There is a growing sense in the country that America is in decline. It is not a slow, prolonged deterioration stemming from some inherent defect, but rather a sudden precipitous fall, pointing to a failure in leadership. In fact, a solid majority of Americans now question this President’s leadership.
While polls continuously fluctuate, today they universally reflect a clear reversal of the widespread public support Obama enjoyed when he was first elected. But he hasn’t changed since then. Our opinions changed because of his failed leadership. And why didn’t we anticipate that before his election? It is true that, early on, we could not have known about his character flaws - his indecisiveness, his duplicity, his petulance and boundless arrogance. We could not have known about the many scandals that were to come. But even before his first election, we should have known that we knew nothing about the man’s character. We should have recognized the many troubling signs though, some subtle, and some abundantly clear, suggesting that he might not be suitable for the Oval Office. They were indictments on his perception of America, his vision for our future, and his competence for the job.
Considering his background, we now know why Obama seems less concerned about America’s security than about his personal agenda. We understand why he has diminished American prestige on the world stage, why he has decimated our military and our border control, exposing Americans to more crime, potentially more terrorism, and now a dreaded, usually fatal virus. And we now know he was serious about fundamentally transforming the country. It wasn’t just a slip of the tongue. It was the first time a viable U.S. presidential candidate openly talked about punishing ambition and success in order to expand the welfare rolls. He called it spreading the wealth. There were other troubling hints. All those years spent absorbing the racist, anti-Semitic preaching by his self-described mentor should have provided some clue about his view of race relations in America. Now, six years into his presidency, his perception has become our reality. Racial tensions in this country have deteriorated to a level not seen since the 1960s.
And those who suddenly see him as incompetent should have paid closer attention in 2008 to his utter and complete lack of experience in government, in business, and in life.
Now we’re dealing with that mistake.
As his popularity sinks to new lows, fellow Democrats are stampeding for the door. The scene is both pathetic and surreal. It’s as if someone sounded the fire alarm at a crowded Democratic convention. Democratic candidates are avoiding him like the plague, and former cabinet members are writing books criticizing his leadership. Even the New York Times recently published an article entitled “In This Election, Obama’s Party Benches Him.” In Kentucky, Democratic senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes refused to even acknowledge her support for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections. When asked about it, she responded, “This election isn’t about the President.”
Ms. Grimes is wrong about that. This election is, in a very real sense, about Barack Obama. For the past six years, Harry Reid and the Democrats enabled Obama to implement his agenda. It wasn’t just Obamacare. They supported him and shielded him, endorsed him, encouraged him and embraced him. They gave him everything he wanted. Throughout his presidency, the Democrats have been one with Barack Obama. There is simply no reason to believe that would change if they retain control of the Senate.
The Democrats, along with Barack Obama, are responsible for where we are today. Their sudden and dramatic rejection of Obama and his policies is no surprise. Personal responsibility and accountability have always been elusive concepts to the Democratic Party, and there is, after all, an election to win. But there is something unseemly about their self-serving awakening. To them, the decision to distance themselves from an unpopular President is simply a pragmatic solution to a difficult problem. And while those in Obama’s camp call it disloyal and dishonorable, most everyone sees it as cowardly and hypocritical. Whatever it is, it is not commitment and it’s not leadership.
While Obama’s dismal favorability has created an encouraging environment for Republicans, a Senate turnover in November is not a foregone conclusion, for Obama still has a solid, albeit shrinking, base. There are the mindless, mawkish groupies, like actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who are simply infatuated with the man. There are the students who haven’t quite learned to think for themselves, but who flawlessly regurgitate the anti-American philosophies taught by their professors. There are the healthy, life-long welfare recipients who depend on Obama’s largess for all the things that others work for. And, of course there are the party loyalists. These are the voters Obama is counting on.
It’s been said that in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. Seventy to 80 percent of America believes the country deserves better. They believe we are headed in the wrong direction. They can start to nudge the country back on course if they mobilize in November and take the Senate away from Obama’s Democratic enablers. If they don’t, the country will continue to spiral downward. It will become Obama’s vision of America, a reflection of his distorted principles and values, an unexceptional nation hopelessly divided and void of national pride, personal responsibility, and ethical leadership.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published on line and in print.
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