Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Criticism of our President

I have seldom, if ever, gone to an athletic contest that—when the home team was losing—I did not hear comments all around me from those who could have done better than the coach. They should have called a pass instead of a run, or they should have punted instead of trying on fourth down, etc. etc. Criticism such as this always carries the implication that the critic could have done better had he been in the shoes of the person being criticized. Being a Monday-morning quarterback is not only large in athletic endeavors, it is also extremely large in politics and government. Equally large is the little word “if.” “If I could have been there, I could have done better” is always the implication.

All of this reminds me of a story attributed to Jack Dempsey. A little fellow of about 130 pounds walked up to Dempsey, looked up at him and said, “If I were as big as you, I could have been heavy-weight champion of the world.” Dempsey looked down at him and said, “Well, why aren’t you the light-weight champion of the world?”

All of this brings to mind the current criticism of our President; particularly, related to foreign policy. We are saddled with an opposition party that at the outset—from the beginning of President Obama’s first administration—listed as their number one objective to see that he was not re-elected and to defeat any of his proposals. Now they lament the fact our President is less respected throughout the world. I recall a better time when it was almost un-American andconsidered disloyal to condemn or criticize our President with regard to foreign policy decisions, particularly when we were facing possible armed intervention.

The sad part about the Republican Party’s continued attacks on the President is that the attacks simply are criticism with little or no offered alternative. We have to look first at the response of the Republican Party’s criticism of the Affordable Care Act. This has consisted of over 50 GOP efforts to repeal it and never any alternative offered to deal with the suffering or spiraling costs, which if not curbed will eventually wreck our national economy. They simply criticize what was done—and much of what was done was an effort to compromise and meet criticisms of the Republican Party during its passage.

Benghazi now is being used by Republicans as the factor contributing to the inability to end the Syrian Civil War or prevent the invasion of the Ukraine. If only our President had been stronger and brought to justice those responsible, he would look so tough that other rogue nations would fear challenging us in other situations around the world—or at least so says the Republican Senator from South Carolina. Many of the allegations—such as the one that there was a task forceready to intervene on behalf of our beleaguered citizens in the Benghazi StateDepartment facility and were told to stand down—have been completely disproven by a bi-partisan, select committee of the U.S. Senate.

The most glaring hypocrisy of criticism about the President’s foreign policy comes in regard to Syria. Trying to figure out what to do in Syria is an almost unsolvable dilemma. Clearly, the tyrant who rules Syria and who is killing his own people with abandon should be held accountable. Yet, when President Obama yielded to criticism and asked the Congress to join with him in a tough stancewhich possibly could have led to some armed intervention, they ran from the issue like scared rabbits. Not a single Republican member of Congress has comeforth with a clearly defined proposal of how to end the conflict and save thecivilians of Syria—at least not one they are willing to endorse and advocate on the floor of the House or Senate.

Currently the President is using economic sanctions to persuade Russia, an obvious international bully, to withdraw from an invasion of the Ukraine, and the same old criticism pops up again by those brilliant world leaders like Sarah Palin, who couldn’t even serve out her elected term as Governor of Alaska, plus a host of very loud critics at the conservative based CPAC meeting in Washington last week. Not a single one, after the rough criticism of our President, offered one solution. They seem to opine that, had they been president, Russia would not have dared to cross the borders of Ukraine.

They all seem to have forgotten the lessons we should have learned from Bush’s phony war, invading Iraq, where we lost thousands of young American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Very similarly to Jack Dempsey’s little antagonist who wasn’t the light-weight champion of the world and wasn’t about to be, neither are any of these naysayers about to be world leaders who could do a better job than our current President.

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