By: Amy Lutz
On his desk, Harry Truman placed an engraving which stated “The Buck Stops Here” referring to his refusal to “pass the buck” to someone else and avoid accountability. I’ve always admired this mantra and any politician who abides by it and takes the responsibility of leading by example and standing by his or her decisions. This is one reason I was initially drawn to Rick Perry. I could certainly go on for days about the Governor’s statistics of job creation and social conservatism, but what I truly admire about Perry is his character and leadership. There is a good reason why he’s the nation’s longest continuously serving Governor. Unlike our current president, Rick Perry has been in an executive position long enough to develop a certain degree of political maturity. I feel confident standing behind his rock solid patriotism and courage. Sure, he’s had a couple gaffes like every politician, but overall he conducts himself with strength and professionalism. The attitude of our current president; however, is quite different than Perry’s., perhaps due to his lack of political experience he garnered prior to ascending to the presidency. With the help of his handy teleprompter and arrogant smirk, Barack Obama, at least on the surface, can come across as intelligent and authoritative. Although, when you actually pay close attention to his words, it’s clear that his professional veneer is paper thin. President Obama frankly shows a lack of maturity through incessant name calling and finger pointing. Although I’ll admit our President is a very intelligent man and at times (i.e. the Tucson shooting memorial service) has shown a degree of maturity and professionalism, his example is not one I feel comfortable standing behind.
A certain degree of contention is expected between opposing political parties, but President Obama’s occasional name calling has brought that tension to the next level. While giving a radio interview before the midterm elections, the President stated: “If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s going to be harder, and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.” While I agree that standing by those you agree with is an important consideration in voting, since when are elections designed to “punish” one’s enemies? And better yet, since when is it appropriate for a President to label the opposing political party an “enemy” to a minority group? This type of name calling serves to demonize President Obama’s opposition or “enemies” as he calls them, and does not provide a proper avenue for appropriate public discourse. Politics is certainly can be a vicious game, but the leader of our nation is meant to retain a degree of professionalism and serve as an example of someone who rises above the turbulent political arena of debate.
Although President Obama is known for throwing a few rhetorical punches at his ideological opponents, he certainly tries to appear blameless and above the political fray. Unfortunately, his tactics display an even greater lack of maturity. Instead of saying the “buck stops here,” Barack Obama consistently takes credit for good decisions (even when they are not his own) and directs the blame for every single crisis towards George W. Bush and the Republicans. “The last 8 years” has become an overused catch phrase. I’ll admit that George W. Bush does share a portion of the blame for our economy’s downward turn, but how could we forget who was in charge of Congress during the crash in 2008 (*cough* Democrats *cough*)? The highest unemployment rate under Bush was 7.7%, and that was in early 2009. His monthly average was 5.3%. As Barack Obama pushed through TARP and his Stimulus plan, he promised that the unemployment rate would not rise above 8% as long as we went along with his crazy schemes. Well we did, and he was wrong. The current rate is approaching 10%, and is probably even greater because it does not take into account those who have stopped looking for work. And yet, President Obama is still blaming his predecessor as he grows closer to the end of his first term (let’s hope it’s his last). I feel as if he wants us to pity him and hold him to a lower standard because of how “horrible” he claims George W. Bush acted during his time in office. Well, President Obama, it’s time to take accountability for your own actions and stop passing the buck. Stop saying you “inherited” the Bush economy and can therefore do nothing to improve our nation’s dire situation. You know who else inherited the Bush economy? Rick Perry. Governor Perry took the reins in Texas after Bush ascended to the Presidency and he must be doing something right because he is nearing 11 years in office. Texas has created more jobs in the last decade than any other state and is the only state among the largest 40 states that had more jobs in 2010 than when the recession began in 2008. What does President Obama have to show for his time in office? A worse unemployment rate and plummeting approval rating?
More recently, President Obama has moved his accusatory finger away from the Republicans (at least briefly) and towards wealthier Americans, specifically those who own private jets. Over the past couple weeks, the President has cited a corporate jet tax break as unfair and has complained that the group of Americans who can afford this luxury are not paying enough in taxes. In his mind, the wealthy do not deserve any sort of tax break. Obama has continually blamed the Republicans for the existence of the break, but here’s the kicker: It was passed in his Stimulus package. The tax break for corporate jets did not even exist before the President’s “recovery” plan which was supposed to keep unemployment under 8%. And yet, the finger pointing continues. What makes this example even more nauseating is that it is not based even loosely on actual fact. I respect the presidency and hate to even mention the word “liar” in the same sentence as the President of the United States. Though, I will admit, President Obama, as is evidenced here, has gotten away with a fair few of “untruths” during his tenure.
Barack Obama may appear to be the type of superior “Messiah-like” politician who gives Chris Matthews a “thrill up his leg” and can do no wrong, but simply looking at his record tells a different story. Politically, the President is simply immature. He is an inexperienced politician who reverts to childish name-calling, finger-pointing, and occasionally truth-blurring when cut off from his handy teleprompter. Conversely, Rick Perry displays and example that is far more professional than our current President. He not only has proven himself extraordinarily successful as a Governor, but he also understands the phrase “the buck stops here.” Certainly, almost any of the GOP 2012 contenders would prove more successful in office than President Obama, but Rick Perry rises above the pack. He has the experience, proven fiscal conservatism, and leadership that this current administration lack and for which America hungers.