Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Basketball brackets

Japan is imploding. Libyan rebels are being slaughtered. Stock markets around the world are tanking. Gas prices are well on their way to $4.00 a gallon. Unemployment is persistently high. Housing starts are at their lowest level since 1984. Food prices are skyrocketing and the U.S debt is unsustainable. What is the leader of the free world doing during these pressing times? He is picking basketball brackets on ESPN and planning a trip to Rio. The President seems strangely detached from the crises plaguing the United States and the world. The following are examples:

Japan: Our ally is in a deep crisis. There is not enough, food, shelter or water. It would not be uncalled for, for the President to direct U.S. resources to organize a small-scale Marshall Plan and get food and water in there and direct our nuclear technicians to come up with a plan to help with the nuclear crisis. The President, instead made an offhand comment while making basketball picks, that while the rest of us were picking basketball brackets and were on the internet anyway, maybe we could go over to USAID and figure out how to help. I'm sorry, President Obama, I am too busy to worry about basketball - and you should be, too. It seems President Obama has moved on.

Libya: After several days of rebellion, the President announced that Quadafi should step down and he pledged support to the rebels. There was even talk of a no-fly zone. Now Quadafi has gained the upper-hand and is slaughtering the rebels and the U.S. and its leadership are no where in sight. President Obama has moved on.

Haiti: The media heralded Haiti as an opportunity for the President to show everyone that he was engaged and was going to handle the situation better than Bush handled Katrina. He made a statement about how the United States stood ready to help. Yet what have we done in Haiti? It is a year later and rubble still lines the streets, a million are homeless and they are still pulling bodies out of the rubble. President Obama has moved on.

Unemployment: President Obama on numerous occasions has said that unemployment was his number one focus. He said that the stimulus package would ensure that unemployment would not go over 8%. Yet here we are, over two years after that announcement with unemployment persistently above 9%. President Obama has moved on.

BP Oil Spill: The President pledged to do everything he could to prevent the devastation and damage, but when the governor called for permission to install booms, the President failed to respond and moved on.

Deficit reduction: President Obama pledged to work with Republicans and Democrats to focus on the fiscal crisis. However, he has yet to meet with Republicans and Democrats and even members of his own party are begging him to lead.

$4.00 Gallon Gas: The President has lamented the gas prices, but continues to fail to act on drilling permits in the gulf as directed by a federal court. Shell Oil has given up on drilling in Alaska due to regulatory delays. Another opportunity to lead, lost.

Healthcare overhaul: Even with his signature plan to overhaul the nation's healthcare system, the President was detached. He directed Congress to come up with a plan instead of proposing his own plan. As a result Obamacare is an incoherent mess.

What is the reason for the President's detachment on critical issues? Perhaps he enjoys the trappings of being President but not the work involved. Perhaps he is frustrated by the fact that he has to make decisions? Perhaps he doesn't like the fact that he has opposition in Congress. Perhaps he would rather be President of China. Whatever the reason, these critical times call for leadership and he is in a position to lead. The country needs him to lead and the world needs him to lead.

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