Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star

President Barack Obama is about to define himself with his first state of the union address. I don't mean politically. We know that President Obama likes big government. In fact, we know that he prefers the machinations of the government over the deliberations of the citizens. By anyone's reasonable definition, Barack Obama is a Progressive.

Barack Obama is about to define himself in a fundamentally more important way, in terms of his ability to be honest with the American people. Will he address real issues in a meaningful way, offering solutions that are most likely to work? Or will he cherry pick issues, and frame those in ways that fit his philosophy of government intervention, more spending and less individual freedom?

Will Obama take responsibility for his own mistakes or will he continue to blame predecessor George W. Bush? Tellingly, within the last few days, Obama has referred to “the last eight years” negatively; conveniently forgetting that the last of those years was the first year of the Obama Administration. President Obama continues to blame the now-retired George W. Bush, who is probably not simply retired but would be best described as “happily retired.”

I would like to see Obama meaningfully address unemployment, the housing market, homeland security, government bailouts of private industries, health care reform and the lack of promised transparency surrounding health care reform. I'd like to see him do so with candor and honesty, parceling out blame and credit fairly and honestly. I fully expect to be disappointed.

The tale of the first year of the Obama Administration has been one of over reaching, over confidence, and under achievement. With a large majority in the US House and a super majority in the US Senate, Obama has little of note to show for his efforts other than a Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded based on his first 10 days in office, along with a world tour that included apologizing for the actions of the United States in nations who have committed genocide, bowing to foreign potentates and generally embarrassing those of us who love this country.

A more modest man might have made health care work. First by becoming involved rather than allowing super partisans Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D - Outer Space) to alienate the vast majority of the country. Those of us who opposed the nationalization of the medical industry were fortunate that Obama, Reid and Pelosi – with considerable help from Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Ben Nelson (D-Clueless) – proved to be the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Second, Obama could have kept a campaign promise and reached out to Republicans on health care. He failed to do so because at that time he appeared to hold all of the cards.

From the failure of the proper distribution of the H1N1 virus, to allowing the Justice Department to redefine acts of wars into mere criminal acts, to industry bailouts, to the incredible misreading of the depths of this recession, to a display of arrogance against the wishes of the American people, Obama's first year is a success in only one way: the nation has survived.

He must do better in the coming year, and the freezing of about one-sixth of the national budget at an inflated plateau is not even a start. Where President Obama must start is with three simple things: recognize the true state of the nation; deliver the summary of that state with honesty and openness; and, propose real, workable, bipartisan solutions to the problems facing us.

Hope is not a plan and wishing on a star is not a solution. Let's pray President Obama understands.

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