Thursday, July 25, 2013

The ObamaTest: Is It Too Soon To Grade Him?

By Sandy Prisant
 The other day, President Barack Obama travelled halfway cross the country to give what the White house billed as a seminal speech. It was on what the President calls his "priority issue"--economic equality.  
It is a subject he speaks about eloquently,yet there is nary a blip on the policy radar from his Administration in five years. Will we ever see real action on this one?
The week before, he spoke poignantly about thought-provoking issues of race. Thought- provoking, but unlikely to lead to policy-making.
The week before that it became clear that the Affordable Care Act is not yet fully funded, most states have not opted in and there is no public sign ObamaCare is logistically ready to sign up millions of Americans starting in just three months.
Two weeks before that he used Europe as a backdrop to make important remarks on slashing nuclear arsenals. There has been no follow-up on that one either. And none is in sight.
And in not one of those weeks, nor the 225 weeks before it, have we seen a single new Presidential initiative that actually created the single absolute priority for almost all Americans--jobs. Even one job.

Yes, Obama saved jobs in Detroit.  But we have 17 million actual people with no work for years and years. Politicians talk about them every day. But none of them have devised and implemented a program to create one brand new job.
As we enter the last 24 meaningful months of Obama's Time, are we seeing the true legacy of this Administration?  
In the face of a preposterous House of Representatives which seem able to direct the whole government in ways Democratic-controlled Houses never could, has Obama left the legislative playing field, to fall back on his strength?
Are we being left with the neophyte persona we saw with great hope five years ago?  Is he now and will he be ever known as Obama The Speechifier??
When we entered this post-Tech Depression in 2007, it seemed obvious Obama could look to FDR's tool kit from the last Depression and possibly pick out a WPA or a CCC, modify it and get something done. Granted, FDR could work with Congress. But in 2008 there was a wholly Democratic congress.
By now we're wondering: has policy given way to prose?  And even there we see a bully pulpit which doesn't seem effective for immigration reform, gun control or even the Affordable Care Act.
Instead it feels like we're being distracted. By some oratory here. A new initiative there. All of it left to lay fallow by an Administration that can't get government out of neutral.
As we start to form the Obama Legacy, this futility may be replacing  hope in this nation. At a time it needs the latter much more. Especially those 17 million.