Posted by: Scott Groves | January 3, 2012

Presidential Accountability

Recently I read a Real Clear Politics editorial that was a couple days late.  My friend Andrew Viertel and I had already debated this issue extensively on Facebook.

I can save you from having to re-read the full RCP article.  The jist is that through recent GOP presidential debates and policy releases, Republicans have become responsible and accountable for their actions and ideas.  Meanwhile, the Press is giving Obama a free pass.

In the last 5 months, Obama has said little regarding the domestic and international issues that affect the citizens of the United States.  Yes, he sometimes sends Hillary Clinton or some nameless staff member out to the media to “convey” his idea… but this is not what leadership is about.

But wait you say, wasn’t Obama suppose to be the overnight savior 3 years ago when he was elected? Aren’t most of America’s problems already supposed to be fixed? Wasn’t Obama supposed to usher in a new era of political transparency and accountability?

Or is it possible his flawed policies have made the housing slump, national deficit and economic outlook for this country worse?  And as such, he plans to hide behind his minions as the Republican candidates tear each-other apart in-front of the cameras.

Ironically, I give Obama a “pass” on a lot of stuff that he’s done (or not done).  I’m definitely more forgiving than other Republicans.  Unlike most conservatives, I haven’t watched Fox News in years because I don’t feel like hearing a constant attack on the man elected to lead our country.

Since 2009 I have had this picture in my mind of Obama and his team settling in for their first daily blue-sheet briefing where he gets the important security and international updates from the CIA / Military.

After being briefed about casualties from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, covert military actions world-wide, plots to attack the US, and getting asked to make decisions about foreign policy and military tactics on the spot with limited information…. Obama starts rubbing his temples and says out-loud “holy-fuck, this shit is for real. No way we can release those Gitmo bastards [like I promised]. I need a cigarette.”

This meeting, where the realizations of being President versus Campaigner sets in is something that must rock the world of every President.  I get it.  Being President has to be the toughest job in the world.  Furthermore, in today’s partisan climate, no-matter what he does, Obama is going to piss off at least 40% of Americans.

I truly think Obama has been plagued by the headache of doing what he thinks will “work” versus doing what his political base “wants”.

That is why he committed to 50,000 new troops in Afghanistan (but stopped short of the 80K generals wanted). Committed to keeping troops in Afghanistan to get the job done, but won’t give Generals till next year to complete the mission (he needs troops home prior to elections of course).  Obama escalated the war in Pakistan (and to his credit approved the killing of Bin Laden) but generally only use drones and not troops on the ground to cross the border regions.

For me, much of what Obama has done internationally comes right from the light version of the McCain / Bush doctrine, and I’m O.K. with that (more-or-less).

He also hasn’t sat-down with the leaders of N. Korea, Iran, Hamas, or Pakistan – something he promised to do in his first year – and I’m OK with that as well.

Even domestically, much of what Obama has done falls into the – “I fundamentally and politically disagree with his policies, but I understand his ideals”.

Conversely, I think many Americans felt exactly the opposite about Bush.

Most Americans, if asked today, probably feel removing Saddam, the prescription drug benefit plan, cutting taxes, and increasing foreign aid are all in-fact “good things”, or at least “net-positives” for the world/country… however, a large number of Americans could never “understand” where Bush was coming from with his policy decisions or budget plans.

What bothers me is the absolute echo-chamber that is created when a Republican President makes a mistake or breaks a campaign promise. How many times, even recently, have I seen this clip replayed by the media.

Additionally, I have probably seen this picture  ten times in the last two months being posted on new-sites and blogs.  Somehow this photo is “proof” that Bush was a moron and Obama is the one who actually has “accomplished” some good on the international stage.

My point is that I don’t see the same type of negative press or critical assessments coming down on Obama. Many of Obama’s biggest campaign promises have been broken.  However, these broken promises (or out-right deceptions) simply get glossed over or explained away by the media.  I cannot believe how much of a free pass Obama gets from the media and liberal voters now that we are 3-years into his Presidency and not much has changed since Bush was President.

As a true conservative I can probably name about a dozen things “W” did that really pissed me off, eventually I voted for him in 2004 because he was the lesser of two evils.  At times I was unhappy and critical of the President I voted for.

So far, in 3 years, I have yet to see any of my  liberal friends post a single critical assessment of Obama’s failures or broken promises.

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