I hurt my hand at work yesterday, pulling one of my flexor tendons in my left hand. I was told to try to lay off using the hand until it heals, including no (or very little) typing. Obviously, I was worried about not being able to work on my latest novel, Greatshadow, and I also thought about not being able to blog. How is the world ever going to get by without my banal, scatter-brained ramblings about the issues of the day?
Then, I wake up this morning and find out the Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. It's enough to send me back to the keyboard despite feeling like I've got a knife stabbing my left palm. Because, what the hell? I mean, what the bleeping hell?
I really don't think I've engaged in much Obama-bashing here. I didn't do much Bush-bashing either. In general, I respect the fact that nobody with my libertarian leanings is ever going to be allowed near the White House, and that most of my political gripes aren't with my president, or even really with politicians. My most fundamental gripe is with my fellow citizens who have turned American politics into a giant superbowl game. Only two teams are allowed to play; it really doesn't much matter what goes on in the actual game. The republican roots for their team, the democrats root for their team, and the "independents" root for whoever seems popular at the moment. Issues get divided up arbitrarily. In a logical world, you might think that one party would be "pro-life," and oppose abortion, the death penalty, and war. Or maybe one party would be "pro-liberty" and support free markets, open immigration policies, reproductive rights for women, and fiercely defend freedom of speech. Instead, issues get chopped up by the parties in ways that seem to defy logic, because the American public defies logic. We have the government we deserve; the things I dislike about my government aren't Obama's fault or Bush's fault. They're the citizens' fault.
But, this morning, hearing that Obama had won the peace prize, I suddenly discovered that I hate him. I started trying to think of anything he'd done to earn this award, and the more I thought about his accomplishments, the more I started thinking he's pretty much on track toward being the worst president of my lifetime. Bush was frequently mocked for being an idiot, but he was at least a decisive idiot who knew how to accomplish his agenda, even if I loathed that agenda.
Obama has his party in control of both the house and the senate. You might think that, nine months into his first term, he might have seen a few laws he supported get passed. The only major bill I can think of that has actually been signed into law was the stimulus plan, and I really use the word "plan" in a very loose sense. I don't think there was any unifying narrative or goal to the $700 billion allocated in that bill. It was a collection of mostly random pork projects; I'm sorry, but asking congressmen to pass an all-pork bill doesn't earn him high marks for leadership. A dead gerbil could have lobbied for a bill like this and seen it passed. In everything else that has been debated over the last year, I've felt like Obama has been willing to talk about "principles" of things he might like to see passed by congress, but as far as drawing a line in the sand and saying, "You will pass a public option," or "You will pass cap and trade," or "You will pass financial regulations that prevent the creation of banks too big to fail," I haven't seen it. His governing style seems to be, "Hey, it would be nice if you guys passed some laws or something, but, you know, whatever." He seems willing to accept whatever is handed to him and claim it as a win, rather than fighting for something and possibly losing. I can respect someone who tries and fails. Obama seems to be so adverse to failure he's not even trying.
There was a headline in the paper this week that made my brain hurt. I don't have the paper in front of me, but the gist of the headline was, "Obama consults with advisors to form Afghanistan strategy." It makes my brain hurt. The war in Afghanistan isn't a surprise. He's known for a year now he'd be commander in chief. This war is his war. And he's just now getting around to figuring out a strategy? He sent twenty thousand troops in earlier this year... apparently without a strategy?
It makes me ill.
Suppose you believe that Bush sent 200,000 troops into Iraq solely to steal their oil. You look at the bodies piling up and ask, "What are they dying for?" and, while you hate the answer, at least, in your mind, you saw the flashing word, "OIL."
For the 20,000 troops Obama sent in earlier this year, sans strategy: What are they dying for? In my mind, I see the flashing words, "You know, whatever."
Giving Obama a peace prize is just a joke. Anyone who sends troops to die without some actual goal in mind deserves scorn, not awards.* If anyone can justify what he's done to earn this, please, please, please jump in and let me know.
*Note: Sending troops to die with an actual goal in mind may deserve scorn as well, depending on the goal. And, I'm NOT DEFENDING BUSH by bashing Obama, so don't jump in with posts about how bad a president Bush was. I feel like I can't hate both men equally. Now I'm going to shut up and go ice up my hand. Ow.