If there was ever a question as to what President Obama meant when titling his autobiography "The Audacity of Hope," he certainly offered Americans a peek through the looking glass during the televised health care debate two weeks ago.
Americans were led to believe that having an audacious personality is an asset qualifying one to fulfill the weighty requirements of office of the President of the United States. After witnessing the first fourteen months of the Obama presidency, it is safe to conclude that our president certainly is audacious. However, it is also evident that this is not an attribute desirable in an individual chosen to lead the greatest country in the history of the world if that country is to maintain its status as a dominant and enviable power.
The truth of this was born out when President Obama strategically called a bipartisan meeting of party leaders to discuss his health care reform proposals. Yet after watching the summit, it quickly became apparent that the meeting was not a bipartisan coming-together aimed at resolving differing opinions and joining varying proposals for a legislative bill that is in the best interests of American citizens.
The meeting was political, aimed at manipulating the public into buying into the talking point that the Republicans are the "party of no." And it was a propaganda tool aimed at finally televising to the country the Democrats' positions, which are enshrined in distortions and dishonesty lest the public truly understand their implications on the future prosperity of the country.
Left with little choice but to attend, the Republicans joined the conference with full knowledge that it was the precursor to an excuse to bring the nuclear option to the table if they did not succumb to the demands of the ruling elite. Yet they were prepared with two forms of ammunition: the facts and their integrity.
On the other hand, the Democrats went into the summit armed with audacity. And the president, acting as moderator and dictator (no, Sean Penn, you cannot put me in jail for that comment), cutting off speakers when they spoke of Americans' desires, the interests of the country, and the future welfare of their children and grandchildren, spent over seven hours bullying his opponents.
Obama accused the Republicans of political tricks and throwing out talking points solely because he was unable to address the facts before him. Consistently disliking what the Republicans had to say, Obama accused them of abusing time constraints and then proceeded with soliloquies the likes of which Shakespeare would not have appreciated.
Yet a true statesman, a deserving leader, and a worthy president would have placed the interests of the American people ahead of his personal desires for taking over one-sixth of the country's economy. He would have entered the summit with an open mind, admitted his error in not including differing views from the start, and agreed to begin anew in order to combine the best ideas of the great minds in the room.
If the health care meeting provides a window into Obama's negotiating style and diplomatic acumen on the international stage, then the country's irreparable decline may be even more imminent. The summit was supposed to provide an opportunity for Americans to witness the Great One as Uniter. It was an opportunity to witness firsthand the healing powers of a man whose grandiose promises led much of the electorate to believe in a disillusioned vision of bipartisanship and impending world peace.
However, when reality set in and the rose-colored glasses were removed, it quickly became apparent that Obama is not only a mere mortal, but he is an ideologue -- one incapable of listening to others, unable to address facts put forth, and unwilling to compromise for the good of the nation. And this ideologically-driven man has allowed his vision of the country and the world to dominate decisions in all matters, both domestic and international.
Whether it be his outreach to the Muslim community, swipes at America's allies; obsession with health care reform; condescending attitude toward average, hardworking citizens; or consistent apologies over America's exceptional character, Barack Obama is driven to divide rather than unite. He has been divisive with friend and foe and has shown no indication that he is concerned with the direction that he has taken the country.
But we are left with just under three years of this presidency, and it is frightening to imagine Obama sitting across a table with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or confronting Kim Jong-il. For if Obama's behavior at the health care summit is any indication of his performance in a real summit of world leaders, then it is clear that disaster will prevail.
Furthermore, as Obama continues to pursue Mideast peace talks, if his treatment of his fellow countrymen at the summit is any indication of how he will treat Benjamin Netanyahu, then it is clear that we can forgo any hope of compromise on the Mideast front. Notwithstanding the fact that like the Republicans at the health care summit, Netanyahu will always be armed with the facts and his integrity, Obama will use his audacious ideology to bully Israel. We can only be thankful that when attempting to force through a peace plan, a vote of "a simple majority" is not an option.
While not the first time this administration has singled out Israel, its preconceived notion of right and wrong in this conflict became evident once again this week. The nature of the administration's ideological drive was further revealed when Vice President Biden accused Israel of undermining proposed peace talks through its announcement of plans to build housing in Jerusalem -- and then remained silent on the Palestinian Authority's announcement to honor a terrorist who murdered 37 Israeli civilians.
As we watched Obama slap away the open hands of Republican congressmen offering suggestions of compromises to be made in the health care bill, it became apparent that the only language Obama understands is the one dictated by a "my way or the highway" mentality. And there is no reason to believe that someone other than the "Interrupter/Liar/Bower/Ideologue-in-Chief" will arrive at negotiations with world leaders who may or may not be interested in the future prosperity and security of our nation.
Americans have had a glimpse through the looking glass, and they understand that an important character trait when electing a president is not the audacity to hope. It is the willingness to admit one's mistakes and keep an open mind, to put aside ideology, and to join together differing views. It includes diplomacy, humility, and honesty. These are the true characteristics of a statesman, of a figure to be reckoned with, of a world leader.
Until President Obama learns what it means to bring this country together, he will never be able to resolve differences on the world stage and fulfill his most important role of protecting the country. And Americans will be doomed to watch their great republic continue its fall down the rabbit hole.