During the last presidential campaign, President Barack Obama, time and again, made promises about the changes he would make when he became commander in chief of the United States of America. He appeared to relish the "commander in chief" title.
It seems to me a commander in chief's job entails (1) knowing to whom he is responsible, (2) setting priorities, (3) gathering the best information and advice before taking action, (4) developing an esprit de corps that will attract a maximum of followers and (5) defending the country. This isn't an easy job. Past presidents have faltered on these criteria, and Obama has weakened his presidency by not adhering more closely to them.
Above all else, the commander in chief should be more responsible to American citizens than to a political party. This not a Republican or Democrat issue both parties have long made decisions and legislated with an eye toward the next election. The public is revolted by the blatant lying, corruption, bloated government, bureaucratic red tape and misuse of taxpayers' money. Political ambition is overriding serving the citizens.
Secondly, a commander in chief should set his priorities in a manner that best serves the nation. Our country has been crippled by the economic recession. The top priority of the administration should have been jobs for the unemployed rather than the reform of health care. Health care reforms are needed, but they should have been delayed.
The third criterion for good leadership - gathering information and advice before taking action -is the greatest failure of our commander in chief. It has been absolutely astounding to watch the president jam stimulus spending and health care reform down our throats. The president thrives on the glory of being the first president to achieve certain accomplishments whether they are good or bad. Well, he has made his mark in history and should be cited in The Guinness Book of World Records for passing legislation written behind doors closed to the opposing party, unread by any member of Congress, committing to expenditures that will put a huge burden on future generations, and brow beating a spineless Congress that has lost any conception of the checks and balances system in our Constitution.
The administration makes policies that do not work well and then calls in special commissions to do the job. We did it with Homeland Security and we are now starting to do it on the economy. Why don't we call in the experts before writing the legislation?
The fourth major criterion is to develop a esprit de corps that will attract as many followers as possible. Obama and Congress soured many who felt they were ignored and excluded from meaningful participation in the legislative process. By not crossing the aisle in a gesture of bipartisanship, he lost most of the support of the opposing party. By saddling the taxpayers with a huge indebtedness, he has lost some support from many who voted for him as well as some members of his own party. This is real trouble for a commander in chief.
Defending the country is perhaps the most important task of the commander in chief. The best military decision Obama has made was sending more troops to the Middle East as requested by the military commanders. However, the immediate closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has presented problems not anticipated establishing a new location for prisoners.
It is the duty of a commanding officer to look after his troops. The president has failed that responsibility regarding the prosecution of three Navy SEALS. At the risk of their lives, these men captured the terrorist who orchestrated the killing of four Blackwater security contractors, burning the bodies, dragging them through the streets of Fallujah, Iraq, and then hanging them from a bridge. The terrorist filed a complaint that he had been "punched in the gut" and given a bloody lip. It is unbelievable that these three men were put on trial for such a minor offense. Thankfully, the SEALS have been found not guilty. Obama should have used his commander-in-chief power to handle this without a trial. These men carried out their mission, and then were left hanging out to dry by their commander in chief.
The commander in chief should protect our borders. The problem of stopping people from illegally crossing our southern border has been festering for years, yet Obama has done nothing to bring a halt to these crossings. He recognized the problem when he said, "If you've got hundreds of thousands of people coming in, not playing by the rules, that's a problem, and the federal government has been abdicating on its responsibilities for a very long time on this issue." The Washington Post of April 29 reported, "In his remarks to reporters, Obama cited the bruising battle over health care and the current debate on financial regulatory reform and an energy bill, as well as November's midterm congressional elections, as reasons an immigration bill might have to wait."
That says it all.
In summary, Obama is a shade closer to being a political opportunist than a commander in chief. He had better reflect on these matters or his musical entrances might be changed from "Hail to the Chief" to "Ring Around the Rosie."