My lawn sported the first Obama sign in our mid-Michigan neighborhood, even before the local campaign office had them available. I did more to support him than I had ever done for any presidential candidate.
I was convinced he would be a better president than Hillary Clinton. I was dead wrong. Voting for him in the primary was one of the biggest mistakes of my political life. He has turned out to be one of the worst presidents of recent times -- not actively horrible as Bush was, but passively so. The debt ceiling debacle proves it to me, not that I needed any more proof of his incompetence.
But every time Obama gets criticized even by people like me who voted for him, the excuses roll out from diehard supporters.
Here are my favorites:
Give him time. I heard this a lot in the early days, hell, even after a year and a half, especially about gay issues and closing Gitmo. "Give him time, the country's in a state of economic crisis." What bothered me about it still bothers me: Obama isn't running the country single-handedly, because if he were, he'd be like Lucy Ricardo working on the line at that candy factory. He has a cabinet and advisers and government departments. Is he unable to delegate and multitask?
He's not a dictator. "Obama is only the president, he can't do whatever he likes, he has to compromise with Congress, this is a democracy, his powers are very limited." Really? Even when he had a democratic Congress he couldn't accomplish more? What about the way Bush rammed things through Congress? Did the Imperial Presidency disappear overnight when Obama was inaugurated? The dictator argument is a straw man. Nobody's expecting him to be Hitler. We do expect him to lead, to inspire, to act.
He's trapping the GOP. This is the saddest one: "All the compromises that have made progressives angry, what they've really been doing is showing the American people how crazy and intractable the GOP is." It's all apparently a canny strategy to destroy the GOP's credibility and Obama is a master strategist, a Svengali who's baiting a giant trap for the GOP. Wait till the election! Wait till his second term! That of course brings us back to excuse no. 1.
I dismissed Hillary Clinton's jibe that Obama wasn't much more than a good speech, but I realize to my profound regret that she was right. He can give a good speech now and then, though most of the time he drones. It's pretty clear that Obama is a prime example of the Peter Principle: he's risen to his level of incompetence. He is, as described by Jim Garrison back on The Huffington Post in February, truly Obama the Feckless.