By SHERMAN FREDERICK
Clint Eastwood nailed it. In his now-famous speech to the invisible Obama and the empty chair, he said: “We own this country. When someone isn’t doing the job, we’ve got to let (him) go.”
That is The Great Disappointment of the Barack Obama era. Had he fulfilled his promises, he might have been somebody very special. Instead, he’s become an empty chair, a blank spot where a president used to be. When he now intones his rhetoric, gone is the inspiring call to a better nation, a better people. It is replaced with an ungenerous spirit and a pettiness turned mean. He talked big but governed small.
Here are the “Big Three” Obama disappointments.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Obama said he’d get people back to work and cut the budget deficit in half.
He had a blank check and the nation’s full support. He failed.
Unemployment, as the government now calculates it, has gone way up and hovers nationwide at just under 8 percent. The unvarnished truth, however, is millions of Americans have given up looking for work during the Obama years. The real unemployment rate stands at a depression-like level. Obama apologists argue that he never really promised to bring down unemployment to a certain level — he only made a projection. For people hurting, that’s picking fly scat out of pepper.
On the federal budget deficit, Obama made a firm vow one month after taking office: “Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. Now, this will not be easy. It will require us to make difficult decisions and face challenges we’ve long neglected. But I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay, and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control.”
He failed again. He took no responsibility for his own spending, governed without a budget, and each year of his presidency posted a budget deficit as high as ever. His spending plans won not a single vote in Congress. If the president’s own words mean anything, then he burdened “our children with a debt that they cannot repay.”
Osama bin Laden is dead, and so is our ambassador to Libya.
Not a good trade, as it indicates that under Obama’s watch our security and influence around the world has slipped.
We’re pulling out of countries without getting the job done. We’ve intervened in Libya using a rationale we won’t apply to Syria. We foster the rise of radicalized Muslims and snub allies like Israel. The world wonders what America stands for.
Our ambassador and three others went down in Libya. The details remain sketchy, primarily due to obfuscation by the White House. What we do know is the president failed to protect our consulate on, of all days, the anniversary of 9/11. As a result, our ambassador and three other Americans died in a terrorist attack.
The morning after they died in an eight-hour gun battle, which the White House followed in real time but to which they sent no backup or rescue, President Obama flew to Las Vegas for a campaign stop without meeting face-to-face with his national security team. What kind of leader behaves like that?
When running for office in 2008, Obama told Univision’s Jorge Ramos this: “What I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting.”
In 2012, he sat in front of Ramos again begging for Hispanic support. Obama’s guarantee had meant nothing.
“A promise is a promise, and with all due respect, you didn’t keep that promise,” Ramos rightly said.
Obama talked big, but did nothing. He never even introduced an immigration reform bill, even though he and his party controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. Americans gave Obama a fair shot to do the job. He failed. And he has no one to blame but himself.
Sherman Frederick is former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and former editor of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.