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It's Not Me, It's You: My Break-Up Letter to President Obama

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Dear Mr. President,

We have grown apart in the last couple of years, and while I understand that it's normal, even expected, for a president to check out in his last term, I thought it was important to end this tumultuous relationship before you pack your things and move out.

Our romance began in 2008. It was the best and the worst of times.

It was the worst of times because:

  • We were neck deep in a financial crisis that threatened to plunge us into another great depression
  • Congress attempted to solve the problem by throwing $170 billion at the criminals who caused the crisis
  • With no end in site, the Iraq war raged on with over 4,000 US soldiers and 60,000 civilians dead
  • Real Housewives of Atlanta was a top rated show on the Bravo network

It was the best of times because:

  • You were going to fix it all

Let me start with a confession. I didn't vote for you in 2008. My streak of abstaining from presidential elections had more to do with geography than it had to do with you. In the all-or-nothing state of California, the outdated Electoral College system ensures that my vote hasn't really counted since the Reagan years. Of course, I realized that by abstaining from the election, there was a faint possibility of living in a Bizarro world, where Sarah Palin was a heart attack away from the nuclear launch codes, but it was a chance I was willing to take. I apologize for shirking my civic duty, but it worked out pretty well for you and for a while we were very happy together.

I remember how you swept me off my feet with soaring speeches about race relations, breaking Washington gridlock and slowing the rise of the oceans. After eight years in an abusive relationship with George Bush, you made me proud to be an American again. I couldn't wait to parade you in front of our fickle allies and show them that this relationship had a future.

America was back, baby!

We had big plans; closing Guantanamo, ending the war in Iraq, going after corrupt Wall Street executives and getting Ted Nugent to give up his stockpile of WMDs.

Health care almost killed us, but we did it. And while it was not the single payer system we were after, it was progress and no relationship survives without a little compromise. Things took an ugly turn and my trust began to erode when it came time to launch Healthcare.gov, I was shocked to learn that you had left our pride and joy in the care of some Canadian techies who took millions of my dollars to build a website that worked as well as the Ford Pinto and was twice as embarrassing to be seen with. You were a neglectful father who was content to check in on your child every few months and then acted surprised that you raised a spoiled brat. Thankfully, we were able to get the little tike out of the nest and learned a lot from the experience.

Or so I thought.

"If you're serious about our troops, then you are going to make sure that they aren't being put in the position you are, and I will promise to make that a priority of mine when I'm President of the United States." - Presidential Candidate Obama May 12, 2008

After promising to make Veterans an essential part of your overall healthcare reform plan, the number of Veterans claims had soared from 888,000 in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2011. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars clogged this already troubled system with the average backlog reaching 270 days. This would be troubling enough without the allegations of VA facilities falsifying records to make the backlog look like it was shrinking. As a veteran myself, I find your blasé attitude about getting to the bottom of who let this malfeasance fester for so long while forty veterans may have died waiting for treatment, to be the straw that not only broke the camel's back, but broke all the other straws as the camel crashed to the ground.

It is now almost eight years since our whirlwind courtship began and Guantanamo remains open, the country is more divided than I can ever remember and not a single Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for the 2008 financial crisis. We all wanted you to end the Iraq war, but rather than responsibly cleaning up the mess Bush and Cheney made there, you simply swept it under the rug. The vacuuming you did left a sucking hole filled with a new extremist group that is too crazy even for Al Qaeda. By the way, you might want to check into that drone program. I doubt the 2,400 dead civilians would consider them to be "pinpoint strike" weapons.

It appears as though you are getting a head start and packing some of your bags already. When you finally do move out of our house, I hope that we can still be friends and I wish you the best. Hopefully, by 2016 my heart will be ready to trust someone again. I will certainly be much more cautious about who I let seduce me with promises of a hope and change.