I'm not an Obama-Hater. I am just no longer a fan. I do not regret campaigning and voting for him in the last general election. I still figure him to have been a better POTUS than John McCain. By far. But I have more than a slight case of buyer's remorse for my not having loved Hillary Clinton more in the 2008 primary. Oh well. I still believe Barry's last name starts with an 'Oh' and not a 'zer0'.
I liked what Max Hastings said about Barry O so much yesterday (As Afghanistan falters and the Middle East burns, how Obama is missing in action), that I just have to amplify parts of his article.
.... Obama’s foreign policy is characterised by caution: towards Iran, China and now Libya.Let me explain why I have not included criticisms of specific foreign policy decisions or indecisions.
.... America’s allies are bemused by the almost Trappist silence of this U.S. President, his reluctance to engage with many of the huge things that are happening both to his own country and to the world.
.... He entered office proclaiming ‘yes, we can’, and declared a nobly ambitious agenda.
.... The President, like his Democratic Party, has set his face against doing anything meaningful about America’s unsustainable burden of debt.
.... He proclaimed a commitment to peace in the Middle East, but Israeli stubbornness, endorsed by much of Congress, has confounded him.
.... This cool - indeed cold, cerebral - man understands the world’s and his own country’s problems better than almost any American President in history.
He entered office as a crusader mantled in a glittering white cloak. Yet he lacks a vital political gift, which empowered Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan: the ability to make the American people feel good about themselves.
His remoteness reflects an arrogance rooted in a curious lack of interest in people save as a political study. While the world welcomed Obama as a transformational figure, he shows no sign of wishing to fulfil any such grand role.
Indeed, the White House is obsessed with a single issue: how to get its man re-elected in November 2012.
..... Americans who inhabit the real world - which means the majority - recoil from the Republicans’ excesses as much as we do from the extreme Right in Britain.
They look with gratitude upon a President who, whatever his limitations, never speaks or acts less than rationally. But it is dismaying to see this brilliant man’s accomplishments fall so far short of the world’s hopes.
..... I am still convinced of the power of American creativity and energy to pull this country through its current troubles, to maintain pole position in the world for some decades yet.
I am much less sure, however, about whether Barack Obama will fulfil his extraordinary potential as a national leader.
A Washington admirer of the President urged me: ‘Don’t lose faith. If he gets re-elected, Congress will have to give him a break whether the Republicans like it or not. He may still do fine things that astonish us.’
Yet to do great deeds, a leader must fight tough fights. Obama has sat on his hands while many of the policies he trumpeted when he came to power ... have vanished into the sand.
A warm admirer of the President in 2008 says: ‘I must admit that I’m disappointed in him.’ Millions of Democrats share this view, while millions of Republicans hate him.
For those of us who embraced Obama’s professed idealism and high intelligence back in 2008, his passivity is depressing and frustrating.
Given the way the American system of government works - or often does not work - maybe this would-be visionary President was bound to succumb to the sordid demands of machine politics.
We dreamers will keep hoping Obama may still lay claim to greatness. But he is leaving it awfully late.
It used to be said that the occupant of Oval Office in the White House is the most powerful man in the world. That is no longer the case. In this century, armed expeditions into nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan have squandered our national military and economic resources such that the unipolar world promised Americans was D.O.A.
Now we have Lillputin image of - putively - the world's largest and most powerful democracy merely witnessing historic events instead of rising to the challenges they pose.