A Vain Appeal

Earlier today, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Obama Calls for More U.S. Exports to Asia,” and I casually brushed it aside, believing it to be a mere political appeal to the people, rather than a substantial policy idea.  Later, I happened upon Mark’s post, in which he notes the President’s rather unskilled and perhaps inexperienced approach to closing Guantanamo, and the need for the President to “follow through with commitments.”

            And so I would like to express similar sentiments concerning politicians, and above all, the nation’s most visible politician, our President.  First, I will briefly address the article I read earlier today.  In it, the Wall Street Journal cites Obama’s weekly radio address to the nation, in which he suggests the need for a 5% increase in exports to Asia, a measure which would hypothetically result in the creations of hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Not to be overly cynical, but I tend to think that such an appeal merely makes a nice sound bite, for the President to use later when it becomes politically opportune to do so.  Obama recognizes (I hope) the reality and real practicality of such a proposal: Americans simply cannot compete with the manufacturing China and other Asian nations put out, and arguably, they do not want to.  Our consumer and service oriented economy has allowed for many Americans to live a comparatively luxurious lifestyle, and to compete on a manufacturing level with the cheap labor of other nations would obviously require a drastic alteration of current living standards.

            Bearing this in mind, Obama’s failure to follow through on Guantanamo (which means at the very least, he is not haphazardly closing the prison), and his aversion to abiding by other political promises (for example, his bipartisan efforts seem quite sparse lately), would convince me of the truth underlying the title of Mark’s post: “Politics as Usual.”  Our President came into office promising change, and perhaps on some levels, he has brought some change.  But on the character of Washington in general, we see no change (and this is no surprise, really).  Obama is following the similar patterns of his colleagues and predecessors, an unfortunate occurrence.  The President should set an example of expressing the truth and inspiring grounded trust, based on his ability to follow through on promises.  Unfortunately, political realities are otherwise, and foreseeing any change in this D.C. culture would likely be naïve and wholly unrealistic.

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~ by aakort on November 23, 2009.

One Response to “A Vain Appeal”

  1. I think that people are caught between wanting more change to happen like he said in his campaign, and feeling that he has overstepped his boundaries. Whether you are for slow or rapid change, Presidents still have a huge bureaucracy to deal with that limits their policy actions. And much like with the closing of Guantanamo, the man in the White House quickly learns that some things may seem ideal in theory, but in practice it is a much harder thing to accomplish

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