Is Obama a mature, responsible President?

It was a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t remember his name or the name of his book, but I heard a guy on evening talk radio, on NPR, say that Obama has made a big political mistake by not blaming the weak economy on George W. Bush.

According to this author, Franklin Roosevelt constantly reminded Americans that he inherited a mess that Herbert Hoover’s policies had created.

He always framed his initiatives as efforts to clean up the mess made by Hoover.

The joke was, he said, that Roosevelt ran against Hoover four times.

By contrast, Obama has not even mentioned George Bush’s name since he took office.

It’s hard to believe that this is true. Certainly he’s said “President Bush” at least once in the past eleven months.

I’ve heard Obama say that he inherited this mess, but I don’t recall hearing him say Bush’s name or refer to him at all. Whether or not such an observation is accurate, the spirit of what he said is very true.

Obama has paid a price, because he’s allowed Republicans to blame him for a lot of problems that he did not create and has tried to fix.


Certainly there are political reasons. He is showing respect for the office he now inhabits and lets other people in his party do the dirty work.

But it might also be an intentional effort to usher in the age of responsibility he has spent much time talking about.

Politics is inherently irresponsible. Republicans blame Clinton, Johnson, Kennedy, and even Roosevelt for many of the problems we face today.

When the economy thrived under Clinton, Republicans gave credit to Reagan. When the economy lost jobs under George W. Bush, Republicans blamed Clinton.

As a liberal Democrat, I blame Bush and Reagan for many of the problems we have today.

Jimmy Carter inherited a terrible economy.  It got worse.  He blamed the American people.

In politics, blame is the name of the game.

Perhaps Obama wants to play it different.

The economic collapse happened during Bush’s presidency, and all the economists predicted recovery would take years, not months — regardless of who was elected President.

Nobody was certain what would happen or what measures would work — and it’s clear Obama is trying. I trust our President and think he will succeed, but hasn’t had enough time yet.

But it seems that politics is inherently immature. Blame the other side for all problems.

If something is not true, then simply change the facts.

Reagan exploded the deficit while saying that government spending was the root of all our problems.  Bush did the same.

They blamed the Democrats for “taxing and spending,” while they taxed and spent more than Democrats.

At one point, the Bush administration actually had the majority of Americans thinking that Iraq was responsible for 9/11. Not true — but the truth didn’t matter. I had conversations with folks who said that inaccuracy was a matter of opinion.

I’m sure many people think Obama is responsible for the economic collapse that took place before he became President. In the next election, the year of the collapse could become a matter of opinion.

We all know, however, that we cannot change the past. We can only do something today, take responsibility for it, and thereby take responsibility for creating the future.

This seems to be Obama’s perspective.

He doesn’t attack the opposition or blame Bush. He even tries to create bipartisan activity in Congress — even though Republicans will have no part of that.

Am I naive, or is this a sign of maturity and responsibility — Obama trying to practice what he preaches?

8 Replies to “Is Obama a mature, responsible President?”

  1. We don’t have a democrat or republican problem, we have a government problem.

    As I see it, the two issues taking center stage now are health care and the economy, and from my perspective these are the two issues we have most excluded God from.

    Once we value what actually has value we will see vast improvements regardless who’s in the President’s seat.

    My question is, (and this is not directed to you Sam) “Will it make any difference if the President is democrat or republican? If the answer is “Yes” then you may be part of the problem and are quite likely holding up progress.

    When we truly and humbly put God first in our lives, good things happen.

    1. Of course the political party makes a difference in government policy.

      Our constitution allows for freedom of religion.

      Are you suggesting we would be better off with a theocracy — like Iran?

  2. Of course not.
    I just mean that whether the President is a democrat or republican is fine with me as long as we as a country get back on track with our priorities.

  3. He doesn’t attack the opposition or blame Bush. He even tries to create bipartisan activity in Congress — even though Republicans will have no part of that.

    Neither a sign of maturity nor responsibility. I would say that it is a simple use of wisdom. You need to get things done. You need a majority. So, you try very hard to get both sides to agree on something.

    The man does not deserve credit on this part. He owes it to his advisors. As it is said in proverbs, Plans fail for lack of counsel,
    but with many advisers they succeed.

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful comments, Sam, and I concur, with the exception that I have been, for the past 30 years, an independent. I think that incessant partisanship (not just belonging to different political groups) is the cancer in American political life and needs radical treatment. The American political road tends to be one of “ditch-finders”. Left-ditch or right-ditch, unable to find the middle of the road. And the current Republican party (or those who control it) are doing the nation a disservice with their inane inability to find virtually ANY compromise in the current attempt to “fix” our nation’s many problems.

    And in response to the previous writer’s comment that our problems are all somehow solely tied to a deficiency of “God”, let me loosely quote Thomas Jefferson:
    “Yours must be a fine religion, I can tell by the way you live your life!”

    Morality is not the monopoly of those who tout a belief in the Christian version of God. Buddha (a teacher, NOT a god) espoused spiritual morality 400 years before Jesus came and shared his perspective. I was raised Lutheran and was a seminary student before my studies lead me to further search for the truth (not what would have been easier to SAY that I believed). Only ONE true God? Not hardly.

    We are NOT humans on a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings on a human journey.

    Ed J. Clark
    Nashville, TN
    December 6, 2009

  5. This is my first time visiting this site. For the curious, I stumbled upon it by following a link posted on several Facebook pages. I must admit Mr. Post, this has been a very rewarding and interesting hour spent perusing your blogs. Sam and Ed, I do believe I have read similiar comments by you both before somewhere else. Where else do you opinionate? As someone quite fond of TJ quotes,a few things in Ed’s post stirred a memory but can’t quite place either of you. Getting back to the subject, I must side with “Summerson” on this particular issue based not on political or religous affiliation but on my life experiences. Thanks Gentleman!

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