I have some sad news for you all. Our President of the United States, Barack Obama is not…
A wizard. He’s also not a magician. He has no access to a magic wand that will reduce gas prices, give you a job, lower the deficit, or make your girlfriend come back to you. Sure, the POTUS is by far the single most powerful man in the country, and arguably the free world. However, our Constitution is written in a way that creates checks and balances between the 3 branches of our government. In case your civics teacher was high on crystal meth: there’s the executive branch (the Prez), the judicial branch, and the legislative branch (Congress). (Ex. “Obamacare” was passed by Congress, and then signed into existence by the POTUS).
Maybe the confusion about Obama’s mystical powers stems from the messaging of his 2008 campaign. President Obama successfully won enough of the electorate with a message of change and hope. Nevertheless, during his acceptance speech that brisk November 4thnight, BHO stated:
“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem.”
Maybe you didn’t hear that because you were in the streets giving fist bumps to strangers and screaming at the top of your lungs. I recall that night vividly; I was at The Park at 14th and a close friend of mine was vacillating between moments of disbelief, excitement, elation, and tearful reminiscing on those who missed the historic moment. So I’ll grant you all a pass on missing that speech.
But what about common sense? Why do people think Obama can be any and all things to everyone? I attended a town hall on the economy with Obama about a month ago and the questions lobbed at him were unbelievable.
1. What are you going to do about the gas prices, Mr. President?
2. Mr. President, I work for the National Zoo, and they told me I’d be laid off in July. What would you do if you were me?
There’s a reason I will never be president. My response to the zoo lady would have been: “I don’t know... update my resume?! Look for another job?!”
Through a good old Howard hookup, I also had the pleasure of attending a Town Hall on the Economy with Republican-elected officials this week. The message from the leaders on the right is clear: Obama has failed (horribly) at everything.
A friend of mine, who voted for Obama in ’08 and considers himself middle of the road, told me emphatically, “Obama has done nothing for the economy. Nothing.”
I can think of a few folks that would disagree.
- The four million children now covered under the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act (Healthcare costs are directly related to the economy!)
- The thousands holding down newly created jobs in the private sector (more created during this administration than during the entire Bush administration)
- The millions driving on repaired roads, working at new energy jobs, and using bank accounts secured because of the Reinvestment Act of 2009
- The women now protected against pay discrimination under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
I believe we should hold all elected officials responsible for their actions, good and bad. As my friend Trae would say, we elect them to represent the will of the American people. It makes senseto criticize policies, ideas and ideologies. It does not make sense to criticize someone for not achieving the impossible.
At some point, we have to acknowledge that change is not embodied in one man, and it certainly doesn’t happen solely in one term, especially when you’re handed a filthy diaper of a country and expected to turn it into a glistening Thanksgiving meal. (That made no sense, but neither do folks’ expectations of Obama). We've got a better chance of getting a miracle from a Washington Wizard, John Wall. (I mean have you seen his stats??!)