While watching President Obama deliver his budget deficit reduction speech yesterday, I couldn't help wondering, "Is he just too good for us? Do we not deserve him?"
He started with a plea for us to follow his line of thinking. This is "reality" he began, and went on to describe a pretty much factually-based account of the last few decades of U.S. government spending and the economic realities entwined with it.
President Obama noted the utter failure of Reaganomics (though he shrewdly avoided using the term) in structuring a healthy, evolving economy back in the 80s. The remarkable ascent of the U.S. economy alongside an equally remarkable descent of the national budget in the 1990s was described before he moved onto the still-tender wounds that are the U.S. economy and the national debt over the past decade. Always a master of his medium, Obama avoided direct reference to political affiliations or presidential names unless speaking well of them in his speech. What can I say? He's a pro at this.
Though many of us can fairly criticize Obama leaning right since taking office, it is also seems fair to note the truly deranged are counted among his political opponents. We have seen a river swell (lets pray we Progressives, Blue Dems, and Independents keep it from becoming a tsunami) of rage against Obama including wing-nuts abandoning the national currency and printing their own. Secessionists are running for Governor in Texas- openly.
The douche-bag with a bad wig, otherwise known as Candidate Trump, is trying to persuade the U.S. electorate the most powerful man in the nation, the man watching over all the weapons and surveillance technology a delusional paranoid could imagine and more, is willfully lying about his birthplace so that he, as a foreign actor, can take over the free world. Many of Obama's political opponents are beyond the type of weird even the American political system can spit out (I live in Minnesota and need mention no more on that subject) moving into some kind of Disney-on-acid-villains-with-bad-hair dimension. Alice IS Wonderland, and watch out Jefferson Starship, we're going down the rabbit hole at the bottom of the rabbit hole.
But we were given warning signs of this vehemence from the Right in recent history. Remember how viciously they went after Clinton? Republican behavior back in the Grunge days seemed to indicate a thinking process somewhere along the lines of:
"How dare you, President Clinton, learn to responsibly and competently steer the political and economic mother ship that is the United States! Damn you intelligent, driven, self-made man! We will destroy you no matter what it takes! What? All it takes is an intern and a BJ? Sweet. We're back in the game for the 2000 election no matter how stale our ideas or soundly they were disproven over the last decade. Americans hate BJs when not viewed from an internet site!"
All that and Clinton's father was White! No wonder the wrath of the dry, stale, rigid men who sit so uncomfortably in their skin alongside their equally agitated wives is stoked by Obama. He possesses the intelligence, drive and cunning of Clinton, AND he seems impervious to the smiles of college-aged interns. Despite the far-flung flapping of Trump's strangely-shaped lips, only the truly loosey-gooseys are buying the whole "Obama is a Muslim born in Africa from an Arab father and an Alien-from-Mars mother with green skin and three breasts!” argument.
For the more serious American voters, we need to remember the lessons of the late 1990s and 2000. By failing to support the competent leadership we had in place, we allowed in a decade of merciless, corrupt and willfully ignorant leadership that has taken violent aim at people overseas and those at home who oppose their absolute power. How different would the budget speech of 2011 have been if Al Gore was allowed his elected position as President of the United States eleven years ago? Can you imagine how different the world would be generally today, how many people still employed, or in their homes, or alive if we Dems had fought for justice when our elected president was denied his position by backroom deals of the politically elite in 2000? Our apathy when Bush stole that election had unimaginable consequences for our nation and many others, as well. Lest we forget.
Obama is a smart man working a brutal room. He appears to be doing so earnestly and with gaining success. He has brought forward what he could on health care, gay rights, and financial reform. His leadership could bring further advances in these and other hugely important issues such as education and the environment with our support. If we do not recognize the victories of his leadership along with his failures, and neglect to contextualize his job performance with that of his political opponents, then we don't deserve him. We do not deserve good leadership if we cannot act intelligently as an electorate. And the recent consequences of bad leadership should still be sirens screaming a warning for 2012.