Edward Gonalez, a emeritus professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times about the position of the Democrats today.
He says that the administration and the Congressional Democrats are in deep trouble because they did not concentrate on the economy and loss of jobs, but rather spent a year fighting over a health care plan that only served to further divide politically. He believes it was a huge strategic error which he equates to the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. While I agree health care was an important achievement, I fully agree the economy and jobs are the main problem in this country.
He says this mistake has led to the emergence of the Tea part and a re-energized G.O.P. He attributes this in part to:
"…a weak, inexperienced president who confuses eloquent speechifying with leadership."
He also says it is due to what he calls "the conceit of liberalism" – liberal-left Democrats who don’t understand that they stand to the left of Americans on issues like the role of government in the economy and society.
While I don't agree with everything he has written, I think his views are thought provoking. My view is that I am very happy we finally have a president who is a person of color for the first time in the history of this country. I think the rest of the world admired us for electing him. Furthermore, after Mr. Bush, he is a breath fresh air ethically and in trying to do what's best for the country instead of Wall Street and big business. I don’t think he is weak in character, but I do think he needs to learn to make up his mind and then carry it out in a consistent way without wavering and retreating.
He needs to be consistent. All great leaders have been consistent. Once they have made a decision, like a great general, they carry it out. They don’t vacillate and change their minds because they are subjected to criticism. They don't let second doubts make then hesitate or act unsure. Harry Truman was a great example of how to be decisive and consistent. The people want decisiveness and consistency right or wrong. George Bush was wrong most of the time about everything he did, but he never wavered. As a result, he was seen as a strong leader.
Lastly, the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan must be dealt with promptly and ended. Some two thirds of our budget money is spent for military operations. Money that is sorely needed for those things which the economy is forcing government to cut back on. Money that is needed for education and so many other fundamental obligations of government. George Bush’s war in Iraq is a huge money drain and a Vietnam which is costing us life and limb among the dedicated people we send there as part of our military. While we spend billions in those countries, with much going to corrupt people and undeserving private contractors our failure to treat the injured military fairly in money and care is a scandal.
In summary, I think we have this good and decent man as president of the United States who is trying to carry out his duties in an reasonable as well as fair manner. I admire him for his good intentions, but I believe politics is a contact sport and those who are not willing to participate in that manner are not going to be effective leaders. I would like to see political toughness, decisive and consistent actions by a president who is fully prepared to exercise his power the way great presidents like Roosevelt did when faced with unreasonable and politically motivated opposition. Until he develops these characteristics I think he will not be the president he is capable of being.