I was in England on August 8, 1974 when Richard Nixon became the first US president to resign while in office. It was a stunning demise for a formidable politician who served as vice president, lost the 1960 presidential race to JFK, then rose from the ashes to be elected POTUS in 1968 and re-elected in 1972.
The bottom fell out when he was caught at the helm of a minor political break-in that became known as Watergate–and then lied about it. Years of malaise, including the inept presidency of Jimmy Carter, followed in his wake.
I’ve been thinking for six long years about the failing presidency of Barack Obama. As jihadists be-head an American journalist, Russia subtly invades Ukraine, racial riots explode in Missouri, the US economy subsists on life support, and the national debt nears 18 trillion dollars–while President Obama vacations and plays golf–I’m wondering if another US president should resign for the good of the nation.
Two prominent women–one a secular progressive and the other a conservative–beat me to the punch this week.
Here are their sobering words for all of us to consider.
I rarely read Maureen Dowd because she is a fixture of the secular progressive left and almost always on the wrong side of issues. But she is a noted columnist for the New York Times who recently chose to part company with her once beloved president.
Her blistering attack on President Obama’s leadership is called “The Golf Address” published in the NY Times on October 23. It is brilliant in its allegory, yet tragic in its comparison of Abraham Lincoln’s courageous leadership 150 years ago and the current occupant of the White House.
The most famous speech in American history was Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered during the perilous days of the Civil War. It contains only 272 eloquent words spoken with noble character, passion and burden.
It would be worth your while to take less than one minute and read it here.
Dowd compares Lincoln’s sobering masterpiece to the actions of Barack Obama, who, after lamenting the hideous death of journalist Jim Foley, took all of ten minutes to return to his vacation and get back to the golf course. Minutes later he was photographed smiling and fist-pumping a golfing buddy.
This is not just bad optics. It is a failure of presidential leadership of historic proportions.
Ms. Dowd agrees.
“The Golf Address” – by Barack Obama
As seen through the eyes of Maureen Dowd
“FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL.”
“I know reporters didn’t get a chance to ask questions, but I had to bounce. I had a 1 p.m. tee time at Vineyard Golf Club with Alonzo Mourning and a part-owner of the Boston Celtics. Hillary and I agreed when we partied with Vernon Jordan up here, hanging out with celebrities and rich folks is fun.”
“Now we are engaged in a great civil divide in Ferguson, which does not even have a golf course, and that’s why I had a “logistical” issue with going there. We are testing whether that community, or any community so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure when the nation’s leader wants nothing more than to sink a birdie putt.”
“We are met on a great field of that battle, not Augusta, not Pebble Beach, not Bethpage Black, not Burning Tree, but Farm Neck Golf Club in Martha’s Vineyard, which we can’t get enough of — me, Alonzo, Ray Allen and Marvin Nicholson, my trip director and favorite golfing partner who has played 134 rounds and counting with me.”
“We have to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for my presidency, if I keep swinging from behind.”
“Yet it is altogether fitting and proper that I should get to play as much golf as I want, despite all the lame jokes about how golf is turning into ‘a real handicap’ for my presidency and how I have to ‘stay the course’ with ISIL. I’ve heard all the carping that I should be in the Situation Room droning and plinking the bad folks.”
“I know some people think I should go to Ferguson. Don’t they understand that I’ve delegated the Martin Luther King Jr. thing to Eric Holder? Plus, Valerie Jarrett and Al Sharpton have it under control.”
“I know it doesn’t look good to have pictures of me grinning in a golf cart juxtaposed with ones of James Foley’s parents crying, and a distraught David Cameron rushing back from his vacation after only one day, and the Pentagon news conference with Chuck Hagel and General Dempsey on the failed mission to rescue the hostages in Syria.”
“We’re stuck in the rough, going to war all over again in Iraq and maybe striking Syria, too. Every time Chuck says ISIL is ‘beyond anything we’ve ever seen,’ I sprout seven more gray hairs. But my cool golf caps cover them. If only I could just play through the rest of my presidency.”
“ISIL brutally killing hostages because we won’t pay ransoms, rumbles of coups with our puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan, the racial caldron in Ferguson, the Ebola outbreak, the Putin freakout — there’s enough awful stuff going on to give anyone the yips.”
“So how can you blame me for wanting to unwind on the course or for five hours at dinner with my former assistant chef? He’s a great organic cook, and he’s got a gluten-free backyard putting green.”
“But, in a larger sense, we can dedicate, we can consecrate, we can hallow this ground where I can get away from my wife, my mother-in-law, Uncle Joe, Congress and all the other hazards in my life.”
“The brave foursomes, living and dead, who struggled here in the sand, in the trees, in the water, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or subtract a few strokes to improve our score. Bill Clinton was Mr. Mulligan, and he is twice at popular as I am.”
“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we shot here, or why I haven’t invited a bunch of tiresome congressmen to tee it up. I’m trying to relax, guys. So I’d much rather stay in the bunker with my usual bros. Why don’t you play 18 with Mitch McConnell? And John Boehner is a lot better than me, so I don’t want to play with him.”
“It is for us, the duffers, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who played here have thus far so nobly advanced to get young folks to stop spurning a game they find slow and boring.”
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us of getting rid of our slice on the public’s dime — that from this honored green we take increased devotion to that cause for which Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy gave their last full measure of devotion — and divots.”
“We here highly resolve that these golfing greats shall not have competed in vain, especially poor Tiger, and that this nation, under par, shall have a new birth of freedom to play the game that I have become unnaturally obsessed with, and that golf of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
“So help me Golf.”
Then there is conservative former judge and current Fox host Jeanine Pirro who worked as a district attorney for 30 years in New York. She is possibly the most fearless commentator on television. Here’s what she said on “Justice” barely one day after the Maureen Dowd massacre.
Please watch her “Opening Remarks” here.
I’ve got nothing personally against President Obama. On the positive side he’s charismatic, a good speaker, a powerful fund-raiser, a family man and probably an excellent community organizer.
But he’s not up to the task or image of president of the United States. Why? Because his worldview doesn’t fit reality, he’s an ideologue who seems incapable of change, he appears detached and distracted by golf, fund-raising and his celebrity status, he lacks real leadership skills and competency–and all-in-all, he’s out of his league.
This August he could do the wisest and most humble act of his life and step down as president–for his own good and that of the nation. At least Joe Biden is older and has some experience in foreign policy. He could be a caretaker until 2016–maybe even a decent one like Harry Truman.
Then we need to elect a president with faith, courage, executive experience and leadership skills like Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan.
And never vote for a “jayvee” for POTUS ever again.