Friday, October 9, 2009

How Can Anyone Want Obama to Fail?

Disclaimer: I am a registered Republican. I voted for John McCain last fall. I would do so again.


The last two years of Bill Clinton's presidency were all about interns and scandals. He became the first sitting president to be subpoenaed to testify in a trial. Instead of moving forward on his legislative priorities, he was lampooned as "Slick Willie" and stymied by congressional Republicans. While not a total disaster (his approval rating stayed high), the end of his presidency was pretty sad. And to top it off, he went out of office pardoning some very questionable characters. Al Gore played a fun game of hugging Clinton in front of Democrats and then running away from him in front of independents. That didn't go over so well.

In the waning months of George W. Bush's presidency there was a general sense throughout the country that Bush had failed as president. His second term had few legislative accomplishments and his major foreign policy achievement was the troop surge in Iraq that helped to fixed a problem that was about 90% his fault. By the time Bush left office, he was totally ineffective as president. Members of his own party were running away from him and his legacy as fast as their political legs could carry them.

I don't think history will regard Clinton or Bush as terrible presidents - I think Clinton's presidency will go about a step or two below LBJ's and Bush's will end up on about the same level as Jimmy Carter's - but I'm not posting about Clinton's or Bush's legacies. The question I'm asking is how could anyone want any president to face-plant in the eyes of the American public? How could anyone want any president to fail?

Interestingly, some people on the political right are hoping that our current, Nobel-winning president will fail. How could anybody want that? My definition of a great president might not match-up exactly with Obama's ideas, but that doesn't mean I want Obama to prove incompetent or corrupt so I can get a Republican in power ASAP. I believe my generally conservative political ideals can win on their own against the best the liberals have to offer. And on some of my ideas, I bet I'm wrong and Obama is right. So I'm rooting for Obama, Biden, and all of our elected officials to be the best they possibly can. I want Obama to be a great president because I want a great president.


  1. I think this is a litmus test measuring if your partisanship/ideology is being taken too far. If you find yourself hoping any US President fails something is wrong.

    John Stewart is a comedian, but he said it best the other night: Sometimes you wonder if people hate the president more than they love the country.

    This goes for everyone: the liberals who hoped the surge wouldn't work so that the President could be called a failure and the conservatives who literally cheer when the current president shows signs of failure like those who cheered when we didn't get the Olympics. (Sorry for the run on sentence.)

    But really, we should defend our principles but hope that our leaders make good decisions and are successful. If you don't have these feelings you need to do some serious soul searching no matter who the sitting president is.

  2. I was as well for McCain (I was following the election in France by reading an American magazine), but I think also that it is not possible to hope that a president is too bad ; because if it were, in some limits it could mean some disasters.

  3. Very good post. I found it interesting a few years ago in a Non Sequitur comic. Wiley Miller, a very left-leaning cartoonist, was rebutting the then-Republican claim that it was un-patriotic to complain about the president. His character passionately explained the importance of the freedom of speech and of the press, even when complaining about the sitting president. The conservative characters realized that this made sense, but were then mortified that this making sense might make them "liberals." (*gasp*!)

    My first reaction to the comic was, "Well, that would only make you a liberal when the sitting president is Republican. The next time the Democrats get someone in the office, the claims will switch sides..." and it happened. Just like we've seen with about every president I can remember, the president's opposing party complains about every minor decision, action and mistake. The president's own party decries such complaints as unpatriotic and opposing the greater good that our head of state is trying to accomplish, merely for political selfishness. The opposing party then cries the importance of freedom of speech and says the other party is going against the Constitution. etc., etc., etc.

    One would hope that, sooner or later, we'd be able to put aside our back-biting and grade school-level click-ish competitions and really work together for the best of the country.


To add a link to text:
<a href="URL">Text</a>