Archive for Saturday, July 6, 2013

Simons’ Saturday Column: How will Obama react to growing challenges, criticism?

July 6, 2013

Advertisement

These are dangerous times for the United States with troubles abroad, terrorism efforts, economic challenges, domestic issues and political posturing affecting our nation’s stature abroad.

The individual bearing the brunt of the pressures arising out of these troubles or issues is the president. He has the ultimate responsibility for how Uncle Sam will address or react to these matters. It is a tough, demanding and extremely important job and responsibility.

In addition to the issues or challenges noted above, there also is the matter of how Obama will handle the growing questioning of or opposition to many of his policies, both domestic and abroad, and how this will affect the country — particularly the policies he favors to make the “fundamental changes” he thinks are necessary.

During the first four years of his presidency, Obama enjoyed relatively easy sailing. He had won a convincing victory over GOP candidate John McCain. In fact, he steamrolled his opponent. He is a gifted speaker, and with his party controlling both the House and Senate in his first two years in the White House, he could get about any legislation he wanted.

He is America’s first African American president, and the majority of the nation’s large news media were supportive of him and were slow, even reluctant, to question or disagree with many of his actions and policies. If these same actions or policies had been initiated and executed by former President George W. Bush, the media and loyal Democrats would have had a field day in their criticism.

Obama won again in his race against Mitt Romney, but since the November election, there has been a gradual increase in the degree of questioning of Obama’s actions. In recent months, he has faced severe criticism of his and his administration’s handling of the Benghazi matter, the situation in which the IRS denied or delayed charitable tax classifications for conservative or tea party organizations, his Justice Department’s actions against the Associated Press and Fox News reporters, the revelation of how the federal government has secretly monitored telephone and text messages of millions of American citizens as well as secretly monitoring private conversations of foreign leaders, his strong criticism of a recent Supreme Court ruling and his “war” on the coal industry and those who support it.

News reports claim Obama has lost the respect of leaders in China and Russia and even some of America’s allies.

Earlier this week, in the face of growing opposition to the president’s health care plan, the government announced one of the major requirements of the plan, due to become effective in six months, would be postponed for a year.

Now he talks about using executive actions to get what he wants regardless of what those in Congress or the public may think is the right course of action or what’s best for this country and its citizens.

This is where things get serious. When a president is so committed, so determined, to get what he wants and apparently will do whatever is necessary to get his way, there are bound to be troubles.

A president’s exercise of executive powers should be done carefully and sparingly, not as a means to get even, show his power, be a bully or pursue raw political purposes.

During his first campaign for the presidency, Obama told his followers they were only a few days away from being able to make “fundamental changes” in America. Now, with the 2014 midterm elections approaching, it is apparent Obama and his political organization are pulling out all the stops to try to win enough votes to take control of the U.S. House and hold onto their majority in the Senate. This seems to be Obama’s No. 1 goal, and he and his advisers will use whatever means and federal actions to win votes — whether or not they are in the best interests of the country.

He must have these Democratic House and Senate votes if he is to remodel this country to his liking.

Some claim this is common and expected in tough, mean political fights, but such actions can be dangerous and damaging to the country.

Obama is facing more questioning, more opposition, a drop in his public popularity and apparently a loss of respect by foreign leaders — almost a 180-degree reversal from what he enjoyed in his first four years. Granted, most past presidents have seen their popularity numbers drop in their second terms, when they become so-called “lame ducks.”

The question today is how Obama will handle or react to this shift in what once was almost adulation, with massive media support, to today’s conditions in which he is facing tough questions and no longer enjoys an almost carte blanche to do whatever he wishes. How will he handle his “lame duck” years?

Will his determination to use every resource to try to gain control of the House and get what he wants in federal policies and laws be good for the country and good for all Americans? Will more secrecy and less transparency, more cover-ups, more excuses or blaming of others for setbacks or defeats and increased use of executive actions to get what he wants be good or bad for this country and/or good or bad for Obama?

A lot is at stake for this country. How Obama performs in his remaining time in the White House in the face of growing criticism, a drop in popularity and growing challenges, both foreign and domestic, all will play a significant role in determining the strength and respect this country and its citizens will enjoy when America’s next president takes office. This country cannot afford major mistakes or arrogance in the White House.

Comments

Scott Drummond 2 years, 1 month ago

and with his party controlling both the House and Senate in his first two years in the White House, he could get about any legislation he wanted.

Repeating for years does not make it true.

Editorials which are not built upon lies have a chance of being convincing.

Those which are not do not, as is proven Saturday after Saturday.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

The president is not a king. Our system gives Congress a lot of power.

The D did not have a filibuster proof majority in Congress for very long.

Many of the criticisms cited here are simply not true, and the ones that are would probably have applied to many other presidents, who have routinely used the NSA in this way, for example. I'm not saying that's a good thing, in fact I have a problem with it. But, to use that to criticize Obama as if he's somehow uniquely terrible because of it isn't warranted.

The IRS didn't "deny" any of the targeted applications, they were simply delayed.

Does anybody really believe that only Obama and the D want to maintain or expand their power politically? And, lame duck presidents, as noted, generally face a drop in popularity, and when freed from the necessity of campaigning for re-election, do more of what they want to do without worrying about that.

I'm all for reasonable criticism of all politicians, including Obama, but this attempt to make him look much worse than he is, and somehow unique, when he is simply a politician, acting very similarly to many others, doesn't make any sense to me.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 1 month ago

Doesn't that mean he is doing something right? I wouldn't want one or the other of these groups among my friends. Secular military coup or democratically elected muslim fundamentalism. I think it is good that neither is happy with Obama and thus the USA.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

Not what I said or meant.

In between the absolute power of a dictator/king, and the nonexistent power of a figurehead lies the actual power of a president.

Armstrong 2 years, 1 month ago

How will Obama act to growing challenges, criticism ? I'm guessing the same way as the last 4 years. A) Blame someone else. B) Blame republicans. C) Blame Bush.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 1 month ago

More mindless and knee jerk criticism of Obama. I am reminded of chicken little or the boy who cried wolf.

If Obama ever does anything truly worthy of widespread criticism, who would know it or see it through this smog of mindless attack?

It has been the GOP strategy to criticize Obama for everything and to use their elected offices to simply impede everything. They are sticking to it.

Obama will be fine. He will continue to move the country in the right direction despite this hail of mindless GOP attacks and criticism.

The GOP have lost credibility with most Americans when it comes to criticism of Obama. They are now just playing to their insane 20% base. Not a winning strategy. Just ask millionaire Willard Romney.

Armstrong 2 years, 1 month ago

The best thing Barry can do for the country is nothing, I mean literally nothing.

tomatogrower 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, since he has to have Congress to act and they are controlled by the do nothing party, I guess you'll get your wish. But then you can't blame him, can you? What is he suppose to do? Companies get tax incentives to move out of US? Obama wants to stop them, but Congress says no. We are in dire need of infrastructure repair, which would put a lot of people to work? Congress says no.

Armstrong 2 years, 1 month ago

You have a very short memory. Stimulus 1 and 2 were supposed to go towards infrastructure / shovel ready jobs / and jobs,jobs,jobs. But keep Barry on the pedestal he needs lots of blind followers.

Liberty275 2 years, 1 month ago

The House and senate filibuster will take care of that.

seebarginn 2 years, 1 month ago

He's responding just fine, by doing his job and not trying to please the likes of Dolph Simons, Krauthammer, and the usual hateful suspects on these LJW message boards.

Barack Obama has made efforts throughout both his terms to work with the GOP in good faith. Despite their misbehavior, he's accomplished many positive things, especially the Affordable Health Care Act, whose rejection by the Kansas political leadership only proves its worth.

The writer of this editorial is dishonest and makes an argument in bad faith because he would not be satisfied with any response the President makes. His problem is with the President himself, and it's entirely personal.

Armstrong 2 years, 1 month ago

My theory is if Barry does nothing ( for whatever reason ) that's a much better path then trying to implement more of a destructive agenda in the name of "fairness"

Thomas Bryce 2 years, 1 month ago

"Army's" imaginary sock puppet friend that he berates and scolds for hours on end.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

We get the same doom and gloom from Dolph and then you turn the page and see an article by the AP, "US economy appears surprisingly healthy".

If all Obama accomplishes is to oversee the return of our economy from utter devastation and to stop the same kind of fanaticism that is driving the Brownback administration, then I will call it a successful 8 years.

The disappointment I have is the sense that no one in politics today has the answers to many of the most critical challenges facing Americans today and no one that wants to try to fix some of these problems has a chance of getting any cooperation at all.

What I would prefer from columnists like Dolph is to search for solutions instead of feeding on criticism. Complaining all the time is not a sign of an elevated mind.

smileydog 2 years, 1 month ago

Obama will not have to react to criticism....he has the press in his hip pocket. He will leave on a high note maybe even retain another term because the press will say we like what he does, always. He took away our 4th Amendment rights, and nobody cares. I wonder what other Amendments he'll do away with or alter to suit his agenda?

homechanger 2 years, 1 month ago

He will probably are another 100 million dollar trip somewhere. Or delay implementing the disaster called the affordable care act until after the mid term elections. The same ignorant people who worship him now will continue with their ignorance.

fiddleback 2 years, 1 month ago

"During the first four years of his presidency, Obama enjoyed relatively easy sailing."

What?? Talk about a full stop--it took me several minutes of eye-rolling before I could even finish reading this tripe.

So Obama inherited an economy in free fall, and had a minority party that announced its intent to obstruct him without exception from day one, even his right-of-center health care overhaul with the individual mandate that was dreamt up at the Heritage Foundation, of all places. Yeah, really smooth sailing, Dolph.

I find the Bush and Obama presidencies comparable on many levels, but most of all in terms of how derangement syndrome completely overtakes their most emotional critics, also infecting those who fancy themselves more thoughtful like Dolph.

Reality check: all these derangement-inflated scandals going back to Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS political profiling, the AP phone taps, the ongoing NSA surveillance programs-- even lumped together, these missteps do not even begin to compare in scale to the mammoth cost in lives and money of a misguided invasion and totally mismanaged occupation of Iraq. Anyone who suggests otherwise is showing his true partisan blindness and hypocrisy.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 1 month ago

Yeah, if I had been drinking something when I read that "During the first four years of his presidency, Obama enjoyed relatively easy sailing." bit I would have done a spit-take all over my monitor.

Carol Bowen 2 years, 1 month ago

This Saturday column is melodramatic and exaggerated. The only fact I see is that Obama is the president.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

Thus far Obama has not committed the degree of criminal looking actions that the previous 3 repub administrations have. Then there is Nixon and Watregate another major s=domestic spying adventure.

--- Bush/Reagan Iran – Contra Secret Weapons Sale http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/execsum.htm http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/24/spy.network.probe/index.html

--- Did it ever stop? http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4120/we_arm_the_world/ http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm

--- Nixon's Watergate http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/watergate/index.html

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

--- 1. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Home Loan Heist http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

Move Your Money http://moveyourmoneyproject.org/

--- 2. Wall Street Home Loan Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many more trillions. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

Move Your Money http://moveyourmoneyproject.org/

--- 3. Only 3 financial institutions were at risk in spite of what Americans were told yet cost taxpayers another trillion $$$ or two. http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

The right wing always blames the press, just as Nixon did, because the press is always hanging around and reporting what they see and hear.

Fox News ratings have plunged because Americans can eventually figure out who the liars are.

Dolph mentions Romney as if he was cheated out of the election. Romney lost because he was no better than a crook flipping business and shipping jobs to China. He sealed his doom when he chose Ryan as his VP, another guy that is no better than a crook.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

--- "Mitt Romney Made Millions from the Rescue of Detroit" as 25,000 GM jobs went to China.

" Investigative reports reveal how Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made some $15 million on the auto bailout and that three of Romney’s top donors made more than $4 billion for their hedge funds from the bailout."

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/10/18/greg_palast_mitt_romneys_bailout_bonanza

Romney and his leveraged buyout crew have been having a heyday since the days of Reagan/Bush waving flags and putting Americans out of work simultaneously.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 1 month ago

After considering the above posts we now have a peek at why the economy is still in the tank.

Yet even the alleged brightest minds seem to believe that after 20 years of supply side economics all can be repaired in about 7 years with 20 million back to full time employment at $70,000 or more.

Which begs the question.

Did Republicans Deliberately Crash The Economy? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/09/did-republicans-deliberately-crash-us-economy

begin60 2 years, 1 month ago

Obama is just a puppet for corporation and business interests. It would be wonderful to have a great black civil rights president; however, it's obvious that's not what we have. On the face of it, Obama isn't Clarence Thomas, but he is responsible for more deaths--including those of innocent civilians and their children. Ralph Nader-- usually a voice of integrity-- claims Obama is the biggest con man we've ever had in the White House. Obama has continued wholesale George W.'s Bush's trailblazing path toward a militarized, totalitarian state.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

We are having a hard time finding quality people in politics today and the people that are the best seem to be under incredible pressure to compromise in ways that are probably not going to be popular with the American people.

The system is failing us because the part of politics that goes under the heading of "Human Resources Department", stinks.

It is a mistake to be loyal to a particular political party because they do their best to simply brainwash people with misleading information and an agenda that is not what most Americans need or want.

James Minor 2 years, 1 month ago

"Easy sailing his first four years of the presidency?" The first four years dealt with an unexpected financial meltdown, Republicans willing to let the country fall into a depression unless they got credit for the success, wars in the middle east, high unemployment rate - the list goes on. Given the tasks America handed him and the results, he has done a good job! The past eight years the choices for President have been Obama, McCain and Romney. The state of the union would have been in a depression if McCain or Romney were given the opportunity. America too many times looks a gift horse in the mouth. Blaming Obama for the problems he inherited and not realizing that it takes time to correct the problems of the past, is sad!

Trumbull 2 years, 1 month ago

I think all of this talk of compromise is wrong. Compromise can often lead to a bad result because it waters things down. It is like taking 1/2 of an aspirin when maybe 2 are called for. This is ineffective.

We need to build consensus, the same kind that made this country great. Something like the Hoover Dam, the Erie canal, the transcontinental RR, the US Interstate Highway System. These things that made our country great now seem like relics of a bygone era.

Transforming our energy systems to renewables could have been such an initiative, and started long ago. This could be the next great thing we can lead the world in. But what are we doing? Sitting on our butts. Outsourcing jobs. Devising complex financial derivative schemes.

President Obama is doing better than any one could do in his position. And I think he is an excellent leader. Congress is the problem.

jafs 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm uncomfortable as well with the idea of compromise. Although it sounds good, and necessary, too often it means that nobody's happy with the outcome.

I'd like to see us take the good ideas from differing philosophies and get rid of the bad ones, a sort of hybrid of political philosophies.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 1 month ago

There are some conservative thinkers who believe they have not done a good enough job of selling their ideas and some of these people do have something to offer. The problem arises when they support candidates that should not be in politics because they are simply not qualified for the jobs they pursue.

We live in a time when we have great challenges and we need to bring the best and brightest together in order to find solutions. These people come from both the liberal and conservative side of the aisle. I am at a loss to understand why free and bright men and women submit to a narrow ideology to find the solutions when history has shown us that God works through science just as certainly as faith to show us a light in the midst of darkness.

We are blessed to live in this great land. But when people of conscience allow the kind of selfish political ideologies that promote the rich at the expense of everyone else, I cannot understand the moral justification for this kind of legislation.

Romney never attempted to explain it. Neither did Ryan.

Dolph is welcome to try and I would really like to hear the justification for the policies of Brownback and the right wing. I would very much like to hear the justification for cutting or limiting 80 million Americans from receiving proper health care and shipping 11 million jobs to China and India. I would really like to hear why companies like Apple Computer and Big Oil companies are not required to pay taxes in the way that most Americans pay taxes. In some cases, the largest corporations have paid almost no taxes.

I would really like to know why we are creating a Plutocracy in America and people like Romney are promoting the end to the inheritance tax at a time when most of the country's wealth is being consolidated in the bank accounts of the upper 1-2% who don't pay the same percentage of tax as most Americans.

I would really like Dolph to explain that to me so that I can understand it a little better.

This is what I call specifics. Dolph makes a lot of general statements and like all Republicans, does not get into the specifics. There is a reason for that. It is because they fear what most Americans will think if they are actually given the facts and asked to decide. It is also because they do not respect average Americans.

They think we want to get something for nothing. It is a general opinion of the wealthy and it is their justification for legislation which is immoral and unfair. I recently heard a billionaire say that 39% of the American people don't want to work for a living.

Do you believe that or does it make you angry?

Alyosha 2 years, 1 month ago

Amazing that a newspaper publisher can be so uninformed. Aren't newspapers supposed to inform the public? Does Mr. Simon not read the news?

For instance, it has been roundly disproven that the IRS targeted a wide swath of groups, not just conservatives. The real scandal there is how Republicans in Congress directed the IRS only to investigate the treatment of conservative groups — creating a scandal where there was none. The IRS treated progressive groups the same.

This is what's wrong with our country: partisans so blinded by emotion that they can't see reality. Mr. Simons' column should be exhibit A in how so-called conservatives have lost their ability to think.

Trumbull 2 years, 1 month ago

Same thing about Benghazi. The Conservatives did everything they could do to capitalize on this tragedy by making it into a scandal. The deeper they look into this, the less they find.

Romney looked like a dog with his tail between his legs when he brought Benghazi to the debates.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 1 month ago

The GOP have lost all credibility in criticizing Obama, similar to the boy who cried wolf.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.