2009-03-26 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

Obama The Hard Worker: Give The Guy A Break!
By Charles Rogers

Iknow, I know. Right from the start, I've been fairly critical of President Barack Obama — even before he got the Big Job. Frankly, I must admit to a bit of a wishy-washy attitude at first. On the one hand, I, along with other critics, had to admit to all those wonderful attributes we'd seen in the man: youth, freshness, integrity, intelligence, graciousness and oratorical skills that would have knocked William F. Buckley right out of the box. He had (has) it all.

On the other hand, the youth factor worked against him, especially as it pertains to experience on the job. Now, we know the president is levelheaded. And we know he's conscientious to the extent that he wants to do everything at once. Unfortunately, when he took office (a scant ten weeks ago) there was this economy mess left to him that....Let me rephrase that...there was this ECONOMY MESS left to him (it deserves capital letters, don't you think?) that no lone man should be faced with. He not only had his regular staffing to take care of, but he had to find the best people to become part of his Cabinet. That alone was, and is, a tough job. Even at this writing all the posts have not been filled. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner has not been able to staff his office properly, despite the fact that he needs a good staff now more than anyone in the Administration. That's one of the reasons he's taking so much heat now: THE GUY NEEDS HELP!

With all that being said, we admit that Obama walked into a whirling blender starting on January 20th; a blender that has not stopped, except for a large monkey wrench being thrown at it when more adverse incidents erupt, like greedy executives trying to get big, big, big bonuses out of money that had been given to them to help bail out their corporation — AIG. They say they had the bonus money coming, according to their individual contracts — but something's not right. The Administration knows it and the CEOs know it. It's just not right.

Anyway, this is just one of the many, many problems the president is continuing to wrestle with. He's had these wrestling matches right from the start, and, to be realistic, seems to be handling all of them reasonably well. Of course, when the question arises as to whether he has answers to, say, questions about what to do with the ailing economy, he doesn't have an answer. BUT NEITHER DOES ANYBODY ELSE!

A week ago, the president went on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. As popular as the show is, it became one of the most watched in history — at least in the history of the show. And Obama was just great: affable; funny; serious when he had to be. We've heard about the unfortunate gaffe on the subject of Special Olympics. He said it and was embarrassed about it and apologized. I don't know what else he can do to make reparations, but whatever it is, he'll do it. He's obviously that kind of guy.

A few days later, Obama went on "60 Minutes" to explain the economic plan as he sees it. The following day he had Secretary Geithner explain his program. And the next day he held a press conference to let the public know even more.

What more would you like him to do?

I'm sorry, but I don't go along with those who say Obama's appearance on the Leno Show was "inappropriate" or uncalled for. Or the people who chastised him for making a pick on the Final Four of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Or for appearing on the cover of magazines or relaxing at Camp David. It's understandable that Republicans would come off with a few badly-chosen words, blasting the president for cheapening his office and ignoring his responsibilities at this time of "profound, economic, catastrophic distress," but that's just a bunch of sour grapes from sour pusses.

For pity sake, LEAVE THE GUY ALONE! He's got enough to worry about. It's true that he's filled his plate too full. But give the guy a break. Give him room to breathe. He's been digging with the same shovel ever since he came into office and it's okay if he stands tall and straightens his back every now and then. He'll let us know what he's doing, allow himself a swig of cool water, take a deep breath — and then get right back to work.

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