So, midnight tonight, September 30, the wheels of federal governance in the US are coming to a screeching halt; it may seem holocaustic to some among us but fear not, a solution will be reached by art or design… the US government is simply too big to be allowed to fail, just like those magnificent, controlling Wall Street banks. And so the story goes, money will be spent at whatever rate is deemed necessary by “our leaders,” and borrowed or printed at the same rate. Isn’t that supposed to be what a balanced-budget is all about… the mastery in running the magical printing press?
There is, of course, the sempiternal question of who should be blamed, the president or his opposition party in congress. It really matters little, for it’s always the individual, the president holding the reins, who’ll take on the chin; politicos in congress will slither their way into anonymity no matter how vocal they were in bringing government to a halt. And, regardless what the blame-polls say today, in history it will be Obama taking the fall. Unfairly, many will say; but isn’t this outcome political just deserts?
It wasn’t long after Obama’s ascendency to the US presidency, and the unraveling of the financial mess that the government was expected to clean up, that his actions and friendship with those responsible for sacking the US economy made it crystal-clear that he was not the man for the leadership role to which he had been elected. And the day he joined the choir of Wall Street cheerleaders at CNB as one more admirer of James “Jamie” Dimon, chairman, president and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase… well, that day I literally puked with disgust at Obama’s servile statement.
Four years after Obama’s accolades for Dimon’s genius, we have one of this nation’s economy “holocausters,” JPMorgan, fined almost $1 billion for the “London Whaling” trading scandal and wrongful billing of credit-card customers… civil issues; which are likely to be followed with indictments for bribery in China and several other pending criminal matters. Yet, the $7+ billion that JPMorgan has paid in fines and settlements in the past two years is but a slap in the wrist, just one-eighth of the profits made during that same period, not so much because of the firm’s great or unique business skills but because of its monopolistic seating atop our capitalist economy, and the fraudulent ways in which it conducts business.But it isn’t Jamie Dimon that we should be concerned about as much as those we elect to keep us free from demons and Dimon’s. And, whether we like it or not, Obama has been it: the chosen one. We seem to (s)elect our Charlie Tuna’s not because they taste good, but because of their good taste… never learned from Star-Kist as to what type of tuna should be canned; in our case, the type of president we should elect. Not at all unlikely that in 2016 we’ll be putting Hillary Clinton in the White House for similar reasons we put Barack Obama there in 2008. We seem to be one-priority people and we take that single priority with us, all too often masochistically, to the voting booth.
I must add some clarification here… as much as Obama was ill-qualified to be president, I would not consider under any circumstance voting for the likes of the Annapolis tail-performer and supreme warmonger, John McCain. We all know what happened to another academy tail-performer (last of his West Point class), George Armstrong Custer, at Little Bighorn – our concern might not be for him but for the more than 200 troops of the 7th Cavalry he commanded to their deaths.
Still three-plus years left in Obama’s presidency, where mediocrity has been elevated to a highly acceptable status. A good and intelligent man has proven to be an incapable leader, often by making poor choices in the advice received, but even more often by trying to take compromise to the point of absurdity; trying to be liked by everyone, but ending up liked by no one… or too few to be taken seriously. Yet, although Obama’s popularity has lately declined, his likeability factor remains high regardless of the number, or gravity, of his faux pas in leadership. History, however, is not likely to be that lenient with Obama… just as it won’t be with his two predecessors; one for being an international war criminal (George W. Bush); the other for the dishonor of being American middle-class’ decapitator (William Jefferson Clinton).
However, not all has to be lost for Obama; he still has time to reweave a legacy that now appears grey and bleak. And that reweaving will not be on the domestic front; for the economic future of 80 percent of Americans has already been cast… the slope pointing downward no matter what hopeful lies are manufactured in Washington. Reweaving, for Obama, should take place at the international front; a great opening has appeared before him partly by chance and partly by what other world leaders have to gain as well.
Both Vladimir Putin and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (via the newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani) have much to gain personally, and for their nations, by breaking bread with Barack Obama. I don’t recall a situation in my lifetime when so many critical problems can be put on the table and have a chance to be resolved with one masterful swoop: peace in Syria; welcoming of prodigal Iran; better US-Russia relations; and most important of all, constructing a strong framework for permanent peace in the Middle East. It could be done and, for once, no one needs to be a loser. An opportunity like this only comes about with astronomical odds. For Barack Obama, this may turn out to be his legacy’s last stand… an opportunity he cannot afford to bypass.
© 2013 Ben Tanosborn
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