Vail Valley Voices: Obama needs a ‘W’
After watching the latest round of Sunday talk shows and listen-ing to both liberal and conserva-tive pundits, I’ve come to the conclusion that President Barack Obama needs a “W” – no, not as in Dubya, but a “W” as in a “win.”
A quick glance back over the past 10 months reveals that the last big win for Obama was on Elec-tion Day 2008. Since that time, he’s endured a number of setbacks, with the Olympic rebuff being just the latest. As George Will suc-cinctly put it on ABC’s ” This Week,” the world may adore him, but it ignores him. Obama has asked our NATO allies to take our Gitmo pris-oners; their answer was a resounding no, which will result in a broken promise to close Git-mo by year’s end. He’s also asked those same NATO nations to send more combat troops to Afghanistan – once again his appeal has fallen upon deaf ears. He’s petitioned Honduras to reinstate its president, Israel to stop building settlements and the Palestinians to engage with Israel in meaningful talks – in each case he’s been rebuffed just as he was in Copenhagen.
He’s appealed diplomatically to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to come clean about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he’s lobbied the Russians to part-ner with us in implementing new sanctions against that nation; he’s asked the Saudis to make a con-ciliatory gesture towards Israel and has asked both India and China to restrict their greenhouse gas emissions – the answers have been no, no, no, no and no! He told us that without the “stimulus,” unemployment would exceed 8 percent; well, he got his stimulus from the Con-gress, and, eight months later, unem-ployment is approach-ing 10 percent. Of course, we all heard White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tell us rather didactically that “the economy was in worse shape than we thought.” While that contention is debat-able, it nevertheless doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in the administration’s abili-ty to evaluate complex situations and then implement effective solutions. Let’s all hope they’re a little more precise in how they go about assessing Afghanistan and Iran.
One thing for sure, though – the administration is going to have a difficult time blaming the Bush administration for current situations in those two countries. Back in September of 2001, the United States Congress voted as close to unanimously as possible for the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Terrorists. The House approved the meas-ure by 420 to 1, the Senate 98 to 0. Add to that, as recently as last March, President Obama has said, “Afghanistan is not a war of choice.”
Going back even further, the 2004 presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, John Ker-ry said, “George Bush took his eye off the ball by invading Iraq. I would have focused on Afghanistan,” leaving little doubt as to the official Democratic position on that theater of war. It’s also going to be difficult to blame the Iranian situation on Bush because the Iranians pur-chased their nuclear technology from France and Germany dur-ing the Clinton years, long before George W. Bush took office.
President Obama has never tried to embrace the right and is now losing much of the center, leaving him with only the left and far left as his primary constituen-cy (29 percent of potential voters strongly approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president, while 39 per-cent strongly disapprove for a “favorability rating” of minus 10.) Where then is the President going to get his “W”? I suspect it will be with health care. Politics being politics, Barack Obama has no choice but to win this one, and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the hard left will not let him fail.
So look for health care to pass, albeit a watered-down version, Iran to continue its march towards becoming a nuclear power and another spending stimulus of some kind in an attempt to reverse the unem-ployment figures before the 2010 election.
Quote of the day: ” The one thing our founding fathers could not foresee … was a nation gov-erned by professional politicians whose primary interest was get-ting re-elected. They probably envisioned a fellow serving a couple of hitches and then eagerly looking forward to get-ting back to the farm.” – Ronald Reagan
Butch Mazzuca is an Edwards resident.