To say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement. About a week before the 2008 presidential election, I was talking to a friend who had just informed me he had decided to vote for Barack Obama. "Why, given the most serious state of national and international affairs we were facing, would you be so willing to roll the dice on a political novice like Obama?" I asked. His incredible response: "Sarah Palin."
It was his concern that she was unprepared to be just a heartbeat away from the presidency, and if something were to happen to John McCain, she might be thrust into a role where inexperience can be deadly. So his solution was to vote a man into that very office who had far less experience than even Palin. Amazing.
I have often wondered if 18 months into the tenure of what is quite apparently the most woefully unprepared president the United States has ever known, my friend is among the ever-growing majority of Americans who regret the Obama gamble.
Domestically, we have seen Obama take the staggering deficit and debt he inherited and double down on it. Even now, as studies show our debt preparing to overtake our Gross Domestic Product (a watershed moment that virtually guarantees an economic calamity on par with the meltdown occurring in Greece), rather than declaring a national economic emergency that requires deep cuts in government spending, President Obama is attempting to add billions more to his unsustainable budget.
We have witnessed the man whose primary constitutional responsibility is to carry out the laws of Congress utterly fail to enforce those laws regarding border security and immigration. As a result of his flagrant dereliction of duty, Americans are being killed and individual border states like Arizona have had to assume the task of doing it themselves, only to be criticized by the negligent president himself.
Then, in dealing with the environmental disaster occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, our President has looked like a deer in the headlights. He vacationed in the early days until media reports hammered him for not visiting the region. So he visited, and then declared a moratorium on all off shore drilling, destroying thousands of American jobs. Then when media reports suggested he wasn't being tough enough on those responsible, the President went on the Today show and cussed. Impressive stuff.
Then came last week's bizarre Oval Office address. Such speeches are historically reserved for wars, which is appropriate given that Obama announced the next front in his war on the American middle class. Outlining nothing meaningful to the problem in the Gulf, the President called for a massive national energy tax that if enacted will increase the average family's cost of living by thousands of dollars per year, completely destroy the auto and manufacturing industries in our country, and send the economy into a tailspin from which it will never recover.
On the positive side, BP - the original architects of the energy tax Obama proposes - will benefit tremendously.
And yet if it's possible, the President has proven to be worse in the dangerous world of foreign affairs. He has foolishly sided with thug communists like Castro, Chavez, and Ortega over the democratic demands of the Honduran people, stood shamefully silent while freedom-loving Iranian citizens were beaten to death in their streets, and has joined the jackals in condemning Israel's completely rational and legal right to defend itself from annihilation. And despite promising how his departure from Bush's "go-it-alone" strategy would bring the world to our side, the record is unmistakable: Bush led the UN to unanimously condemn Iran's nuclear plans three times. Obama's best effort failed to convince even two close allies.
We're learning the hard way: Barack Obama was spectacularly unprepared for this office.
Following that recent Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill, even President Obama's most ardent supporters seemed baffled at his incompetence. MSNBC's tag team of Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews could barely find words to explain how pathetic the president's speech was. Olbermann stammered, "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days.nothing specific was said at all." And Matthews - the same man who just 19 months ago was getting thrills up his leg at the mere sound of Obama's voice - concluded, "No direction...I don't sense executive command."
The reason for that, Chris, is that there is none. The man who now occupies the White House is overmatched, overwhelmed and overcome by the responsibilities of an office he was not equipped to assume. An office that is now - much to the chagrin of an embarrassed nation - utterly dwarfing him.