Friday, November 2, 2012

Would Obama inherit an even bigger mess than in 2008?

I am not a culinary expert, but with four kids, it would be safe to say that I have mastered a few things in the kitchen.  After 16 years of experimenting with countless recipes, what's the most important thing I've learned?

Ingredients matter.

Broccoli will never taste like chocolate chip cookies and chicken and rice will always taste like chicken and rice.  My conclusion?  A set of ingredients, regardless of how it is prepared, will pretty much produce the same results.

I've observed that with politics, it is no different.


Four years ago, all would agree that our president inherited a mess.  After only 2 short years on the national stage, without any financial or economic background, void of any managerial experience, and without having ever mastered the art of bipartisanship, America handed a massive financial crisis over to a well-spoken, charismatic community organizer from Chicago.

At first, the environment was friendly for the novice politician.  He faced little resistance.  The House and the Senate were controlled by his party, so the president was surrounded by people who adored him.  (People who most likely, had his acceptance speech framed on their walls).

He passed monumental legislation and showed little regard that it was passed without bipartisan support.

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But then the 2010 midterm elections happened and everything changed.  The president lost the majority in the House and his super majority in the Senate.  The president lost his ability to lead.

Yes-men were replaced with frustrated and passionate conservative leaders who completely disagreed with the path our president was forging for our country.  The environment became hostile and the president's agenda of "Fundamentally Transforming America" came to a standstill.

For four years, we have watched our leaders---on both sides---demonstrate a complete lack of compromise on every big issue.  The results have been devastating.  Most recently, at the 11th hour, negotiations fell apart in the debt ceiling talks and for the very first time in our country's history, America's credit rating fell.

Bipartisan jobs bills still haven't passed.  Budgets have yet to be balanced.  Tax reform still remains unchanged.  Immigration reform is still desperately needed.  Unemployment numbers remain too high to change our economy.  GDP has slowed from where it was even a year ago.  Our country is now teetering on a fiscal cliff and America's deficit has reached an unthinkable $16 trillion dollars.

Who has been leading it all?  President Barrack Obama.

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Four days before this election, it is clear that Democrats will keep control of the Senate and the Republicans will keep control of the House.  Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner, Eric Cantor---it will all stay the same.

Reality?  The president will be in the same toxic environment where he has already shown a complete inability to lead.  Are we really supposed to believe that he will somehow produce different results if the environment hasn't changed?

No way.  I'm not buying it.

Today's Labor Report shows that despite everything the president has tried, unemployment in America is at the level it was the day he took office and yet, our economy is still crumbling.  But what is different in 2012?  Deficits have now surged to $16 trillion---23 million Americans are still out of work---the housing market is still collapsing---poverty levels and Food Stamp dependency have reached historic highs---the East Coast of the US is now in devastation---and the European economy is on the verge of collapse.

Would it be safe to say that the president is now inheriting an even bigger mess than in 2008?

I would say absolutely and if the environment hasn't changed, why should the results.

Ingredients matter.

The fiscal mess that Obama inherited has simply proved to be too big for his skill-set to conquer. But now it is time to get it right.  It is time to really recover.  It is time for bipartisanship.

It is time for a new leader.  It is time for Mitt Romney.

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  1. Alecia, this is by far one of your most compelling posts yet. It has been made clear in the last four years that President Obama is a great person and that his desire to help the country is sincere. Unfortunately, despite his charisma and good intentions, he has demonstrated a significant inability to pass bi-partisan legislation, which our country desperately needs for an economic recovery.

    Just like you said, "the president will be in the same toxic environment where he has already shown a complete inability to lead. Are we really supposed to believe that he will somehow produce different results if the environment hasn't changed?"

    1. Hi Corm,

      Thanks for joining the conversation. I always appreciate your perspective and the interesting things you say. I deeply appreciate your support and I am growing more hopeful that we will all be smiling on Wednesday morning.

      Go Mitt.

  2. Leaders on both sides have been unwilling to compromise? False. You use the debt ceiling as an example to prove your point when in actuality there were multiple attempts made to reach a compromise but house Republicans refuses to accept any deal with an increase in revenue, no matter how small. That's a refusal to compromise and it's not coming from the White House.

    Do you understand how unemployment figures are calculated? Would you rate the jobs report yesterday as positive overall or negative? If you say negative then I would argue that you don't understand how unemployment is calculated.

    Finally, your analogy is absurd. People are not ingredients. Compromises are not recipes. Complex interpersonal relationships are not simple and they are not always the same. They change, they evolve, they grow. More than that, you lack understanding of the differences between a first and second presidential term.

    Oh, and the idea that Mitt Romney shows better leadership than Barack Obama is laughable. Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, even Chris Christie, Mitt Romney can't seem to get his own party to fall in line (famous for it's single-minded lock step support). Republicans have led a scorched Earth campaign the last 2 years, filibustering even Republican co-sponsored bills (which the sponsors then voted against). They had one objective, to make Barack Obama fail, and they are on the verge of failure. They can't afford another 4 years of inaction.

    Mitt Romney can't lead because he has no actual position on anything. He's a weather vane as a candidate who will either be an empty vessel for all of the worst of conservative dogma or if he proves he has a back bone and takes unpopular stances he'll be tracked like President Tyler after Harrison's death. Disowned and depowered by his own party, a complete figurehead and mockery of the Presidency. Also, he's going to lose.

    1. Hi Mr. Christmasisforeveryone, thanks for joining in the conversation.

      I apologize that I have struck a nerve. I do not mean to offend and hopefully you can tell from my blog, that my tone has always tried to stay respectful and focused on fact-based analysis of political events.

      I stick by my argument that the president has failed to be a leader of compromise and the breakdown of the debt ceiling negotiations is a perfect example of it. Bob Woodward (hardly a right-leaning author) in his new book, “The Price of Politics,” dedicated the bulk of his writing to the behind the scenes negotiations in the debt ceiling talks.

      Woodward is surprisingly critical of the president’s role. He describes that “gaps” in Obama’s leadership heavily contributed to the collapse of the “grand bargain.”

      In an interview with ABC News, Woodward placed blame on president for failing to form stronger relationships with congressional opposition. He said that although the Republicans have resisted him, the president was the first to ostracize them. Remember, it was on his third day in office that Obama brazenly told Republican leaders, “Elections have consequences. I won.” Woodward said Obama’s statements that day declared “the beginning of a war.”

      I totally agree with Woodward.

      I personally believe that it is the role of a president to forge the bridge of compromise. Few presidents have mastered it, but I believe that the burden will always be on the guy at the top. Obama has failed miserably to bridge that gap in fact, I would argue that his incessant blaming and finger pointing has deepened it.

      Mitt Romney and Barack Obama share one thing in common: both men inherited a “mess” / recession, but only one of them led a true recovery. Only one of them led in a bipartisan fashion. And only one of them succeeded. That man is Mitt Romney.

      If Obama has shown that a bitterly divided Congress is too difficult to work with, then how would sticking him back in the same toxic environment somehow produce different results?

      If the environment hasn’t changed, why would he? Well, my family can't afford to find out what happens if Obama fails to get it right...again.


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