yes, that includes Nixon and Carter! Here are my reasons (and trust me, none of them are of the idiotic variety: e.g., he's not an American; he's a secret Muslim; he's the Manchurian candidate, blah, blah, blah).



#10 - The campaign:

Racism - Undoubtedly, the longest and most serious problem the U.S. has faced in its 200 something years is racism, starting, of course, with slavery, which still has legal consequences today.  Many people thought that when America elected a black man - and though bi-racial, he self-identifies as black - it would heal our racial divide.  Not quite.  In fact, for the first time in a long time I feel  racial tension  growing and I directly attribute some of that to his policies and commentary. Unfortunately, it didn't even start after he was in office, but before, during the campaign, when shouting racism became part of his race to the White House.


Who did his supporters accuse of racism? Bill Clinton, for one, for comparing Obama's campaigning success to Jesse Jackson winning primaries.  Whatever Clinton's faults may be, racism is not among them. What did Clinton do that caused such a reaction? He rooted for his wife and related Obama's success to his skin color.  

You can ask yourself, when constant reference was made to Obama's skin color by his own side and by the media, what was wrong by his primary opponent's husband mentioning it and saying that Obama might benefit from it? I say nothing, but you might differ.

Geraldine Ferrera was also accused by Obama's campaign of racism. She was Clinton's campaign chairperson. Her "crime?" She also suggested that Obama's success could be attributed to skin color.  Neither Bill Clinton nor Ferrara was saying that since Obama was black we should infer anything negative about him. They were trying to find a way to explain why his wife and her candidate were losing.  


Can you imagine the fallout if Mrs. McCain or Mrs. Romney had even hinted at that? It would have been a score worse. How many complained at the constant references to the fact that both his opponent in the nomination campaign, Hillary Clinton, and the eventual Republican adversary, McCain, were white and suggested that some - even many - would vote for them for that reason? That was said up through, in fact, the very day of the general election with McCain where it proved largely untrue.  


Now, it can be argued that Obama never made these accusations of racism himself. It doesn't work for me. He managed to throw his patron, the wacky preacher, Jeremiah White,  under the bus when Wright's vehemently racist anti-white speech was causing the Obama campaign problems. He could have thrown any who were screaming racism under the bus with much less fallout - even gotten some kudos - but he chose not to do so. When Clinton and Ferrara made their statements, it was the news of the week.  Obama could have easily, in three seconds, defused it by loudly saying he didn't believe they were racist and in fact, publicly restraining his supporters.


Is it important whether ultimately Ferraro and Clinton were accurate? Not really. How many statements by the spouses of candidates or their campaign staff are accurate? Any of them?

But, it was, in fact, true - which made the accusations even worse, if that is possible. Hillary Clinton was an extremely popular candidate. If she runs in 2016, Democratic support for her shows signs of being overwhelming (we know anything can change, of course). Her husband gathered huge numbers of black voters when he ran for president, because of his policies.  Why would not his wife get the same benefit?  Yet we know from polls that blacks voted overwhelmingly for Obama in the primaries. Given the importance of the "black" vote in Democratic primaries, is it a surprise that anyone would suggest that this explained his victory?  Even if not ultimately the difference between the two (he was a far superior candidate - in fact, maybe the best I've ever seen) it certainly was a huge factor. And would it have been so hard to say, no, I think he/she is wrong about that and here is why? Of course not. He didn't for one reason. He thought it was better politics.


Some of you might argue, what's wrong with him making a political maneuver? Isn't that what Clinton and Ferrara did on behalf of their choice? The answer is - politics is politics. And, while it may both be fascinating and repellant to me, it's not going to change in large soon.  We are used to over the top, angry, partisan behavior and speech from candidates and their supporters. But, there are lines that are not crossed without comment. It is over the line, of course, to make fun of someone's child and, usually, their religion (unfortunate exceptions - like with Romney). It would without doubt be death to any candidate to suggest that someone's skin color or ethnicity made them a bad candidate. So it should be with trumped up claims of racism. For, in our society, accusations of racism are pretty strong stuff.  I have no problem with someone calling David Duke a racist, of course. But, it's not fair to call someone racist for making a political observation. Particularly if the other side is commenting on it too.


Public funding - But, that wasn't the only reason his campaign was so disappointing. The other was the completely hypocritical approach he took to public funding. 

Not only did he declare himself a proponent of public funding, but he challenged his Republican opponents to do the same. And McCain did. But, after the nominations were won, Obama reneged (claims that it wasn't clear what he had said are just false - look it up. It was perfectly clear).

Why did he renege? It was better for him. His private financing was the best ever. Was it just politics? I don't think so.  Even for a politician, a word should have to mean something.  As we will see, it apparently means little to him. Not that politicians are famous for their sincerity, but it seems to mean almost nothing to him.


So endeth part one.




4 comments:

  1. Exactly right.....so far.
    -Don

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ye of little faith. So far, indeed . . . Harumph.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I concur, about the "exactly right" and the "so far". We all know how easily Frodo can screw up the longer he goes on....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How can two people so disagreeably agree with me?

      Delete

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .