Obama's Achille's Heel
Contributor
President Obama’s credibility began to slip with people who elected him around the end of May. Just a few short days after his 100th day in office and glowing approval began to dim, a combination of the ranks of the conservative right and blue dog democrats. The young charismatic, educated, honey colored African-American, movingly articulate man has ran afoul of public sentiment because of his powerful adherence to and apparent need to be conciliatory and fair to his opponents. Barack Obama will fade as the nation’s first African American president and will be remembered solely for his lame-duck presidency mired in the art of compromise. To date, from a public perspective, not one issue that has crossed President Obama’s desk since his inauguration has met with a decisive stance to effect change. To be sure, this nation needs a leader who is intelligent and thoughtful, an individual who can provide the framework for success on multiple issues that face the nation, but Obama’s adept skill of compromise has also rendered him impotent as a leader. Most people respect and understand that compromise is a positive personality trait and most would agree that the art of compromise is an excellent habit for all people to develop. It appears that Mr. Obama has acquired an abundance of the art over his lifetime and yet this time worn positive attribute will be the quintessential downfall of our president. Mr. Obama was elected to office because the electorate overwhelmingly, desperately, desired change in the government and how it had functioned over the previous eight years. To date, and let it be acknowledged that true change takes time, but the Obama administration has intertwined the sins of the past administration into his so-called new, progressive administration. The sins of the previous administration are either being completely ignored or embraced. Obama’s dogged determination to deal with all situations and challenges by only using the art of compromise has public sentiment waning while questioning exactly why compromise is more important than taking a decisive stance on issues. Franklin D. Roosevelt acted decisively during the Great Depression and turned the economy and the nation back into a producing first world power. Roosevelt was not inhibited or impeded in his desire to address the problems that faced the American public. He regulated the industries that bankrupted the country and he provided jobs for a populace who was beaten and almost without hope. In contrast, Obama has chosen to negotiate and enrich the entities that plunged the country into economic chaos (yes, the previous administration pioneered this path) and by doing so the administration has also abandoned the millions of people who supported his bid for the highest office in the land. The government has provided a safety net for the institutions that gambled with our economic stability while the average consumer has been left to dangle in an uncertain current and future economic climate. Perhaps Obama’s well defined muscle for compromise has worked well to solve the many issues that have confronted him in his previous public and private life, but what Mr. Obama and his immediate advisors need to apprehend, post haste, is that this current posture of compromise first and always is weakening the ideals that got Mr. Obama elected. Obama’s posture of ‘compromise only’ has rendered him “unpresidential,” a person unable to lead by virtue of the fact that it appears that he can not or will not execute a reasoned or hard lined, inflexible stance on any issue. Obama’s affinity for compromise has alerted the electorate to the fact that his much touted pre-election promise to usher in a universal healthcare program for all Americans will be compromised away even before it reaches the floor of congress for debate. Just as George W. Bush’s dogged inflexibility and his inability to listen to outside points of view rendered him ineffective so too will Obama’s unwavering attachment to compromise will ultimately result in his ultimate downfall, his very public and Achille’s heel. These are difficult times. Our values as a nation were compromised by a specious attempt to launch a War on Terror by a pre-emptive attack against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. The economy has tanked and people are losing their jobs, homes, savings and investments. The country can not survive with a lame duck president under any circumstances. We, the electorate, deserve the man we thought we voted into office to affect change and not this impotent imposter tied to compromise entirely at our expense.

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  • Judaye Streett

    Miss Allene,I am so glad to be able discuss important issues that truly effect the average American. I am learning much by reading your blog and thinking about what you have written.

    You are correct about Obama's compromises on detainees, the housing and credit card markets, etc. However, Congress is equally guilty in creating the laws associated with these markets. Obama represents one branch of the government. He cannot pass laws. He has to negotiate with the Legslative Branch. He could go to the public to argue his stances on issues, and put pressure on Congress to make changes. Maybe that is what he is trying to do in his visits around the country this week.

    Universal Health Care is going to hard to put into effect because so many people plan to make money from the current configuration of health care. All of the businesses who are making money from the unhealthy habits of American, sloppy administration practices, or unnecessary medical tests stand to lose their profits. They are willing to fight Obama to the death to keep things the way they are.

    For some reason, I keep thinking of the movie The Untouchables when Sean Connery tells Kevin Cosner as Eliot Ness how to get Capone:"He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts some of your people in the hospital, you put his in the morgue. Because that's the Chicago way." Obama is dealing with a rough crowd, a much rougher crowd than he has ever experienced. They are going to fight him all the way because there are billions of dollars involved. I know he has Rahm Emanuel and I've heard that he is tough. Obama needs to unleash him and let him do what he has to do in order to get a truly viable version of Universal Health Care through Congress. Someone is going to have be metaphorically killed.

  • Thanks for your comments. I appreciate hearing hwat you think because I hope it helps me to be a better writer and observer of politics and people. The reason for my observation about Obama is how he has handled other crucial issues such as conmtinuing to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, the surveillance and wire-taping of American citizens phones and Internet activities, the failure of the White House to support the bill to allow Banruptcy judges to cram down mortgage that might have helped stabilize the hosing market, the credit card legislation that will take effect for the benefit of consumers sometime early next year, etc. These issues have already been addressed by the administraion and it is difficult not to see how Mr. Obama's keen ability to practice compromise changed or completely eliminated change that would have benefitted the average American. I am certain that he is a politician but he also ran on a platform that endorsed change. Of course I understand that many things cannot be changed in the time since he was sworn into office, but the issues that he (and his advisors) has addressed give a clear indication of how he will handle future issues.
    Currently, the universal health care bill is flawed, or single payer insurance will in fact penalize and require people without insurance to pay a penalty for not having insurance, hence the broad support from insurance companies. This is yet another another example of compromise that benefits big business rather than the average consumer.
    By the way, I voted for the young man as well. I would love for his penchant for rousing speeched to also translate into action. Sorry, as an older person, I am not content to hear that he has to deal with politics as usual...one of the issues that he was supposed to deal with was "politics as usual." George W. Bush transformed "politics as usual" in a very short period of time. Mr. Obama has some very savvy political appointees that were supposed to help him navigate the treacherous environment of DC and what has happened to date just doesn't seem very promising.

  • Judaye Streett

    Hi Ms.Allene. I have to say that I do not agree with your assertion that "Obama's adept skill of compromise has also rendered him impotent as a leader" or that he approaches "all situations and challenges by only using the art of compromise." However I do understand what seems to be your frustration with the fact that Obama is turning out to be what he always was: a politician trying to win an election. I think that if we want to see change in the way this country is run, we have to hold all our elected officials, including congress, accountable. Until enough of the electorate causes change to take place by using the power of voting people out of office, the people in office will continue to operate the way they always have. Obama does not have much experience dealing with a legislative body as large and as powerful as the United States Congress, and to expect him to be some sort of super strong human is not realistic. This may be why he uses compromise as a way of negotiation. He has not been in office for even a year and I do not think he had the time to become impotent. Universal health care was going to be difficult for an experienced and skilled politician to get through congress. I think it is very brave for Obama to attempt to keep this campaign promise. I remember thinking "easier said than done," when I heard him start making speeches about health care and building up people's hopes. And yeah I voted for him. It is exciting to have the first black president, but after all, he is just another fallible man. And as you stated, we have huge problems to deal with.