When Barack Obama was elected our 44th President it was a great day for America.
He was educated, articulate, analytical, and compassionate -- all qualities absent in our previous president. He appeared to be the embodiment of Lincoln, Kennedy, and both Roosevelts. Someone who understood our challenges and had plans to fix them. Someone who would make all the right moves.
But appearances can be deceiving. He still possesses those qualities, but something's missing.
The unfortunate truth about Obama's first two years is a potentially great presidency is being portrayed as only an adequate presidency. It will historically be viewed, rightfully or wrongfully, as a missed opportunity to restore hope and stability; a presidency that could have corrected the multifarious ills of the Bush Administration and 12 years of a Republican Congress.
The chinks began even before being sworn into office, when the financial crisis required TARP. His vote for the measure along with 74 other colleagues in the Senate, absent stipulations or restrictions, allowed the banking cancer to spread into his presidency rather than abate. A senatorial lack of insight that still plaques him as the President.
Since that fateful vote and well into his first two years of office there have been numerous mistakes assessing, evaluating, and prioritizing the moribund situations and problems that needed attention and resolution.
So many problems, so many decisions. The economy in shambles: banks failing, unemployment climbing, states and municipalities hurting, credit frozen, the dollar falling and fear rising. Wars raging in the Middle East: lives lost, treasure squandered, prisoners held in an obscure prison in Cuba. Terrorism a constant threat. Healthcare tearing at the fabric of America's health. Homes being foreclosed at record levels leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans displaced. Immigration becoming a huge burden on a struggling country. A homophobic military and Congress. An opposition party that fabricates to scare, and equivocates to mislead the American people. A difficult time to take over the country; a country spiraling out of control.
Disastrous situations in need of a real leader.
Obama and the Democrats went right to work on solutions promised during his campaign. They began to work on the Wars and prepared to close down Guantanamo Prison and bring the remaining 100 or so prisoners to a secure facility in the U.S.. They passed a stimulus bill that would prevent us from sliding into Depression. They worked on a comprehensive healthcare measure and financial regulation that would help lowly consumers fight the egregious practices of health providers and banksters.
These were all good things for middle-class hard-working Americans--protecting them by resurrecting regulation that had been eviscerated by the previous administration.
So why the discontent? Why the visceral reaction toward the Administration and Congress?
Several factors are involved in the growing dissatisfaction with President Obama and the Democrat majority. Most of it is related to the failure to communicate described by Frank Rich, in "Barack Obama, Phone Home," on Sunday, November 7 in the New York Times, as a lack of a coherent message.
But there's more. Obama supporters are sickened by his single-minded overreaching to an intransigent right-wing. It clearly meets the definition of insanity.
Compromise with Republicans weakened everything the Democrats tried to accomplish, stripping out many vital and the most effective pieces of every legislation. The President's appeasement damaged his party in the election and continues to plaque them.
Healthcare was lacking the true competitive element: the public option. FinReg failed on many levels -- especially taking on Big Banks and regulating their criminal activity. Stimulus was not only weakened to the point of minimal effect, but failed to reach those that could actually stimulate the economy. Even though it saved us from another Great Depression, saved jobs, and cut payroll taxes for 95 percent of working Americans the Democrats and the White House have been unsuccessful communicating that to a wary public.
Obama is about to make another wrong move regarding the Bush Tax Cuts indicating that he will acquiesce to the bullying of the Republicans.
In his speech after the election, his interview on 60 Minutes, and other venues, it appears the President is caving on suspending the top two tax brackets -- those that benefit the richest in this nation. David Axelrod indicated the President would not be putting up the fight that most Americans would applaud.
Mr. President, there is no compromise!
Compromise would be an egregious miscalculation hated by his progressive base and strong Independents.
In hoops, at some point you've got to make the right move and drive to the hoop.
The President's clarion call for the next two years is to protect the people from a disingenuous Republican party and to preserve our fragile democracy. In order to do that he's going to have to be a fighter, get tough and go toe to toe with the Republicans.
This is an opportunity to emerge from the defeat of the mid-term election. To make the right move, and drive to the hoop.
It starts today! It starts with a stand against the extension of the top two marginal brackets; against those who have done little to help an ailing economy.
Our democracy, our survival depends on it!