Giving credit where credit is due

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By John Barnhart

    I’m still am not sure what to make of President Barack Obama. I’ve seen some Facebook postings nominating him as the worst president ever, although I don’t think that description fits him. Jimmy Carter still has a firm grip on that honor and I’ve come to the conclusion that President Obama is not Jimmy Carter II.

    Carter was a complete doofus, incompetent in both domestic policy and foreign policy, and a total disaster when faced with a foreign policy crisis. President Obama, unlike Carter, has been pretty decisive this year when faced with fast developing foreign crises. Although I have some reservations about his foreign policy decisions, particularly his call for Israel to move back to its pre-1967 borders, I have to admit that much of what he has done has been pretty good.
    The raid in which SEALs killed Osama bin Laden stands in stark contrast to Carter’s botched efforts to rescue American Embassy staff that were being held hostage in Teheran by the Iranians. The fiasco failed and left the burned out wrecks of some large American helicopters in the desert. It’s a miracle that it didn’t leave more Americans for the Iranians to hold hostage.
    President Obama’s handling of the raid into Pakistan was better. The choice of a raid, rather than a missile strike, allowed us to positively identify who we got. Sending in a SEAL team worked much better than the hybrid force that Carter used. Even though there was a problem that ended up wrecking one helicopter, the SEALs were able to accomplish their mission. They got bin Laden and made off with his computers, and his porn collection.
    This doesn’t mean that I approve of Barack Obama’s performance as president. I’m just giving credit where credit is due. His domestic policies have been a disaster.
    His domestic policy performance is not going to get any better, now that he’s already shifted into full reelection campaign mode. That became clear a while back when Congressman Paul Ryan unveiled a Republican deficit reduction plan. President Obama could have responded with a “Democratic” alternative plan. But, he didn’t do that. Instead, he responded with a highly partisan attack.    
    It’s a pity that he’s chosen to do that. The United States is going to be in the same boat that Greece is now, headed over a fiscal Niagara Falls, if something doesn’t change in the next few years. Leadership from the president would be valuable right now, but we obviously aren’t going to get that from him now that he’s busy running for reelection in 2012.
    I’m rather surprised that he’s shifted into campaign mode so soon. It seems like he’s afraid of something, and I wonder what that is. Is he terrified that the Republicans will nominate somebody who can beat him? Or, is the threat from the left?
    Unlike Clinton, who shifted to the middle after voters flushed the “Democrats” from both houses of Congress after the 1994 mid-term elections, President Obama seems determined to remain aligned with his party’s left wing. However, I don’t think any “Democrat” will try to take the nomination away from him. They aren’t that stupid. My thought is that President Obama is worried that somebody from his party’s looney left will bolt and make a third party bid. Should the 2012 election shape up like the 2008 election, then a leftist third party candidate could take enough votes away from President Obama to put a Republican in the White House. President Obama is hanging with the left to preclude this.
    Meanwhile, Congress is left to its own devices in the battle of the budget.