President Obama, who gave himself a B+ for his first year in office, a grade which, had it been given out to students at a university with similar accomplishments would have sparked a cheating scandal, patted himself on the back once again by saying his decision on sending troops to Afghanistan proves he knows how to make the hard, but politically unpopular decisions.
What it really proves is that Obama, as always, tries to twist the facts and distort them to suit his own political standing.
Every poll has shown that his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan has been politically popular with over 65% supporting it even though people are not, on the whole, happy that we are there fighting. And why should they be?
What he doesn't say is that he did everything he could to make as politically popular a decision as possible, announcing a troop increase and a troop withdrawal at the same time setting a new world record for duplicity in less than 60 seconds.
That is pure Obama, only this time it went over like a lead drone, with people from both parties criticizing his announced withdrawal date which made him look foolish.
His attempt at trying to explain it fell flat too, saying he wanted to give the Afghans a date so they knew the commitment was not open ended. But Obama could have given Karzai that date privately. His announcing it was for purely domestic political purposes and once again, he hoped people would be dumb enough to accept it, and some were, especially in the press.
But Obama doesn't talk about are the tough decisions he didn't make. He " didn't want to meddle" when the Iranian people revolted against a rigged election and took to the streets. It was the best opportunity the US has had in more than 30 years to affect a regime change by supporting and encouraging the protestors, letting them know the US and the rest of the world supported them and at the same time he could have roundly condemned the Iranian government for their deadly crackdown on the demonstrators.
It was a golden opportunity for Obama and the US to at least make an attempt to destabilize that regime which was teetering. Instead, Obama was the only leader in the West who backed away, saying he " didn't want to meddle".
An opportunity that was lost because of Obama's unwillingness to stand up for what was right, and make a hard decision.
It should be said that now, with more riots on the streets of Iran, he is saying the kinds of things he should have said six months ago, and might have had a bigger impact with hundreds of thousands of protestors on the streets instead of the thousands there are now. Maybe better late than never.
But that might not be true with healthcare reform where, like trying to appease Ahmandinejad six months ago and nothing to show for it, Obama backed off and sold out the public option in order to appease Joe Lieberman at the expense of the wishes of 58 others.
The truth about Obama and making tough political decisions is this: during his entire tenure in the Illinois state senate, Obama voted "present" over 100 times. That means he decided to neither vote for or against a bill, obviously to avoid making any kind of unpopular vote and not having a record someone could run against.
The fact is no one thinks more of Obama than Obama, and like his self graded B+, it is mostly unjustified in terms of real accomplishment. And with failures or tepid successes in areas where real progress and change could have been affected by someone with the courage and moral conviction to achieve them, Obama has fallen well short. And those failures and his self praise seems now to be wearing thin, even among his most ardent supporters.
Tidbits: Jane Caro - Here’s another short piece by Jane Caro. This one is at a TedTalk and she talks about getting older. There’s a lot here that is relevant to the next presid...
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