In just three short weeks, the general election will be over and hopefully we will know which candidate garnered enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency of these United States. The campaigns will shut down, the signs will come down, and the rhetoric will calm down.
Next week I will be discussing the local races and the following week I will cover propositions, so this will be the last time I address the national campaign. I can already hear the collective sighs of those who happen to disagree with my stance on the issues.
Will Rogers, the American humorist of the last century was credited with telling folks that he preferred it when his candidate lost the election because until the following election, "it was easier to criticize rather than justify the guy in office." So it seems to be for many of us.
If you will simply remember back to the Nixon years and Watergate when many voters supported Nixon in 1968 and while they did not agree with him on everything they liked him better than Humphrey so he was elected. When the Watergate mess began to come out, Nixon's supporters accepted it as a minor problem and justified it. As more and more came out, supporters were still justifying until, one by one, the support withered away and Nixon resigned. Enough was enough with "Tricky Dick."
Bill Clinton, filled with promise, youth, and charm told folks to, "don't stop thinking about tomorrow." First there was the Rose Law firm garbage, then Whitewater, then Vince Foster, then the blue dress ... and he was impeached. His party leaders mounted a PR campaign and a willing national media allowed for many transgressions to be swept under the rug but folks who supported "Slick Willy" were getting tired of his antics. Like Nixon, Clinton became more popular after becoming a former president.
So I ask those who support the current administration what it is that they still see in the shattered remains of the presidency that came in on, "Hope and Change?"
Yes, it was exciting to see the first black American elected and it was exciting to listen to his orations, his visionary thinking, and his personal charm. He was going to have the most transparent administration in history. Stonewalling on issues such as Fast and Furious doesn't fit that. His personal life records are sealed from public view, and the recess appointments show sneakiness along with disdain for the Congress or the law.
He was going to reduce the deficit by half. He has spent us into five trillion dollars of more debt at a rate twice as fast as the previous administration. He was going to change the way business was done in Washington and by his own admission he has failed to do that.
He was going to unite us and reminded us there were not blue or red Americans. Poll after poll show that we are more divided by classes than the day he took office. Unemployment was going to be around 5.8% and finally, with some questionable numbers no less, the rate went down to 7.8%. After a trillion dollar stimulus package we still have fewer folks working than when he took office.
His supporters wanted Gitmo closed and he promised it would be closed one year after his inauguration. It is still there. I'm happy, but his supporters can't be. Iran is now four years closer to the nuclear bomb and Israel really doesn't trust our president.
He forced us into a healthcare reform program so fast that his chief supporter told us it had to be passed so that we could find out what was in it. His party, who controlled the three branches of government his first two years, did not get immigration laws changed so at the last minute, by unlawful edict, he made sweeping changes and thumbed his nose at the "rule of law."
He likes the celebrities and avoids world leaders and he still blames everyone for the problems and doesn't accept responsibility for anything. I bet in the final minutes of the American Embassy staff lives in Libya they felt betrayed by an administration that declined more security so that the image of having defeated terrorism could be a selling point in the election.
He is a spellbinder to be sure and a great campaigner, he just hasn't delivered on the promises and he expects his supporters to carry his water. He hasn't carried his share of the load but he will allow you to justify it to the rest of us.