With Obama's election, there was great hope that he would indeed make some changes. And overall, he's tried. His judgement is different than his predecessor's and after 8 years of disaster under Bush, both in foreign matters (war) and the economy (the bust) almost anything that was a change would be better than what we had.
Recently two issues have surfaced, and I'm thrilled with the ultimate results, but I'm left with some challenges about the President's judgement. Don't get me wrong, I'm a supporter of the President, but confused by his lack of resolute conviction.
The first issue is Syria. The tragedy of the Syrian use of chemical gas put him in a pickle. If he does nothing he's a coward. If he does something he's a hawk. There wasn't much wiggle room there. He then decided to stand up for the downtrodden and the mass-murdered. The doves went in for the attack. Then he decided to open the discussion to the Congress. That was a huge mistake because the governing bodies are so dysfunctional that's like asking a coke whore to make and serve lines of the powder for the guests. It just ain't gonna work.
Then Obama is torn between giving diplomacy a shot or giving the missiles a go. The people say no to military intervention on any level while the warmongering machine says yes. It takes an act of God, an off-the-cuff remark and some luck to turn things around. Diplomacy from our part time ally, Russia, intervenes for everyone's benefit. So for the time being we're off the hook. It's not peacefully dumped into the UN's hands.
But the President's reputation has taken a hit because he couldn't make up his mind. Indecision is the plaything of -- no, not the devil -- but the GOP. It's the Republican's tool to continue to gum up the works for another two years.
Now we have the issue of the Fed Chairman. Obama wanted Larry Summers. The president's party didn't like him. The opposing party wanted him even less. Yet Obama still floated his name and gave all indications that Summers was his guy. Why? What did he see in Summers that the rest of congress didn't? Here's Chris Hayes weighing in.
Once again, I'm drawn to wondering why the president is making some of his choices -- or hesitating on these choices. With Syria you could make the argument that there was an urgency. And lives were in immediate peril. With the Fed, the urgency wasn't as immediate yet the president dragged his feet. Fortunately Summers is no longer an issue.
Now my personal belief is that poll-testing a candidate has its merits. Based on the bombastic results, I don't believe Larry Summers withdrew his name -- but rather was told by Obama that he couldn't get Summers nomination passed. To save face, he asked Larry to publicly withdraw. The former Harvard President did as he was asked.
But if my supposition is correct, why was Summers ever considered, after all the bungles and gaffs attributed to him, summarized nicely in Chris Hayes' piece above? When you have someone like Janet Yellen in the wings, someone who almost everyone thinks is a better choice, I have to start questioning judgement once again by the president. Even beyond Yellen, there are other choices, perhaps even a fresh face, not a Clinton administration retread.
I voted for this man because I wanted him making the hard decisions, not McCain nor Romney. Now I'd like to see Obama make the changes, and not waffle. I may not like the ultimate choice, but I'm looking for decisiveness. I hope this current wavering and indecision isn't a sign of things to come. I hope it's just his carefully considering all angles before he signs on the dotted line. But one thing's for sure -- he can do a better job at publicly conveying his decision making.