While Obama Bounces, America Declines
by Jerome Hudson (bio)
While pundits debate if Obama's decision to kill Osama bin Laden benefits the President politically, the average American — after some celebration — is still fixated on the economy.
Unemployment still hovers around nine percent. Home values are still down and the dollar is in a nosedive. Food and gas prices are soaring, and one in seven Americans receives food stamps.
Is this how we "win the future"?
After all, how can so many Americans sidelined by joblessness, more people joining the entitlement rolls and the budding normality of a more marginalized and cheapened understanding of individual responsibly be seen as anything other than losing the future?
While Obama and his supporters cling to the complaint that the alleged economic "ditch" Bush put the nation into is bigger than expected, it's been long enough for the Obama team to own it (especially since it took more than enough credit regarding bin Laden).
This seems especially true since Obama stiff-armed the will of the people on so many of his legislative priorities.
Obama has shackled job creation through restrictive regulation. Where "cap-and-trade" emissions restrictions failed in Congress, for example, the EPA took over. Obamacare appears to be pushing the cost of health care premiums for families and businesses up, not down. Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department is reportedly committed to defending "my people" but not established laws such as the Defense of Marriage Act. Arizona was sued for enforcing state rules regarding illegal immigration that mimic federal statutes.
Elsewhere, Texas lost over two million acres to wildfires — yet the Obama Administration denied the area disaster status that could provide enhanced federal assistance. Obama went to Texas in May, but to promote comprehensive immigration reform and attend political fundraisers.
On the latter trip, as Air Force One flew over areas devastated by Mississippi River flooding, White House press secretary Jay Carney could not confirm Obama even looked out the window to survey the damage. Remember when Bush was criticized for just looking out the window at Hurricane Katrina damage? Obama might not have even looked! Where's the outrage?
And don't forget we are still in two wars and something called a "kinetic military action" in Libya.
All this comes from the guy who was supposed to get us out of that ditch? Like the promise of transparency, it appears Obama's focus shifted and things were cast aside after the campaign ended.
Consider Obama's golfing habit. Before he was elected, Obama was never known as a golf nut. He was known as a churchgoer. After his election, the priorities seem to be reversed. As president, Obama has hit the links over 60 times. By contrast, he's reportedly been to church less than ten times. When he has gone to church, it seems largely for show — on holidays and in venues that seem more for a media show than as a show of faith.
It raises questions about the President's priorities.
Remember when Bush took it on the chin from Michael Moore for golfing and how Bush gave it up in deference to the troops? Obama need not follow suit, but it's worth mentioning that Obama got in nine holes while SEAL Team Six was preparing to storm the bin Laden compound. Somehow, Obama is held to a much more leisurely standard.
Despite the lack of media outrage and despite the deafening silence of those who were so critical of Bush for similar behavior, the American people cannot be fooled. It would appear the body politic has reached an impasse of sorts.
More and more polls are showing that Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction. It's becoming increasingly difficult for even the most ardent Obama supporters to continue to blame Bush. The gap between the American people and this White House looks wider every day.
As the anniversary of the "Summer of Recovery" approaches, a quick trip to the gas station or grocery store feels more like relapse.
Between winning golf games, however, Obama is sure to try to find some time to win our future, too.
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Jerome Hudson is a member of the national advisory council of the black leadership network Project 21. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.
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