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October 23, 2012
Obama Doesn't Act Like a President
President Obama has many problems, and despite his protestations to the contrary, he is responsible for all of them. Even the economic weakness that we are suffering through right now, a problem that Obama continues to blame on President Bush, is his fault.
We would be in much better shape economically today if the president had used TARP and the myriad other stimulus programs wisely. Together they amounted to more than $2 trillion dollars. Instead of using that money to create jobs, he threw most of it away by rewarding individuals and groups that supported his candidacy for president in 2008.
For that shameful display of pork barrel politics gone wild, we, our children, and our grandchildren will continue to pay for decades to come because he spent borrowed money.
President Obama may think that he has improved our standing in the eyes of the world, but the facts tell a different story. From the Middle East to Europe to China to Russia to Africa, President Obama's policies, his actions, and his words have conveyed a loud and clear message that the United States will turn its back on its allies and coddle its enemies. Under Obama, our allies fear us and our enemies love us. That's not evidence of presidential leadership. It's the exact opposite.
Nowhere in the world is this problem more apparent than it is in the Middle East. Although Obama continues to emphasize his support for Israel, the Israeli people have serious doubts, and they should. Under Obama's watch and with his blessings, every country bordering Israel has become more belligerent, and the Israeli people are more threatened today than they have been since 1948.
Even so, from a political perspective the president's most striking problem is one that he shares with his running mate, Joe Biden. Both of them are smug and pretentious beyond comprehension. Despite their personal shortcomings, their failed record, and their dearth of new ideas, they can't resist the temptation to belittle and ridicule their political opponents personally even when they propose programs and ideas that will actually work.
And what justification does the president use to ignore their ideas while he pursues his own personal agenda? It boils down to one thing and one thing only: "I'm the president." That logic may sell well in the Obama White House and among the liberal intelligentsia in highbrow New York and San Francisco cafés, but it sticks in the craw of ordinary voters.
During last night's debate, the president addressed this remark to Governor Romney:
"I think Governor Romney hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have ships that go under water, nuclear submarines, and so the question is not a game of battleship where we're counting ships, it's what are our capabilities...."
If he had spent a week thinking about it, the president couldn't have presented his view in a more childish, inarticulate, and insulting way, and his justification for cutting the military budget was not his main point. His sole purpose was to paint his opponent as an imbecile, which Mitt Romney most certainly is not.
The president has used similar tactics with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu since the day he took office, and the results speak for themselves. All the while, he has kowtowed to every tinhorn despot in the Middle East to catastrophic effect and played footsie with Russia, for example.
Even if the president's policies had worked, that behavior would be unacceptable, and it's not conduct that we expect and need from the leader of the free world. Thankfully, two weeks from today all of that can change if we elect a mature man to lead this great nation.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.
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