Tender handed stroke a nettle, And it stings you for your pains; Grasp it like a man of mettle, And it soft as silk remains.
- Aaron Hill, English Dramatist (1685-1750)
You would have thought that once the campaigning was over, Obama would assume a little bit more of the dignity worthy of a president and show some graciousness to his predecessor.
Far from it. Instead of showing some class and leaving it all behind on the campaign trail, from the very first moments of his presidency, Obama continued taking swipes during his inauguration speech:
After a perfunctory thank you to Mr. Bush, a newly sworn-in President Obama declared that Americans had gathered for his inaugural “because we have chosen hope over fear,” that his administration would “restore science to its rightful place,” and that he would never allow America to “give [our ideals] up for expedience’s sake.” In other words, President Bush had chosen fear over hope, was being “expedient” rather than defending the nation, and had chosen religious fundamentalism over science when making decisions in areas such as embryonic stem-cell research.
When all the shortcomings and failures of Obama’s administration began piling up (and somewhere Bush was saying, “I told him this was harder than it looks”) when HOPE and CHANGE became haplessness and compromise, the Bush bashing turned to a mantra of “it’s all Bush’s fault” as an answer to every question the administration faced.
Barack Obama may believe that his incessant whining about all the challenges his predecessor left him lets America know how tough he has it. The danger to his presidency is that it can sound awfully like “I’m not up to the job.”
What ever happened to presidents like Truman, who took full responsibility for everything that happened under his presidency? Whatever happened to “the buck stops here”?