Obama and Leadership

When Hillary Clinton questioned Barack Obama's leadership experience and capabilities during the primaries, I scoffed. With about eight months under his belt as president, I'm now starting to believe that this one word of caution, may have actually had some substance and unfortunately proven to be pretty prophetic.

About 63 million Americans voted for Obama back in November, and I'd imagine that a large portion of those were firmly behind health care reform, and reform that included a public option. After months of bickering, lies, and little other than selfish concern from Congress, Obama's proven, thus far, to be severely lacking in conviction and leadership with respect to this cause. He's let Max Baucus and a handful of others shape the bill, and not only does the Baucus bill not contain a public option, but it doesn't have any republican support. If the right won't support this, why on Earth was a public option not included? And where's Obama been on all of this? Sure, he talks a lot, but what are his positions? He's made the public option out to be of little importance, when in reality, it's hands-down the most important component of real reform. He may still get a bill, but it won't be reform. This is not change.

And then there are the two wars. Where is Obama on Iraq? Will troops still be out by next year? Afghanistan? As things continue to spiral, what are Obama's plans? All I've heard is "more troops." Really? That's all you've got. What about Bush's tax cuts? Haven't heard a peep about those. The environment? Is this even part of his agenda?

I like Barack Obama. I welcomed his presidency with elation. But he has gotten off to a poor start and I'm starting to wonder if he has the backbone and fortitude to run a country that can so easily be taken over by special interests, the media and well, just about anyone with a loud voice and a compelling lie. Obama has proven to be a strong closer, and on issues like health care reform and two wars, I sure hope that legacy rises once again.