For nearly a year I have hesitated writing this piece, hoping that Barack Obama would become an effective President. After 32 months in office, Mr. Obama is clearly the wrong man, in the wrong place at the wrong time. The senator from Illinois took office following a campaign for "change." He never clearly explained to the American people what that meant.
Mr. Obama did inherit an economic crisis of great magnitude. The subprime mortgage industry, Wall Street, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the SEC, several former cabinet officers and members of Congress, especially Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, share the blame. It was good politics for the new president to blame it all on George Bush, who of course must bear some responsibility. Mr. Obama, however, refuses to recognize the fact that George Bush, Henry Paulson and the Congress prevented the collapse of our national economy with the TARP bailout which ranks among the courageous political decisions in recent American history, despite the critics who bear no responsibility for their reckless opposition. At least in January 2009, Mr. Obama inherited an economy which was still afloat.
Where has this president failed us? Most critically, he substitutes "talk" for effective policies and actions. He brought prolific speaking ability to the Presidency, but no tough administrative and national policy decision making skills. Consequently, he came to the Presidency woefully unprepared, believing that he can talk himself out of any problem. Mr. Obama with a current job approval rating of 39 percent would be lost without a bully pulpit and a teleprompter.
President Obama has failed to grow in the office. Harry Truman was also poorly prepared for the presidency which he assumed after FDR's death. When he left Washington in 1953, he had demonstrated great courage and had mastered the issues and procedures of the federal government. Conversely, the Presidency was too big for Jimmy Carter who left office as inept and ineffectual as he entered it. Barack Obama unfortunately is on the Carter track.
What policies does Mr. Obama have to deal with stagnant economic growth and an unemployment figure at 9.1 percent, not to mention another 6- percent to 10 percent of the work force no longer looking for a job. Higher taxes, another huge stimulus, or thousands more Federal employees do not qualify as job creating policies. Obama can't accept the fact that major new job creation will only come through the private sector. He is much too slow in removing the countless Federal Government impediments to private sector job growth.
Illegal Immigration remains a critical problem for America. Mr. Obama's primary approach is to condemn states who try to deal with his ineffective Federal effort. Consequently the Justice Department has sued Arizona and Alabama in Federal Courts for their efforts to deal with this serious problem on their own. Meanwhile the illegals and the drugs keep streaming across our borders.
Energy policy requires no elaboration. Gas prices remain too high, and in Utah they are going up. Real solutions to our energy dilemma will have to wait for a new policy maker.
Seldom has such a major piece of critical legislation been so badly handled as Mr. Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi handled Obamacare. The huge bill written by congressional Democrats became a hodgepodge of new federal offices and authorities and significant new costs which then passed the Congress along party lines despite stiff opposition from the American people and after several disgraceful political deals. Nancy Pelosi said the House had to pass it before the American people could learn what was in the legislation. Unfortunately there was no tort reform for the medical profession. Health care reform is not possible in this country without addressing this huge problem.
The American people have just witnessed a grueling and frustrating leadership failure over the past several months as our hapless president and a bitterly divided Congress struggled mightily to deal with our crushing foreign debt and domestic deficits. What was enacted into law on Aug.2, was a necessary beginning, despite the naysayers. It was a sad commentary, however, on the divisions in this country and how prostituted and gutless the congressional legislative process has become. Mr. Obama bears much of the blame for this recent crisis. I don't recall a more irresponsible fiscal act by an American President than Obama's 2012 budget which carries a $1.6 trillion deficit. Something close to a balanced budget would have averted much but not all of the recent crisis. Meanwhile public debt continues to crush the federal government.
Obama's political base is a critical part of America's fiscal problems. We are presently watching the pathetic spectacle of the President trying to stabilize his left wing political base at the expense of all Americans. There are certain aspects of union political operations which are flat wrong in today's America, and yet Mr. Obama supports them. Only 22 states in America have "right to work" laws. Under current practice several unions collect compulsory dues and without the individual's written consent donate part of that money to PAC's and causes selected by the union leaders. Consequently countless union members in America are being forced to donate to politicians and parties with whom they don't agree. Mr. Obama not only doesn't oppose this practice, he benefits from it as do hundreds of elected Federal, state and municipal legislators. The consequences are obvious: huge deficits passed by Congress, state legislatures and local governments.
Finally, I don't believe that most Americans share Barack Obama's view that as a nation our best years are over. His recent expression that America can lead from behind in world affairs is a defeatist mentality. True, China, terrorism, pressure on natural resources, world trade and suffocating debt are huge challenges for America and the world, but to which country is he going to abdicate the role exercised in the past by the United States.
One of the great rights guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution is to peacefully remove incumbents from public office, an act which they performed brilliantly in the 1980 Presidential election and the 2010 Congressional elections. The American people spoke, but Mr. Obama refuses to listen. The solution for America's leadership and economic crisis therefore is to retire Barack Obama. He is the wrong man, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can only rebuild our economy, deal with a host of domestic problems and exercise effective world leadership if we find the courage to elect a Reagan or a Truman to replace our inept incumbent in 2012.
Wolthuis, PhD, lives in Pleasant View and is a former special assistant to President Ford. He served twice as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.