Sunday, September 13, 2009

Point, Counterpoint: In Sickness and in Health

POINT by Robert (Dr. Know)

When President Obama uttered his "I do's" on January 20 of this year, we all knew he was marrying into a tough situation. His constant companion over the upcoming months and years was not going to be peace and quiet. He was going to wake up each morning facing a cacophony of noise, both at home and abroad.

This has been a difficult union. No sooner has the President turned his attention to one crisis, then another one surfaces. First, the imminent financial collapse gathered all our attention, and most of our life savings. Then, as this disaster eased just a little, the President has faced a summer of talk relating to the sickness of our health care. Looming always in the background has been one foreign disaster after another, from Israel to Iran to Iraq to North Korea to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

What has emerged as a troubling pattern, is that the President says much of what we want to hear, but then leaves its execution to another day, or not at all. He talked the talk about the problems in the financial sector. The overhaul was to come so that we would not be faced with an enemy from within in the days and months to come. If the financial markets are not the same old, same old, then where has the radical change occurred?

This week, we all heard the soaring rhetoric and the passion of our President. He spoke of taking no more nonsense and of being the last President to attack the health care disaster. He has pointed out the fallacy of continuing down a path of financial destruction in the current system of health care. Yet while his words say I am mad as hell and I won't take it anymore, too often the resulting actions have not. It seems inevitable that we will get some watered down legislation that leaves the truly hard work and hard choices to the future, perhaps even to another President.

He will soon enough turn his focus away from domestic issues, and try to tackle foreign diplomacy head on. But my fear is that once more his actions may not match his thoughts.

I do not challenge the concepts or the oratory of the President. I believe in what he believes. His words are majestic. However, if this is to be a lasting marriage with the American people, it must be about more than this. We must see the concrete results of the abstract. There must be something we can point to definitively and say that this is what this man is about. Otherwise, this may not be a marriage that can last in sickness and in health (care) til death (the end of 2 terms) do us part.


The president is on an endless campaign trail, and what has “emerged as a troubling pattern, is that the president says much of what we want to hear, but then leaves its execution to another day, or not at all.” That’s a fine assessment Dr. Know, but you do not take it far enough nor do you give us specific examples. He is a great orator, in love with the sound of his voice, and “his words are majestic.” However he is not a good leader and he does not take action, as you also say.

He campaigned on “getting us out of Iraq” and we’re still there escalating the war in Afghanistan as well. He promised he would be “going over the federal budget line by line” but take a closer look at the pork-laden $787 billion stimulus bill. He promised “an end to partisan politics” but we’re now witnessing a witch hunt against former aides of George W. Bush (CIA). In nine months of speaking at the American people, instead of listening to them, he has squandered so much of his political capital, written $1,800 billion in checks the country cannot cover, spoken in vague generalities in an age where facts can quickly be checked and tried to Rahm a healthcare bill no one understands down the throats of Americans in two weeks without debate.

When my children were little they loved to hear fairy tales, get expensive gifts and have ice cream someone else paid for. But when all was said and done they really wanted Dad to be a Dad and give them the real scoop, even if it meant going to bed early.

Bottom line, Dr. Know, is the American voter is getting tired of being told what they want to hear.

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