My View: Feckless and toothless in American politics
March 13, 2014
Sen. John McCain's calling out President Obama's handling of the Ukraine crisis as "feckless" begs the question: "Ok, what would you have done?" Send troops into Syria just to show we are not wimps and to teach Russia a lesson? Bring Georgia into NATO when 20 percent of it is already Russian occupied? Start a natural gas war that would only hurt western Europe that relies on Russian oil and gas and raise our own fossil fuel prices through the roof ? Threaten NATO military intervention in the Ukraine when even he, McCain, had taken that off the table?
In fact, listening to most critics of Obama's foreign policy, what they advocate is what President Obama is already doing, but for them it is too slow or not enough. Politicians usually say that when their opponents do what they advocate. Their other approach is to pin blame on Obama: "This happened because Obama was 'feckless' before." That kind of fecklishness could fit others past presidents: George W Bush regarding a similar de facto Russian land grab in Georgia and Dwight Eisenhower's failure to intervene when Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary. Sometimes being feckless beats the consequences: starting a World War III, or launching a war with no end in sight, being allied with weak and undesirable forces, or resulting in consequences with the pain worse than any strategic gain.
The irony is that while critics call President Obama's leadership style "feckless" in foreign policy, they are the same who call his administration the "imperial presidency" whenever the President asserts his executive authority or expands the federal government role. More schmoozing would not improve his image, either. The majority of the GOP House was elected to oppose whatever he is for. That does not make for a great dinner date.
The toothless wonders of politics are those who think they can get away without a credible alternative plan while running on a sole platform of "repeal." It is hard to bite without good teeth and the GOP is missing a bunch. If there were common crowd pleasing words invoked at the recent CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) conference in Washington, DC, they were "repeal Obamacare." GOP ranks are divided over whether to just repeal or to repeal and replace. To "repeal" all or parts is a battle cry with which they can agree.
At the suggestion of a member of the Tea Party Express, I visited the Winston Group's web site. In examining the reasons the conservative Winston Group, a beltway lobbying and political consulting firm, gave for Gov. Romney's loss in 2012, their conclusion was it was because the public did not buy the alternatives he put forth, even though most Americans were in tune with conservative objectives on budget, deficit, jobs and the economy.
I agree with those findings: Voters may not be happy campers with the Democrats, but elections are not won on a "none of the above" platform nor are just any old alternatives OK. The question voters asked in 2012 was "as compared to what or whom". They will ask the question again in 2014 and 2016: "so what will you do that shows you care about me, will it work, and/or will the pain outweigh the gain."
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