Monday, May 11, 2009

Yes We Can Stumble.

The Obama Presidency began its historic 100-day run with two concerts, one parade, and 10 official inauguration balls. But despite the wild applause and flurry of autograph seekers following the President's first speech to Congress, all hasn't gone off without a hitch. Former cabinet nominees Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, who came under fire for tax errors at best, evasion at worst, have given the Right plenty to be cynical about.

First, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner apologized for his misstep and we generously chucked it up to an honest mistake. After all, anybody could muck up a 1040A schedule, right? Even a financial genius? Although he was ultimately confirmed, it was the first feasting day for a GOP hoping to prove misery loves company.

But when Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer lined up for a free pass as well, a nation in the worst economic recession since the Great Depression was not buying.

Not one, not two, but three nominations for the Obama "Hope Conquers All" administration were not playing fair with the IRS and Obama responded with his first mea culpa of his presidency.

The Left heaved a great sigh of relief because after eight long years, at least there was an admission of error. But why stop there?

Perhaps it'll become a national trend now that superstar Michael Phelps issued an apology to his sponsors and adoring, marriage-proposing fans worldwide claiming he made a mistake of judgement—following the release of his photo with a big party bong.

America's superhuman sweetheart falling head first from an Olympic pool-sized-pedestal, created by the media to crown a mere mortal, was to say the least a bit of a letdown. With revised estimates showing 741,000 layoffs in January alone followed by a current record of 6.3 million unemployed and rising, can't we have a ride-into-the-sunset moment for even a little while?

But on to ponder the deeper implications. Are we a country that can learn from our mistakes? Or has our puritanical humility been lost in an age of unabashed reality TV where its stars are ordinary people willing to do outrageous things in exchange for a one-way admission to the Famous 15?

Can we really change our gluttonous ways of overspending and consumption before our democratic experiment is hauled off to liquidation?

And what does it say about us as a country that our leaders nearest the top are having trouble ponying up their fair share?

Unfortunately for us, there's no sharing of love at the Capitol either, when it comes to passing the economic stimulus in the House. Not one Republican voted for it. Not one.

Now maybe I watched too many natural disaster movies back in the 70s, but I always thought that it is precisely those times of trouble when everybody sets aside their differences and works together?

I don't know whether to be angrier at the Right for passing a bill for big business and not for the lowly worker or the Left for not extending the olive branch in times of utter freakin' financial disaster. As in red alert...things have gotten a bit serious now, DON'T YOU THINK?

In 1904, Mark Twain wrote, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."

It may be that the worst part about the first blunders in a Newbama Age is that the majority has missed an opportunity for badly needed reform. And I'm not talking about energy either. Our government leaders have failed, at least this time, to prove Obama right and the world wrong that Washington really can be different.

Apparently Olympic superstars aren't the only celebs free-falling from the scaffolding.

As far as pausing and reflecting, the presidency does not strike me as a job that's afforded the luxury of philosophy. That is a freedom bestowed upon politicians on the campaign trail, presidential libraries, and the writers of history textbooks. Perhaps that should change if we are to really take a different tack at our nation's difficulties.

Still, hope is not all lost. Congress did get three Republicans to sign on to the final version of the stimulus bill. And despite the tea-party protests that have ensued, it's a start on the pink cloudy road to destiny.

President Obama has sagely issued an honest and sensible entreaty to Americans of all colors, red and blue, black and white, poor and rich to "...pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of remaking America."

It hasn't been very long since Bush's departure into the wild sunset, and it looks like it'll take awhile for the dust to settle.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you back. I've been a bit out of touch with the Washington since the election ended. Glad to see that someone's paying attention.