I'm riding the bus today while the car is in the shop, so I have a few moments to get around to blogging again. So I'm using the chance to do something I don't really like to do: talk about politics.
I'm not going to bother telling you who I ended up voting for last fall. I really was one of those magical "undecided voters" right up until election day. My reasons were my own. I was going to be equally satisfied and frustrated with either candidate, though for different reasons of course. There's no point in talking about what I liked or didn't like about each one, because the point in this discussion is my specific disappointment in Obama.
Now, I had no expecations that Obama (or McCain or any other candidate really) would actually do things in office that I wanted. By the same token, I don't pretend that the actions anyone else would be taking to solve the economic crisis or Iraq or anything would be *that* dramatically different than what our current president is doing or any former president did. Politicians for either side aren't that different anymore. They use the same rediculous, reactionary arguments against each other over and over, just changing the mascot they have on their buttons. Most real policy is made in congress and in government agencies with only tenuous ties to the executive branch.
No, I'm not disappointed in the governing of the new president, because my expectations were so low to begin with for both parties. My disappointment with Obama is in the one thing I thought was his upside: his rhetoric and persona.
Obama was an amazing speaker (relative to modern politicians anyway) during the campaign. He was able to speak eloquently and in vague generalities that inspired many, yet offended few. That's how he got elected, and in a country that needs a serious morale boost, it was a welcome site. His tone was positive and he had a perfect balance of regal posture and populist cheerleading. I thought if he could do anything, he could at least restore some confidence and pride to the population, and improve the image of our government both at home and abroad.
But he hasn't. In fact, I'd say he's hard pressed to be called a major improvement over GW Bush (who, regardless of your political views, was widely acknowledged as a poor PR rep for the US. Just wasn't his forte).
In a matter of months in office, Obama (and Michelle) have angered the British people with laughably poor observance of decorum and proper gift giving. Barak has proven himself to be a relatively awkward speaker when off his teleprompters (which he takes everywhere, no matter how cumbersome) and a downright average speaker when unguided by his speech writers. He has failed to take a buck-stops-here approach that one would expect from his populist persona in cases like the horrible blunder his staff made in scheduling an unannounced (and thus panic inducing) commercial and military aircraft flyover of Manhattan for a photo opp.
None of these are horrible in themselves. Even added up, they aren't *that* bad, especially compared to others in history. But to me, Obama was elected to do one thing that was (and is) deserately needed: give upe and inspire. He has totally failed to do either. Even most passionate Obama supporters I know are giving him mixed reviews at best - on both policy and rhetoric.
Mr Obama, we expected more.