A Failed Presidency of Global Proportions
"These are the times that try men's souls." So wrote Thomas Paine in the midst of the darkest days of the American Revolution, when the fate of what would become the grandest experiment in human liberty hung in the balance. In recent weeks, those words have found renewed relevance as it becomes clear to this generation that the fate of our nation hangs in the balance again.
This much is now clear: on every count, domestic and foreign, the presidency of Barack Obama has failed.
Though pride or egotism may prevent many from acknowledging it, there is simply no rational argument left to plausibly deny this unfortunate reality. Whether it is the crumbling value of the dollar, the demise of an economy once in recovery into one now slouching towards another recession, the crushing debt that is spinning us dangerously close to the point of no return, a persistent unemployment crisis that has not been remotely remedied by the continued spending or quantitative easing of all our brilliant government central planners, or the skyrocketing energy costs that break the collective banks of American family budgets both at the gas tank and with the monthly heating bill, President Obama has been a domestic policy disaster. One of the worst ever.
On the foreign front, a similar conclusion was perhaps more difficult to discern until last week. To any informed observer, there was certainly always reason for concern as the terror obsessed Muslim Brotherhood stretched its influence and consolidated its power throughout the Middle East under the protective cloak of the Obama-approved label "Arab Spring." Prudent minds questioned how such a development could possibly end well for those who desire peace, and why despite being reassured by their president that "[t]he day I'm inaugurated, Muslim hostility will ease," America's approval rating in the Muslim world continued to plummet to new lows.
Moreover, watching the Obama team perform on the world stage, one couldn't help but come to the uncomfortable conclusion that we appeared to be running three or four different foreign policies concurrently. The only unifying element to President Obama's handling of foreign affairs was his stubborn insistence on apologizing profusely for America's role in the world. Only in prostrating himself and his nation before others did Obama's foreign policy find clarity and purpose. The self-proclaimed "citizen of the world" viewed this as the penitent way his United States could exorcise its imperialistic demons and assume a co-equal role among the brotherhood of all nations.
But beginning last week, the final verdict on that Obama Doctrine was rendered. The president's appeasement of radical Islam has only made the aggressor more aggressive. His weakness has not made us safer; it has imperiled us. Its fruits can be found in every bomb-shattered embassy, every fist-pumping mob dragging murdered American diplomats through the streets, every black al-Qaeda flag raised in triumph over the ashen remains of the stars and stripes.
And while his administration pitifully tries to pin responsibility for the anti-American violence on an insignificant and trivial homemade movie, how ironic that the very president who once campaigned against the saber-rattling swagger of George Bush that supposedly incited Muslim animosity has most likely brought on this current terror because of his own braggadocio. Not that radical Muslims have ever needed a good reason to attack the West, but if Barack Obama's strutting around like a peacock for 12 months boasting about how he ordered the raid to shoot Osama bin Laden in the skull doesn't provide it, I don't know what would.
Is Mitt Romney the answer? That remains to be seen. His recent statement on the terrorism now exploding onto and into American embassies worldwide was reason for pause. After correctly dissecting the roots of the problem back to a fundamental lack of American leadership, Romney vowed, "I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and keeps us admired throughout the world." That isn't quite right. We need a president to provide the leadership we admire because it is leadership that the world has no choice but to respect. And while reading his words in context provides reason to hope that is what Romney meant, we can be certain it is what Obama does not understand.
Historically speaking, it is almost always sound practice to allow for a healthy passage of time before drawing conclusions about the relative success or failure of a particular administration. But there was always a chance that a presidency would occur where the answer was painfully self-evident. In that sense, it appears Barack Obama was the one we'd been waiting for.