Obstructionism and Observations on the President

It is too easy to scapegoat the president for all the problems in America

By David R. James

I would like to share my feelings about a recent letter submitted to the paper about our president. And let me be perfectly clear: I do have issues with some of his decisions. But some clarity and balance needs to be interjected into this public debate. During my lifetime, I have never witnessed such downright disrespectful rhetoric, or such vitriol and abhorrent and racist behavior toward a president of the United States as I have witnessed during the presidency of Barack Obama.

From his inauguration night, when the GOP U.S. Senate leaders declared they would sabotage anything the president would do when the country was languishing in an economic recession the likes never seen since the Great Depression. Their strategy was to obstruct the president, refuse to allow him any success, rather than see to the economic needs of the country.

And what have we seen? Remember the government shutdown, which cost American workers and taxpayers $24 million? Why? Because the GOP wanted to scuttle the Affordable Care Act (ACA, i.e. Obamacare), which would subsequently kick millions of people off any medical insurance. During this administration, more than 500 bills and judicial appointments that would have helped the middle class of Americans have been filibustered by GOP senators. Bills such as funding for infrastructure to maintain bridges, highways or rehiring 400,000 teachers, firefighters, and paramedics didn’t even get a vote even though they had popular support of Americans. During the Obama presidency, the GOP-led House and GOP members in the Senate have filibustered or obstructed as many bills and nominations as all US presidents combined. The GOP House did find time, however, to vote 50 times to repeal the ACA rather than spending time seeing to the needs of most Americans. And we wonder why Congress has such a low approval rating with Americans.

I can understand that presidents can be unpopular in certain sectors of the country. But something that Americans need to keep in mind: Congress is responsible for passing laws regarding the ACA, gun safety, environment, land use, and virtually every other major issue. So to make changes regarding any of these, one must communicate these wishes to their congressmen first. It is too easy to scapegoat the president for all the problems in America. So if one needs to pass blame, it is more accurate to fault our representatives and the people who vote for them.

David R. James

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