Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering junior and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
We’ve all had times in our lives where people just get on our nerves. Sometimes we can’t put a finger on why these people rattle us. Other times, we know exactly what bothers us. Whether it’s the kid anxiously chewing his gum behind you or the one sitting four rows up, directly in front of the professor, volunteering every answer, these people have a way of throwing you off.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise for anybody; the one person who has thrown me for a loop over the past week is none other than President Barack Obama. Or, as I’ve been not so affectionately referring to him as, The Great Divider.
President Obama’s actions over the past week highlight exactly what we’ve come to expect from him. He is a president who has two undesirable courses of leadership (use the word “leadership” loosely). His first is to establish something as “broken,” then ride in on his white horse and fix it while others hail him as a savior. Whether the thing is actually broken is typically questionable (read: the 1 percent). His second form of leadership is via executive orders while blaming others as being the reason he had to step around Congress. I almost feel guilty describing both of these courses as ones of leadership.
I realize that criticizing the president’s leadership in this way is a bold claim. Before I continue, I should explain myself.
My charges of criticism against President Obama are largely stimulated from last week’s immigration speech and executive order announcement. However, I’m not upset with the immigration message he sent. Many of President Obama’s suggestions and points regarding immigration align right alongside conservative tenets. In fact, I noticed, and it was later noted by USA Today, that his immigration speech largely mirrored George W. Bush’s immigration speech of 2006. Even the idea of an executive order in itself wasn’t too bothersome for me. While I think the order is far too large to be sidestepping Congress, every president issues executive orders. In fact, the latter Bush implemented more executive orders per year than President Obama has to this point.
What’s gotten on my nerves and frustrated me the most about President Obama this past week, as well as during his entire presidency, is his hypocrisy and willingness to divide factions of Americans against each other. Whether he decides to pit Democrats against Republicans, rich against poor or whites against minorities, President Obama is always deviously working to skew things in his favor.
Take, for example, the past week’s executive order. On the campaign trail in 2008, the younger and less gray Senator Obama claimed:
“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I tend to reverse when I’m President of the United States.”
That’s quite the bold claim for a man who earlier this year stated, “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation … I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and I can take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward…”
President Obama also made sure to take verbal jabs at Republicans in his immigration speech. He criticized House Republicans for failing to vote on this summer’s Senate-passed immigration legislation. While I tend to agree that the House should hold a vote, the president needs to understand that failed leadership progress doesn’t lie solely on others. Even after swinging at current Republican Congressmen, President Obama eluded to the middle class “getting a raw deal for over a decade.” There’s a nice, snide jab at President Bush. I was pretty sure those jabs expired in 2010. After all, I don’t continue to blame my kindergarten teacher for the fact that I still can’t draw a straight line.
Yet throughout President Obama’s entire incumbency, we’ve seen acts of division and hypocrisy. While Democrats stood around painting Republicans as the party of the rich, President Obama and his sidekicks ran with it. Naturally, Democrats casually neglected that in 2011, seven of the 10 wealthiest members of Congress were Democrats.
While I sometimes feel obligated to be impressed by President Obama’s crafty tactics, I’m morally disgusted. Our country and Constitution were founded on basic principles of compromise. I’m quick to point out that House Republicans aren’t exactly model compromisers themselves, but President Obama uses his position to continually spurn any chance of compromise while painting House Republicans as the creators of gridlock.
Great leaders are able to bring diverse groups of people together and construct great success. Poor leaders divide and demolish with the intent of achieving their goals no matter the cost. Unfortunately for us, President Obama, The Great Divider, is a prime example of a poor leader.