Comment Of The Day #2: “Nobody Should Be Cheering The Poll Showing President Obama As Regarded As ‘The Worst President Since World War II’”

Film-ProjectorI had barely posted the first Comment of the Day on the recent post regarding the explosive poll showing President Obama sinking below all previous post-war Chief Executives in the public’s estimation, when another excellent deserving one, by Mark, arrived.

Mark doesn’t comment often, but when he does, his posts are always eloquent and thoughtful. Here is his Comment of the Day on the essay, Nobody Should Be Cheering The Poll Showing President Obama As Regarded As “The Worst President Since World War II”.

I don’t go all the way with you on this one, Jack, but certainly a part of the way. A few years ago I learned about projections – how we project what we want/see/expect onto other people even when, or especially when, the projection has nothing to do with who they really are, and the consequence of not seeing clearly the person in front of us. If nothing else, President Obama has been a victim of that idea.

In 2008, he was a blank screen onto which people projected what they wanted to see after the Bush years and a rapidly tanking economy. He was HOPE, CHANGE, and perhaps worse, we ennobled him with the idea that he was something other than a standard-issue Washington politician. The fact that he was African American only amplified the idea of his actually making a difference in Washington because he was, indeed, so different from any other candidate we had seen since Kennedy and his Roman Catholicism. I think our ultimate projection might have been that if we could do this, elect a black man, then we would bring change to the country simply by “curing” the centuries-old race issues in the US or making a good run at it. Projections are powerful and in the hands of a collective even more so. After a time during the 2008 election, it didn’t matter what he said or did, he WAS hope and change, not a candidate.

And, in the absolute cynicism of American politics, all the pollsters, pundits, and creatures of his campaign knew and exploited this (and they’ll do it again for someone else come 2016).

In the moment he was elected, as an African American, I felt something incredible – a man like me in the White House, a supreme victory after slavery, Jim Crow, and the spilled blood of Till and King. I also felt an unease – could he govern? We knew he could run a crackerjack campaign, but could he replicate that kind of success from the Oval Office? In 2008, I figured only time would tell and to an extent it has. He was neither an outsider to Washington nor a maverick, both projections, not to mention a relative lack of experience compared to other presidents. I will say – and I know you agree – that he did not come to Washington to cause harm, but with a deep love for the country and an expectation that he could do what he had intended and promised. Perhaps those were his own projections upon a system that had no intention of bearing them out. I don’t know.

Like I said – I won’t go all the way with you on this and the points of disagreement are about perception of events and we each have our own. I will not say, either, that he is the worse president since WWII – that is, again, a matter of perception. Where we absolutely agree is a share of this lies with the American people who have not figured out how to counter systems – both political and governmental – that are increasingly cynical, unethical, and devoid of any sense of the common good for our nation. “Have you no sense of decency, Sir?” is truer today than it was in 1954 and should be asked of every politician in Washington from the President on down. In the last eight years everybody of every political stripe has some blood on their hands for this mess. We lay it at his feet because – unfortunately for him – the buck does stop there.

So now we wait for the curtains to part on another blank screen onto which we’ll project our hope for a country that is different from the one we’re living in now. We’ll hear from sincere, well meaning candidates who will tell us what we want to hear rather than what is true and doable, and we’ll buy it. The first woman in the White House is ripe for that, as is the first Hispanic, or a TRUE American Tea Party candidate. They’ll all present themselves and we’ll beam on.

I’m back for a second.

One point Mark makes that I want to endorse: Barack Obama fully intended to do what he believed was the best for the nation. That his ideas regarding what this was may have been misguided and mistaken are irrelevant. Every President who accepted this job willing risked his health, reputation, family, life and sanity to serve his fellow Americans. They all deserve our gratitude, admiration and respect–every one of them. Until late in the 20th Century, when health care and medical procedures advanced, the job had a deserved reputation as a killer: if the President wasn’t murdered or didn’t die in office, he left office broken in health, mind or spirit. And the job is harder now than ever.

Nevertheless, we should continue to hold every President to the highest standards. There are always reasons to fail, but if a President fails, he owns that failure…expectations, projections, impediments, politics, bad luck not withstanding. He owns it all. It comes with the job.

10 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day #2: “Nobody Should Be Cheering The Poll Showing President Obama As Regarded As ‘The Worst President Since World War II’”

  1. I never drank the Kool-Aid. Sometimes I felt like a lone voice crying in wilderness “this man should not become President”. I hope for the sake of the country that we never get another one like him.

  2. I think you and Mark are being overly generous to Obama.

    Given his relationships with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, among others, the preponderance of the evidence, in my opinion points to Obama as someone who believed America was a scourge, and what was best for the world was a lowering of America’s profile and a reduction of America’s strength.

    His creation of a “blank screen” was to mask that. He was skillful as well.

    To me, what was revealing was who he turned his full energy against: It wasn’t the Taliban, al-Qaeda, or groups like that. He turned his full force and energy against the political opposition to his domestic proposals. We know who angered him – it was those who disagreed with Obamacare and his plans to increase the size and scope of the government.

    • I think this is guilt by association, especially regarding Ayers. Politicians make alliances with a lot of odd and unsavory people for expedience—that’s the profession. FDR claimed that Stalin was a pal. Unless I see something more convincing, I think Obama was loyal to a radical pastor and a church to develop community support and connections. Ayers is despicable, but many of us have despicable associates from time to time. Romney campaigned with Donald Trump.

      I don’t see Obama as that calculating, sinister, or strategic. He really is what Democrats said that Bush was—over his head, foundering, and trapped in a job he has no aptitude for. I think it’s hell for him.

  3. I do not agree and especially with these past 14 years of leadership. His ideas are not irrelevant in any shape or manner. He knew what he was doing and what path he was / is taking.

    This part is being romanticized:
    This idea of every President who accepted this job willing risked his health, reputation, family, life and sanity to serve his fellow Americans. They all deserve our gratitude, admiration and respect–every one of them.

    You might hold an office in respect, but that by no means the individual holding that job deserves a blank note to be given of gratitude and/or respect. You earn those spots and he has not done so. This is quite the lucrative position and even the pay of President might not be much, you need to look at all the other financial gains that they each walk away with from businesses and etc. None of them walk away poor..yep, even the Clinton’s whom now cry out that they are poor. They know very well that this position will make them wealthy and secure and they have no qualms about placing themselves and/or their family members in order to receive the finical security this will bring.

      • This is where I believe you are incorrect . If you take the salary only, yes they would be underpaid. But the additional perks they have while in office , they are paid EXTREMELY well.

        Maybe years ago (many years ) they did not take the job for the monies.

        But it has expanded immensely over the years that these individuals do take the job as President for power, connections, the lucrative monies that come from stock dealings and etc. being made while being President to take into not only their current days, but to carry with them after their Presidential term has ran out… The value system of President has changed drastically concerning ethics and morals.

        They know absolutely what they are doing before getting into the game and it is for their own personal power and Monetary gain. So to indicate that they are suffering in some manner and never realized this was going to occur to them and their families if false.

        I disagree with you. You are romanticizing something of many years ago.

        The government is a business / corporation, the same as any other corporation/business.

        Your earn respect and gratitude. This is something you give nobody just because that individual has a title. These past two administration especially have abused their power and this administration has IMMENSELY abused those powers.

        • You are just plain wrong, and there is nothing in the backgrounds of any Presidents, past of present, to indicate that or support your contention. The President earns (a lousy) $400,000 a year. It is really an honorarium. The CEO of even a small to medium size corporation, university or non-profit earns more. College football coaches earn more. This, for a round the clock job with immense responsibility, almost constant criticism and controversy, and no real relief even during “vacations.” If the government was a business, “the same as any other corporation/business,” there would be many, many, many businesses with better working conditions, more “perks,” less risk and more satisfaction. Clinton and Obama are rare recent examples of Presidents who came to the White House without already being rich. When is it, do you think, that this sea change occurred? Was Romney seeking the job for the money and perks? Stock dealings? It you are serious, you are absurd.

          I didn’t say the fact that the job is a killer is a surprise—that is one reason why we owe anyone who takes it our gratitude. You earn gratitude in a democracy by taking on a job of immense public service. These man have, and do. Every one of them made horrible mistakes. Every one should be respected for the courage and self sacrifice to even try.

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