The Amateur

TheAmateur-Cover211The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House is the title of a book by Edward Klein that was first published May 15, 2012. The Google eBook synopsis of this publication says:

“It’s amateur hour at the White House. So says New York Times bestselling author Edward Klein in his new political exposé The Amateur. Tapping into the public’s growing sentiment that President Obama is in over his head, The Amateur argues that Obama’s toxic combination of incompetence and arrogance have run our nation and his presidency off the rails. ‘Obama was both completely inexperienced and ideologically far to the left of Americans when he entered the White House,’ says Klein. ‘And he was so arrogant that he didn’t even know what he didn’t know.’… From Obama’s conceited and detached demeanor, to his detrimental reliance on Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett’s advice, to the Obama’s extravagant and out-of-touch lifestyle, The Amateur reveals a president whose blatant ignorance and incompetence is sabotaging himself, his presidency, and America.”


Of course, at the time of its publication, there were reviews praising it (generally, by right-leaning individuals/organizations), as well as reviews trashing it (generally, by left-leaning individuals/organizations). Since the book’s publication date was well into the primary season for the 2012 presidential election, it came at a time when I had already decided to vote for the Republican Presidential Nominee that November. So, although I don’t think my views were quite as harsh as those presented by the Google eBooks synopsis, I’d say that I had come to be in general agreement with its theme. Since then, sadly, I believe that President Obama has continued to prove that Klein’s allegations were completely accurate, if not understated. And, sadder still, affirmation of this truth seems to continue to grow and even accelerate, on a nearly daily basis.


Undoubtedly, those whose reviews trashed Klein’s book professed that he had only assembled his assertions to support opinions of Obama that he had held from the outset of his presidency. And, I’m just as sure that they would level the same charges at me. With that, I’d remind them of an article I wrote at the time of President Obama’s first inaugural, entitled A Prayer in Baltimore. In that piece, I said:

“Although I didn’t vote for Barack Obama, I do want his presidency to be successful. … I really do want to be supportive of the Obama administration where I can and I want to encourage others to do likewise … I don’t think we are doing our best for those who share our views or for our country, if opposition is all we put forward. … My hope with this, in general, is much the same as what I’ve stated in earlier posts – e.g., America’s 21st Century Civil War . In that posting, I stated that, ‘Unfortunately, our nation has drifted away from … a quality that made us great in the first place. Some think of it as Yankee ingenuity. I say it’s a greater strength that comes from the synergy of the best of our differing ideas.That’s a perspective I want to maintain. … Whether or not you share my views, I recommend taking time to … give some added thought to how you, as an individual, can add to that ‘greater strength’.”


Regardless of my prayerful intent to be supportive of the Obama administration where I could, while encouraging others to do likewise, Obama’s presidency has not turned out to be successful. In fact, instead of success, failure seems to be the most common descriptor. On domestic issues; the majority of Americans now disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, the federal budget and job creation. Of course the hallmark failure here is Obamacare. On the foreign front, missteps have included: leaving Iraq and Afghanistan to again become havens for jihadists, the lapses leading to the attack on our mission in Benghazi and the cover up of our botched response, the abandonment of Israel in favor of a miserable deal with Iran, our meaningless redline in Syria and our impotence in  addressing Russia’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine.

Of course, as the failures of the Obama presidency became more and more apparent, it became harder and harder for me to find ways to be supportive. Instead, it became more common for me to be considering the best approach to repairing the wreck that the Obama administration has made of our nation. However, I believe we have passed a point where that’s not nearly enough. I suppose, with domestic issues, I’d still be OK with my “getting ready to repair the wreck” approach. However, Obama’s fecklessness with foreign policy increasingly leaves me in fear of winding up in a state that is beyond repair. According to the following statement from an article in the Washington Post, entitled Obama needs a foreign policy reset , I’m far from being alone in my sentiment.

“The American people may not follow foreign policy regularly, but they know failure when they see it. They know when the wheels are coming off the bus. Gallup reports: For the first time, more Americans think President Barack Obama is not respected by other world leaders than believe he is. Americans’ opinions have shifted dramatically in the past year, after being relatively stable from 2010 to 2013.”


With this shift, though my political activity has been somewhat dormant in the past few years, I’ve decided that I must become more vocal about the need for dramatic change in the course our nation is on. Since I don’t see a likely scenario for us to change presidents until 2016, the first thing we must do is to do all we can to influence the current president by making our voices heard through other elected officials, polls, etc. Next, is the midterm election coming up later this year. Frankly, I’d be hard pressed to argue with those who point to both the Democrat Senate and the Republican House as pretty ineffective too. However, I see a Republican majority in both legislative bodies as the most likely way to positively impact the negative direction of the Obama presidency. Finally, in 2016, we must elect a new president who is a truly qualified leader, who is fully committed to serving our nation through strengthening the values America was founded on and rebuilding from there.

Ironically, I found that Garry Kasparov, the Russian (formerly Soviet) chess champion turned democracy activist, recently provided pithy summaries that were most telling about the need for change in our presidency and the wrong sort of change to make. These were in the following two Tweets from Kasparov on Twitter.

“… when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine, so far, Carter looks like Churchill in comparison.”

“Hillary was the captain of the Titanic that was US-Russia relations as Secretary of State. Her as admiral of whole fleet makes me nervous!”

For me, Kasparov’s comments just underscore the need for change in our presidency and that the right move to make isn’t just to replace the Captain of The Good Ship Hope & Change (a/k/a the 21st Century Titanic) with the heir-apparent. We need a new Captain, a new crew, a new ship and a dramatically revised sailing plan.

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