As a state senator in Illinois, Barrack Hussein Obama used the ‘present’ vote as a protest to bills he felt were drafted unconstitutionally or were part of a broader legislative strategy, according to his aides and allies. In fact, he voted “present,” nearly 130 times. Many times, the decision to vote ‘present’ is, in fact, a way to sidestep tough decisions that could be politically damaging. In this way, they can maintain ambiguity on the tough issues (on the other hand, since a ‘present’ vote is counted as a ‘no’ in Illinois, it’s also a convenient way to vote no). This is typical of many politicians.
What happens, though, when a tough decision must be made and the ‘present’ option is not available?
We are currently fighting two wars (for the PC crowd, those are ‘overseas contingency operations). One was characterized by some as regime change and a grab for oil; the other one was a necessity, according to then presidential candidate Obama. He stated that he would focus on Afghanistan and that it would be one of his top priorities. On March 27, 2009, President Obama stated that we would not retreat from Afghanistan, but that we should instead expand and deepen the American commitment; the details of the March plan of action were never disclosed, nor does it appear that our level of commitment has changed. Has any part of an expanded or deepened commitment been implemented. March was some months ago. Is Obama voting ‘present’ again?
In the 70 days following his assumption of command of forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal met only once with President Obama. Then came ‘the meeting’. President Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to a 25-minute meeting aboard Air Force One before returning to Washington. It seems that’s all the time the president could carve out of his schedule for a matter of such importance.
On October 19, 2009, President Obama had a 2½ hour meeting with the New York Times and MSNBC. After receiving General McChrystal’s report detailing the urgent need for additional troops, followed by the Air Force One chat, the president has not met with McChrystal again. Would not his time hobnobbing with the media have been spent more productively if he had met instead with Defense Secretary Gates and General McChrystal?
President George W. Bush spoke regularly with then Iraqi-theater commander General David Petraeus. President Obama may be speaking regularly with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Petraeus (now commanding US Central Command), but Obama should still maintain regular contact with McChrystal, just as President Bush did with Petraeus.
In a speech in London at the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies, McChrystal said, “At the end of the day we don’t win by destroying the Taliban. We don’t win by body count. We don’t win by the number of successful military raids or attacks. We win when the people decide we win.”
Let me repeat that last bit: “We win when the people decide we win.” Didn’t Presidential Candidate Obama already decide that Afghanistan was going to be one of his top priorities? Wasn’t a decision already made to win the ‘necessary’ war? Well, we’re still waiting. Now this strategy has been put on hold due to fraudulent elections, and we are back to the President trying to vote ‘present’ on the war of necessity.
On October 22, 2009, it was revealed that the Pay Czar Kenneth Feinberg was the driving force behind the move to order steep pay cuts for executives of companies receiving bail-out funds, and that he neither sought nor needed the president’s approval before making his decision. Feinberg had complete autonomy, with no apparent restraints at all. He even publicly ridiculed the heads of General Motors and Chrysler, claiming they were in denial about their own companies’ financial situations. How does any of this benefit those companies? It doesn’t; it puts their recovery in further jeopardy. All while the president is ‘present.’
Feinberg’s plan includes slashing annual salaries by about 90 percent from last year for the 25 highest-paid executives at the seven companies that received the most from the Wall Street bailout. The total compensation for the top executives at the firms would decline, on average, by about 50 percent. This is an astounding decision with lasting and frightening effects, and was made absent the formal direction and approval of the President of the United States. We did not elect Kenneth Fienberg, yet he alone makes these decisions, while the president is only ‘present.’
Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, and Robert Gibbs have orchestrated a brutal, vicious, and unwarranted attack against Fox News. President Obama has kept his hands clean by stating, “I think that what our advisers simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes and if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet, then that’s another.” It’s the advisors, not him. He doesn’t have an opinion either way, he’s just ‘present’. President Obama has stated that he’s “not losing sleep over it.” Is that because he’s not making the decisions and his advisors and White House spokesperson have gone rogue? Is he just ‘present’ while his advisors and spokesperson use the White House in an unprecedented manner to isolate, alienate, and discredit Fox News? Never in the history of this country has the White House been used as a mouthpiece to publicly denigrate a legitimate and highly successful news outlet. And all while the president himself is simply ‘present.’
Is President Obama exhibiting the symptoms of one who is averse to making those tough decisions? Obama traveled the world in an effort to convince Olympic officials that Chicago was a grand spot for the Olympic Games, and hosted parties on the White House south lawn, all while shirking his responsibility to our troops and turning a blind eye to blatant attacks on a legitimate press enterprise. Are these the signs of a president in control, or of one who is simply ‘present?’
Wake up, Mr. President. You have a job to do, and you can bank on the fact that we’re watching …