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December 15, 2009

Obama’s Rough Road

Roy Meachum

It was a lark week for the president. Not only because he picked up his Nobel Peace Prize, more importantly there were signs the economy was on the mend. He and I continue to come apart on the issue of the Afghanistan war that was initially botched when his predecessor abandoned the mission, to take on Iraq.


The hue and cry raised against Barack Obama for the eroding national deficit is severely misplaced. By waging wars for seven years, fought by costly mercenaries in addition to the military, George W. Bush ran the budget into the ground. Bill Clinton left behind a favorable financial situation; when he walked out of the Oval Office the country was operating in the black.


It may disturb my conservative friends to remind them Mr. Bush started the spending to bring back the country’s fiscal structure; his last secretary of the Treasury lobbied for the $700 billion that Congress passed on the eve of the 2008 elections. Henry M. Paulson, Jr., rigged the situation so that no one could question his judgment in handing out the money. As former Goldman Sachs CEO, there was criticism that he was helping his buddies in the banking and investment trade. No one argued successfully that he was not.


Mr. Obama continued the previous administration’s support of Wall Street; it looks like he had little choice, from here. I was very much surprised to learn conservatives blamed the present president for the entire national deficit. Republicans go on voting unanimously against all efforts to bring the country’s economy in balance. They certainly never hesitated in spending for Mr. Bush’s wars, including Afghanistan. They had no problem in sending to the White House the $700 billion bill, as the GOP chief executive was packing up to blow the Oval Office.


The awful din of their negativism bothers me the most. I was not around when congressmen verbally attacked each other; and sometimes with more than words. After the Civil War, Republicans virtually ran Capitol Hill; that could be considered the golden age of invective. The propensity for congressmen to call each other out, for duels, largely disappeared after Appomattox; cane swords were no longer commonly worn in the House and Senate.


An ignorant outsider dropping by might reach the conclusion that somehow GOP victory was unfairly stolen away by thieving Democrats – despite Mr. Obama’s landslide majority and the more than several legislators who rode in on his tails. The Republicans’ strategy is very clear; they mean to destroy the nation’s first African American chief executive. They “know” Barrack Obama’s mystique thwarts their regaining the White House.


What we are witnessing is a classic case of avoiding blame for what happened to them. The president and his party furnish prime whipping boys and girls when the GOP can hardly use a “cat o’ nine tails” on themselves. What we are hearing on the losing side of congressional chambers are a loser’s pain and frustration.


Will the twin negatives restore conservatives to power? We’re eleven long months away from finding out.


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