(via Rolandsmartin.com) – The White House loves to trumpet the idea that one of President Barack Obama’s greatest virtues is how he operates above the fray, choosing not to waste time with the political battles in the trenches.
“No-Drama Obama” is who we heard about during the 2008 presidential campaign, about how his cool, calm demeanor was his biggest asset. But look at how the GOP forced the president’s hand on extending the Bush tax cuts; how it created political hay out of the debt ceiling and led the nation to lose its triple-A credit rating; and now how it grossly disrespected him by rebuffing him while he spoke to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
And now, I think it’s fair to ask: When will Obama strike back and exert some presidential muscle?
No doubt Obama has taken an aggressive position in going after al-Qaeda. We have taken out far more of the terror group’s leaders than we did under President George W. Bush. We’ve killed Osama bin Laden and the group’s number-two leader in Pakistan. And even the most belligerent of hawks can’t complain about Obama’s decisions in Libya and Afghanistan.
But the 2012 election will not be decided on foreign policy. The economy will trump all of that. And on that note, Obama looks like a man who, despite all the trappings of the most powerful position in the world, refuses to assert any of his authority.
Obama’s unwillingness to flex his muscle was first seen when Democrats were ready to tar and feather Connecticut Sen. Joe Liebermann for his stern opposition to then-Sen. Barack Obama, who was battling against Sen. John McCain. Democrats wanted to strip Liebermann of his committee assignments, but Obama squashed that, saying it wasn’t necessary. How did Liebermann repay the president for his support? By being a thorn in his side during the health care debate.
I would say that when you save someone’s butt, it’s fair to think you can lean on him when you need to. Didn’t happen.
When the obscene AIG bonuses became public in early 2009, the American people reacted angrily, wanting to take off the heads of Wall Street executives. The White House, however, responded with delayed righteous indignation. Then it did nothing.
The president talks tough with banks one day and then extends the olive branch the next. At the same time, the banks put the screws to the American people, taking the homes of the taxpayers who lent the fat-cat bankers billions and kept them from losing their multiple-million-dollar mansions.
What did JP Morgan Chase leader Jamie Dimon do? He criticized Obama for picking on bankers, saying it was wrong to keep blaming them, despite the fact that their destructive plans of jacking up quarterly stock prices with foul schemes nearly destroyed the world financial system. So the president helped fatten their balance sheets and they still dumped on him? Has he jumped on their banks for refusing to modify loans? Nope. Their plan of action, according to HUD Secretary Shawn Donovan, is voluntary.
It is abundantly clear that Obama is unwilling to fire back at the critics who disrespect him and the office of the president.
He wants to take the high ground, while his critics are ripping the earth out from beneath him. Instead of taking charge of his agenda, he’s willing to let others blow him off to pursue their own.
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