August 11, 2011

Not NOT politics as usual

President Obama came into office promising to move beyond politics as usual. He talked about being the first post-partisan president. He talked about the oceans stopping their rising and the earth cooling. Out of those three points he can make a claim of success on two of them. Instead of ‘not politics as usual’, he’s opted for more politics than usual. I guess in a sense that isn’t a lie. More politics than usual is in itself not usual. As for the oceans stopping rising and the earth starting to cool, everyone but Al Gore now sees Global Warming as not completely irrefutable. The earth isn’t perceived as hot as it was the day President Obama took over the white House. While that’s just reality creeping in, and not Obama’s doing, indeed Global Warming isn’t as much a dire future as it once was…perceived. That it was never that bad doesn’t factor into Obama’s claim of course. As to being post-partisan, if by the definition he means hyper-partisan then he’s right, otherwise he has no business backing up that claim.

But my focus is on his politics as usual claim and how egregiously noisome that claim was based on the evidence since his inauguration. The president has not made a single move since his ratings started falling that didn’t factor in how to spin things to assist in his re-election bid. Things are seen through that prism first (and perhaps only) rather than a practical, national problem solving prism. Consider his actions rather than his words.
(1) He suggests stopping partisan name-calling over the debt ceiling and yet refers to his political opponents as radicals and pointing a gun at the head of the American people 
(2) His lackluster response to the downgrade by S&P still blamed the rating agency and his predecessor rather than his own 40% run up in debt-to-GDP ratio in less than three years 
(3) His ceaseless series of fundraising dinners at a time of national crisis. Yes it’s necessary for his re-election. But is his re-election more important than jobs or the national debt?
 (4) His forcing of the Obamacare agenda in light of a jobs problem in 2009 or 2010. That’s ideologically driven and that is certainly political.
That’s just a few obvious examples, but the president is clearly not less politics as usual but more politics than usual.  That's change you can't believe.  Quite an accomplishment.

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