THUNDER BAY – The other night David Letterman in his opening monologue commented that President Obama “will have plenty of time to vacation after his one-term presidency is over”.
Letterman is a shrewd observer and commentator of American events. For the popular talk show host to make that pronouncement is major. It is likely the 2010 version of when Walter Cronkite declared that the Vietman War could not be won.
That move pushed President Johnson to reportedly say “If I have lost Cronkite, I have lost Middle America”.
Obama may have already lost those key political states.
In Canada the word that “A week is a long time in politics” can be magnified in the United States where just under two years ago the American people elected Barack Obama as their President in a landslide.
Voters also gave the Democratic Party majorities in both the House and the Senate.
Today, in Washington DC, between 300,000 to 500,000 people gathered at an event co-ordinated by Fox News personality Glenn Beck.
The theme? Restoring Honour to America.
The turnout likely sends quiet shivers of fear straight through the heart of the Democratic Party. The shift in political fortunes for Obama demonstrate the importance of having solid action backing the eloquence of one’s words.
No one can deny that President Obama came to office on a tidal wave of oratory and good will. The newly elected President offered a stark contrast to the sometimes stumbling words of President George W. Bush.
However, for all his eloquence, Obama has not been able to put as many of his words into deeds, and that is likely to hammer both the Democrats and his presidency.
Obama’s problems started perhaps that June night in 2008 when he secured the votes to be assured he would be the Democratic Party nominee for President.
“The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals”.
Obama raised expectations so high that it would be literally impossible for him to meet the lofty rhetoric he, all on his own, had launched.
Obama’s political opponents have been able to nail him on many of his rhetorical promises that have not come to pass.
As the American economy has stalled, and as the war in Afghanistan has continued Obama appears not unlike former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, or President George H. Bush.
The two former single term Presidents when faced with crisis didn’t seem to have the ability to overcome those problems.
Today’s rally in Washington might well mark the time that the people started to take action against lofty words. Heading into November’s elections in the United States, what is at stake for Obama is simply his presidency.
For those in Washington, likely it is their version of America that is at stake.
Political clash is the likely ballot box battle that will be fought in November.
That of course is just my opinion, as always your mileage may vary.