At the close of his Presidency in 1861, with multiple states having declared secession and the federal military post Fort Sumter faced with violent attack from its own countrymen, President James Buchanan presided over a State of the Union address that summarized his four year policy of “indecisive indecision” on the subject of secession. After hearing Buchanan’s address, Senator William Seward of New York, soon to be Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, ascerbicly translated for the nation President Buchanan’s convoluted and ineffectual logic with the following statement:
“No state has the right to secede unless it wishes to, and it is the president’s duty to enforce the laws, unless somebody opposes him”
We have a current President in President Obama who is proving to be the re-incarnated President Buchanan, serving up a soup of the indefensible hedge when it comes to the nation’s most pressing problems. Elected under the banner of “Hope and Change”, the process of governing has been more that of “Dodge and Hedge”. The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize has remained immersed in two wars and struggled to identify with any freedom movement since his election. He has managed to alienate almost every individual who viewed him as the propped up savior of the world self perpetuated by a fawning media. The Green Revolution in Iran waited for any word of support from him to help free themselves from an oppressive and murderous regime. Thousands of deaths later, they are still waiting. He announced last year that he would “surge” troops in Afghanistan, and announced on the same day that date at which he would begin to withdraw them. He struggled to sustain a coherent message with the recent Egyptian turmoil, having no stance for almost two weeks, only to announce support for the autocrat Mubarak, as he was about to fall. The turmoil spread to Libya, where he almost immediately declared the thuggish regime of Qhadaffi must go as it was illegitimate, then dithered when the tyrant started bombing his own people from the air and winning back territory from the regime opponents. The indecision was enough to send his own Secretary of State into a classic Clintonian leak, having an “unnamed source and close confidant” declare Ms. Clinton’s exhaustion with her boss’s lack of decision making capacity.
The domestic front is no better, with the President demanding fiscal discipline, naming a commission last year to create a bi-partisan consensus for the burgeoning budgetary crisis being created by entitlements. When the commission came out with a surprisingly tough set of agreements to reign in out of control spending, the President ran away from the commission like it wasn’t there. His most recent budget has been in described in direct terms as a fiscal fraud by his own nominee of the Office of Management and
Budget, Heather Higginbottom. He descended into fruitless war of words with the Governor of Wisconsin when he attacked the state executive’s efforts to balance his own budget by reducing collective bargaining rights, fully ignoring his own federal government’s complete lack of provision of the same collective bargaining rights for its own employees. The only issue he was willing to make declarative statements upon was the outcome of the US NCAA Basketball Tournament – “Pittsburgh will make the Elite Eight.”
The litany goes on and on, but unfortunately so does this President’s tactic of using a conclusion in any crisis to define his position, long after there is any capacity for him to truly affect the outcome. I must admit I had early hope of this man’s potential pragmatism. The world is finding out what we hoped was not the case of putting forward such an inexperienced person into the pressure cooker job of “world leader”. The truth of the matter is, Change comes, and from this man, No Hope.