Politics is a Defect in the Fabric of the Universe
Only in the arena of politics do we encounter that peculiar anomaly that allows people to be promoted, not only when they do not do their jobs, but because they do not do them, and I’m speaking specifically — though not only — about your president and mine, Barack Hussein Obama.
Before he became President, Barack Obama’s accomplishments were few and unimpressive:
Community Organizer – Even if you know what that is, and I’m not sure that I do, then you will probably agree that it is pretty small potatoes.
Illinois State Senator – Served from 1997-2004. While still a state senator, Obama campaigned for the US Senate.
US Senator – Elected in November of 2007. While still in his first term in the Senate, Obama campaigned for the office of President of the United States
US President – Obama was elected President in November of 2008 to begin serving in January of 2009.
I’ll leave it up to you to determine for yourself the worth of his legislative accomplishments in the senates of Illinois and the US. As for me, though, I think they’re pretty insignificant except to the extent that his activities served to let us know what he was all about.
Far more important, though, than any legislative accomplishments — whatever they were — was a particular political strategy that he developed, beginning in the Illinois senate, that served in a significant way to get him elected, first to the US Senate, and then to the presidency.
So what was the strategy? While an Illinois senator, Obama began the practice of voting “present” upon controversial issues. While there, he voted “present” 129 times, or about once for every 31 votes (Boston.com). To vote “present” means, in effect, “I am here, but I choose to not take a position on this issue.” In other words, by taking no position on a particular issue, he was declining to do the job that the voters in Illinois elected him to do. At least for those issues for which he voted “present”, he was no more useful than if his seat had been left vacant.
So, what was Obama’s punishment for not doing his job as Illinois state senator? He was promoted to the United States Senate. Once a US Senator, Obama continued his strategy of voting “present” on controversial issues. And what was Obama’s punishment for not doing his job in the United States senate? He was promoted to President.
How did his not doing his job in both senates get him elected President? For example, in the Democratic presidential primary, Obama was criticized by rival pro-choice candidates for a series of “present” votes on late-term abortion and parental notification issues. Had he actually voted against their positions on these issues, then their criticisms might have had teeth and been effective, but, as it was, they had little effect. So the Obama strategy effectively insulated him from criticism by either side on these and other important issues. They could only criticize him for not taking a position, and such arguments were about as effective as an ant urinating on a forest fire.
So it is accurate to say, then, that Barack Obama was promoted all the way to the United States presidency precisely because he did not do his jobs in the Illinois and US senates.
And that’s the kind of man whom we address these days as “Mr. President.”
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