It is often interesting to look at the ease with which non-incumbent candidates can point to the incumbent’s record and critique their performance and bloviate about what they would do in similar situations. It is hard to prevent such a successful strategy and we have learned with the current resident of the White House that a blank slate can be a powerful tool when combined with a thorough lack of inspection of a candidate’s qualifications by both the main stream media and many of the voters.
The recent events in Lybia has highlighted the difference in President Obama as a senator (both state and then federal) and candidate versus his role now as Commander-In-Chief…
Principle: The Bush Doctrine (i.e. pre-emptive use of military force to protect “American interests”).
Senator Obama: “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to…this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships” October 2, 2002 (as Illinois senator)
President Obama: “For these purposes, I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations and as commander-in-chief and chief executive. I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.” (March 2011 regarding his actions to bomb a sovereign country without Congressional approval).
FramingThe Dialogue: What…you didn’t think that I’d chime in? Lest you forget that in spite of Senator Obama’s rhetoric, President Bush HAD gotten approval from Congress to use force, had 17 United Nations resolutions, and had a rather large coalition of nations supporting the invasion of Iraq. I do not use this to support the decision to invade Iraq, it is just interesting how bombing Libya is somehow okay now that a Democrat is doing it. What happens when the first Americans are shot down and killed or captured? Wrap your mind around this new definition of “my constitutional authority to conduct US foreign relations.” Bombing = foreign relations.
Principle: Use of Guantanamo Bay as a “prison” for terrorists.
Senator Obama: Obama campaigned on the promise to close Gitmo
President Obama: In one of his first actions as president Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo within one year (Januar 2009)
FramingThe Dialogue: It is now March 2011 and Gitmo is still open for business.
Principle: Iraq War
Senator Obama: Promise to end Iraq War in 2009 (victory speech in Texas February 2008)
President Obama: Obama “declares” end to Iraq War (August 2010). Six months later our troops are still there.
FramingThe Dialogue: I am not sure how Obama’s declaration of the end of the Iraq War is any different than Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech after the end of combat operations early in the Iraq War. Perhaps I missed something in reality and just saying something makes it so. I have lost 50 pounds! Nope didn’t work.
Principle: Afghanistan War
Senator Obama: “So far what he is talking about is what Afghans want to hear: reduce troops in Iraq, focus on Afghanistan and focus on Pakistan.” (from news story about Senator Obama’s trip in July 2008).
President Obama: Months after a request from his field commander for more troops Obama decides to give him half of what he requested. (February 2009)
FramingThe Dialogue: Focus or Dithering?
Principle: Standing with his Union “brothers” when striking.
Senator Obama: “If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States.” (Senator Obama, 2007)
President Obama: “I think that the president has different means of speaking out on issues and being heard. And, clearly, he did. He made his viewpoints known on the situation in Wisconsin, the need for people to come together.” (White House spokesman Jay Carney, February 2011).
FramingThe Dialogue: It was a Wednesday and he had a tee time to meet.
Principle: Sharing the pain of the economic downturn and the wealth
Senator Obama: “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” (remarks to Joe the Plumber while on campaign trail in Ohio – 2008)
President Obama: I have seen estimates that President Obama has been “outside of Washington DC a total of 188 days” which includes vacations, trips to Camp David campaign (I mean domestic trips). In addition he has played over sixty rounds of golf and has hosted dozens of parties at the White House featuring gourmet dining.
FramingThe Dialogue: It seems that Obama’s share of the wealth is much greater than Joe the Plumbers.
Realizing that being a candidate is more fun Obama has begun campaigning again in earnest.