You might recall that just a few months after President Obama took office I submitted that I was throwing in the towel. I didn't vote for him, but since he won, I was holding out that this out-of-nowhere junior senator from Illinois we knew nothing about was going to live up to the hype. I don't think any sane citizen fancies their leadership to fail thus, further hurting their country.
It didn't take too long for me to realize that this guy who rode into the White House, larger than life, full of cliché phrases and buzzwords, was just another politician — empty and artificial. Only this politician had a much more progressive agenda from the start, and over the next 3 1/2 years would fail to fulfill promises, succeed in alienating allies and further plunge the country into a financial abyss, more than doubling the deficit.
But hey, he got Obamacare passed, so there's that.
More seriously though, after $16 trillion in debt, a lowered family income, surging unemployment, more people living in poverty, an apology tour to those we owe no apologies to, national credit ratings being lowered, the longest slump in housing history, food stamp usage jumping 35 percent, more than one stimulus that we "needed" pushed into circulation immediately so as not to drop us further into an economic depression, continued bailouts of banks and the auto industry, a moronic foreign policy and billions in taxpayer cash given to green energy companies that have gone bankrupt, I am hard pressed to understand how anyone can think that we, as a nation, are better off than we were four years ago.
The man surrounded himself with self-avowed communists and socialists as advisers. From the start, it has always concerned me. We later discovered that Obama's mentors growing up and even into adulthood were people of highly questionable backgrounds: convicted domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, card-carrying communist Frank Marshall Davis and anti-American Pastor Jeremiah Wright.
It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns when George W. Bush was in charge, either, but that's just the thing — we were already in a miserable situation, and Barack Obama was brought into power based on the idea that our miserable situation would be rectified. Was it too much to think that he could make a difference? Then-candidate Obama once said, "If I don't have this done in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition."
Oh. Well then.
It would appear that even he understood the ramifications before he got to the White House. I'm not totally unreasonable. Had the president even at least tried to have an impact on the economy in a positive way, I might give him a pass. But nothing has been accomplished.
I remember during the 2008 campaign, a friend and I were at a bookstore where there was a shrine of books and posters dedicated to the rising Democratic nominee. His face was on everything, with the words "Hope" and "Change" hoisted on flags. My friend looked at me and said, "I know he is going to win. I want this to go well."
What my friend was really saying (because we understand one another) was he wanted to see the unity and the fanfare continue. He wanted to see us return to greatness again, rallied behind a man that we could all agree on and like.
After eight years of Bush, a guy even his biggest supporters couldn't stand by the end of his tenure, we were all looking for someone to make us feel good again.
I nodded my head in agreement. I wanted those things too. Obama was built to look like the guy we could all come together over, even once saying: "I don't want to be the president of the Democrats or the Republicans; I want to be the President of the United States of America."
It was something I wish he'd meant and lived up to.
We've never been more divided. Our future has never looked so bleak. Things have not rebounded and we are far worse off than four years ago.
He failed. Can we get past the pride thing and agree that it's time to try someone else?
Contact columnist Wade Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.