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[personal profile] stusegal

This is my public announcement that I’m withdrawing my support for Barack Obama, meaning I’ll actively support someone else for President in 2012.

I’m publically declaring this for 2 reasons:

  1. About 14 months ago, the morning after the President was elected, I blogged urging all my friends to throw their support behind him.  No, I was not one of his supporters, but I felt strongly that the only way we could end this incessant polarization was if we all genuinely got behind our new President, and gave him a fair chance to prove himself.
  2. A few days ago, my friend Mike wrote in one of his Facebook exchanges with me “ . . . but I read your blog and I am skeptical that you have ever, for more than the briefest instance, expressed optimism in the election of Barack Obama.”

Let me address the second point first  -  “briefest instance”.  In the 14 months since I called for unity, I have spoken out in my journal against the President’s actions twice  -  both times as a result of the U.S.’ weak response to the North Koreans’ missile tests.  Conversely, in the same time period, in my daily life, I have spoken in defense of the President and urged support countless times.  I am not obliged to blindly support him forever  -  14 months is long enough.

Since I declared I would support him, I now feel obliged to explain why I will not continue (and it should be noted I have waited until the right moment to make this announcement, as I wanted to do it at the best possible time so the President wouldn’t lose sleep over losing me at a critical time):

It’s been a year since he took office  -  not a terribly long time, but long enough to observe the general modus operandi of the administration, the President’s commitment to his campaign promises, and his ability to lead the country.  And there are two key things I’ve been looking for  -  the first is his promise to bring a change to Washington, and the second is his ability to lead.

  • OK, so the first, bringing a change to Washington.  Throughout his campaign he spoke of this, repeatedly, endlessly.  Never any specifics, but the way he spoke made it sound like there would be an end to lobbyists, an end to backroom deals.  It sounded like we would have honest, transparent government.  Like the political animals should head for the hills because there was a new sheriff in town.

This message resonated with many, including me.  I am tired of Washington shenanigans, the lies, the bait and switch.  The only difference with me being older than most of you is, I have had to tolerate it longer than you.  Washington has been a hornet’s nest for as long as I remember, with Republican ne’er-do-wells (engineering things like break-ins to their opponents campaign headquarters) and Democratic ne’er-do-wells (eliciting oral sex from interns in the Oval Office) - - and we have occasionally had brief glimpses of selfless individuals sacrificing their energy and their lives for their constituents.  Brief, far too brief.

So when someone declares they will bring a change, I will listen.  I could go on and on about what’s happened in Washington this year, but the bottom line is . . . Where’s The Change?  Changing one set of conniving politicians for another set is not the change I hoped for.  I have to assume from the President’s silence and lack of action to clean up the hornet’s nest, it is OK with him.  It is not OK with me.

  • And the second matter, leadership.  And the definition is - “the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.”

I thought I saw this in Obama.  He showed the ability to motivate a very lot of people to work for him, and to vote for him.  He showed the ability to get people like myself, who have a lot of trouble identifying with the message of the major parties, to listen.

I, and I think many others, assumed (or hoped) that he would have the same effect on our Senators and Representatives, and would easily get them to follow his lead.  And, his own party took a majority in both houses of Congress . . . . a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate . . . . which means that the Democrat controlled Congress was positioned to pass any legislation they wanted, and could not be stopped by the Republicans.  I won’t go into long tiresome detail here, but what significant legislation has Obama led the Congress to pass in the last year?  Health Care, his number 1 goal, has been stalled for the entire year, even though his party had the votes to pass it any time they wanted.  Has he been able to convince his own party to get behind him?  Remember, the Republicans and the Independents didn’t have the votes to stop the Dems.

(And now that the people of Massachusetts have replaced Ted Kennedy with a Republican, the Dems have lost their filibuster-proof Senate.  And Obama suddenly is meeting with the Republicans for the first time.  On the surface, to gain their support  -  more likely to be able to say he tried, they blocked him, and be able to blame them for stopping his legislation.  Even though he could not convince his own party to pass the legislation when they were unstoppable.)

I could go on, but the reality is, he can’t get even his own party going in the right direction for long enough to pass his most important bill, let alone being able to “reach across the aisle” and get any of the opposition to support him.

So my conclusion is:

  1. He has not brought the change he promised to Washington.  Whether his intentions were pure is academic – he hasn’t delivered, and there’s no indication that he’s going to.
  2. He has not displayed the ability to lead the government, even though he continues to show the ability to get people to like him through his speeches and his rockstar persona.  Again he hasn’t delivered.

So I go back to the old axiom “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  I am done being fooled.  The results, or lack thereof, speak for themselves.  We clearly need a change in Washington, starting with the do-nothing incumbents who control the Congress this November, and the say-a-lot but do-nothing residents of the White House in 2012.

(ps.  -  I hope my timing was okay Mr. President – I would hate you to lose sleep over this)
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