The Nigerian Blogger
Speaking Truth to the change we need

The President’s Mistake

Without a question President Barack Obama will go down as one of the most intelligent and charismatic men to ever govern the United States of America . He brought a new sense of participation, awareness and exuberance that politics had lacked for years when he ran for president. His campaign was structured with military like precision, It paid close attention to detail, and delivered a message Americans were yearning for. CHANGE….But perhaps the campaign’s greatest attribute was that, it was built from the bottom up. He made politics cool again. There is no denying the genius and destiny of the man.

But with greatness comes challenges. And Over the past few weeks i think the president has faltered on two major issues. Issues I think are big enough that the average American might take notice, and might be his Achilles heel, come election season.

First Issue: Arlen Spector the republican turned democrat.  Spector was originally a democrat, but switched parties in 1965 to challenge democratic district attorney in Philadelphia. 44 years later he turned democrat again. He wanted to preserve his senate seat, and he knew he couldn’t do it in the republican party so for his selfish reasons he turned democrat, so he could run.

He was welcomed by the president with open arms, which i kind of understand. The president needed every vote he could get to pass health care and Spector was a welcome addition. The terms of the deal remained sketchy, but the president agreed to campaign for him in Philadelphia. The other democratic senator running in the primaries Joe Sestak who had been a democrat all along did not get the president’s backing. But I guess this is politics.

The President risked his political capital (which is very hard to come by these days) and campaigned for Arlen Spector. Spector lost the primary and the little guy (with all due respect,.. “little” is used to illustrate the enormity of the challenge Joe sestak was up against) won .

His victory said a couple of things to me. People view our president on a different pedestal, a higher one, which is a good thing. When he was elected he promised to stop politics as usual in Washington, but this was nothing but politics as usual. It was like the big strong guy in the school yard trying to stifle the little guy out of his candy. Needless to say it did not go down well.

The way Joe Sestak was treated will make most people unhappy, regardless of party affiliation. He was a democrat all along, suddenly Arlene Spector  who just a couple of years ago was endorsed by George bush for the same seat Obama was endorsing him for was running as a democrat and as the white house favorite. Arlene was running not because he loved the democratic philosophy so much, but with a selfish agenda. He wanted to keep his seat, and he thought he had a better chance doing that as  a democrat.

If i were  a voter in Pennsylvania, no matter what the president told me, and believe me i am a huge Obama supporter i would not have voted for Arlene Spector. My conscience would not have allowed me to. People expected way more from the President on issues like this, this was a morality issue. You don’t want the American people questioning your sense of morality and fairness. when incidents like this happen.

Second Issue : The Oil spill in the gulf of Mexico. This started as an unfortunate  disaster but has turned into a catastrophy. I wonder how the people of the Niger delta in Nigeria feel as they watch this ugly incident unfold. But that’s a story for another day. It has been almost 40 days and the oil still spews from the deep-sea. BP which owns majority stake in the well, has suffered tremendous public relations and competency blows, but so has the President and the white house.

Every one knows there is nothing the President can do to stop the Oil spill. The US government does not have the expertise to stop the spill, and they must rely on BP to do that part. But this is what the President should do and has not done enough.

First, this has become headline number one in the US. It has become a national security issue. Some have called it Obama’s Katrina, and they will do whatever it takes to make him look like a failure just like George bush was after Katrina. They want their pound of flesh back. The President needs to stop whatever he is doing, and head over to the gulf of Mexico , remain there until this  hole is plugged.

The American people want to see a passionate president, one that is on BP’s neck, one that is in total control of the whole project. They don’t see that right now.  They see an administration which is disjointed and gives mixed messages at press conferences.

This is the first major crisis that has happened on Mr Obama’s watch and his handling of it has not increased his reputation for competence, leadership or, strangely, empathy. He was there for a couple of hours last week, that does not cut it. He has to move the white house down there.

This is a period of crisis, Katrina devastated this area, and people here think the government’s response was weak and lackadaisical during Katrina. President Obama does not want to look like this. This is his time to show how great and compassionate a man he is, he needs to go over to the Gulf right now and stay there till this whole thing is solved, because right now he looks disconnected from the reality of what is going on.

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