Whatever happens tonight and in the following days over the debt ceiling, this quote defines the years during which Barack Obama was President of the United States. It’s from Tuesday’s White House press briefing with Jay Carney. It’s around the 9 minute mark in the video at the link.
“[W]hen you put forward a position … on difficult issues … it becomes charged politically, and your chances of actually getting an agreement diminish significantly,” Carney said. “That’s how it works.”
Yes, that’s how it works. And that quote reflects a rank cowardice and adbication on the part of the White House to make tough calls and assume real leadership when circumstances call for it.
In 2008, millions of well-meaning Americans decided to give someone who struck them as a nice young man a shot at the most difficult job in the world. They did this mostly for good reasons, for many of the same reasons that we’re in the debt mess that we’re in. They gave Obama a chance at the presidency maybe because they agreed with him, maybe out of guilt, but mostly because they’re nice.
The signs were all there, though, that Barack Obama was not a real leader and would be a bad president, almost from the moment he declared his candidacy. Even before, actually — Obama himself reacted to the first questions about himself as a candidate by laughing and saying “Maybe I should actually do something first.” But a lot of smart, political people saw potential, not in the man but in the brand he could be. They created an iconography and a set of slogans. They raised money. They ran and they won and he is the president.
But the man who so often voted “present” in the Illinois Senate to keep from having to show his cards, and who was a backbencher liberal in the US Senate known for speaking well but doing little, the adjunct professor and community organizer with almost comically evil friends who wrote two autobiographies before having lived much of a life, is still the same man regardless of the office he occupies. Barack Obama is not a leader in the sense that a nation needs. He never will be. And his lack of capacity to perform in the most difficult job in the world has brought us to the brink of national ruin.