Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Obama Follies: Can Anyone Here Play This Game?

Have you seen some of those recent chase videos where the driver of the reckless and weaving car fleeing police turns out to be a 10 year old kid?

I am beginning to get the feeling that the Obama Administration has about as steady a hand on the wheel of national security that these kids have over the cars they are pilfering.

As I was getting ready to write a memorial column about 9/11, a breaking news flash comes across CNN that as the Presidential motorcade is crossing the Potomac River, the Coast Guard is firing ten rounds at a suspicious vessel in the restricted waters nearby.

As the day unfolds, we find out that it was a pre-planned training exercise which the Coast Guard maybe just forgot to tell anyone about. In fact, the Coast Guard postured that to ensure “its readiness posture” they conduct training scenarios on a daily basis. Really? They customarily shoot off rounds and volleys of live ammunition as a Presidential Motorcade is driving by?

In the back of my mind, there is the memory last April, of the US Air Force One Jet flying over the Hudson accompanied by fighter pilots, which turned out to be a government sponsored promotional photo shoot. All it did was trigger thousands of people to evacuate their offices as memories of 9-11 resurfaced. I can see it now: the next time a 747 lands in the Hudson, citizens are going to think it’s a movie crew.

I remember a Jimmy Breslin book about the hapless New York Mets, who finished the season 40-120. It was called “Can’t Anybody Here Play this Game?” I am beginning to think it is about the Obama Administration, whose first American achievement was “vetting” Cabinet members, half of whom it seemed cheated on their taxes, had illegal housemaids, or skeletons in their closet. Can you imagine what the media would have done if it was a Republican administration trying to get away with this stuff?

The week started with Americans hearing how we are losing the war in Afghanistan and the candidate who said he was bringing troops home said 45,000 more would be going there, as we heard of our bloodiest losses in years. But the real news from the Afghan front came not on the battlefields. Instead, we heard of nude and lewd parties running rampant in the embassy living quarters, courtesy of the security guards we are paying to be there. And in a shrewd tax saving effort, we are now assigning American personnel to to watch over the embassy's security guards. So we are going to watch the watchers. This is no Abu Ghraib, but is it far behind?

We said for years Ronald Reagan was a Teflon president, with nothing sticking to him, but Obama is living like a kid on a water slide. Nine months into the new administration, all we have is an expansion of the old war, with no hope in sight of it ending. The only thing in sight is American soldiers targeted by insurgents while getting killed far away from home.

It is about time that liberals and progressives start holding Mr. Obama to task. The latest outrages are coming on the marijuana front. While the Obama Administration announced early on they were going to stop raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in California, those raids have continued as if President Bush was still in power. His new director of anti drug policy has not modified his stance on pot reform, but remained intransigent, and very little in the way of progressive reform has been delivered, despite early promises.

I am one of the President’s supporters, and I am still confident progressive changes are around the corner. But the corner is beginning to seem like William Westmoreland’s Vietnam War Proclamation that ‘we see the light at the end of the tunnel’. Yeah, and that light is a 15 watt bulb. Heck, some us are still ‘waiting for Godot.’

A government has to move forward on many fronts at once, and it is impossible to expect improvements immediately. It is possible to expect, however, that the new leaders are making their mark, setting their goals, and leading the way to a new direction. I cannot think of a single Cabinet member that has made a marked difference in anything anywhere. Except maybe they got there because they survived that vetting process I joked about earlier.

I remain faithful to the truths that the President espouses, but as my credit cards get cancelled, my credit lines eliminated, I am wondering why only the banks got bailouts. I am wondering why we are giving more credit to the institutions that robbed us instead of the individuals who helped us build our communities. I am wondering how one year after we gave banks millions of dollars that Bank of America executives are still getting trillion dollar payoffs for leaving the disasters they created and coddled, manufactured and mishandled, played out and perpetuated.

I am wondering just wondering when the American dream became the American nightmare, and when the economic crisis will end. I am not sure we have seen the worst. What happens when the airlines come and ask for the bailouts auto dealers did? What happens when commercial properties start crashing the way residences did, and stores like Macy’s and Sears shut their doors? What happens if food prices start to rise?

We are so busy fighting alligators every day I am concerned that we have lost sight of the greater battle to drain the swamp. And there is nothing about a government throwing dollars at every problem which suggests to me that things will change soon. I run an office of five persons and our Blue Cross costs annually are greater than the annual working wage of most Americans. It almosts pays to get sick and not work, just to get value for dollar. But then there are no jobs out there anyway.

So as Jimmy Breslin once wrote of the 1962 NY Mets, I ask, 'Can anyone here play this game?'

No comments:

Post a Comment