Wake me up when it’s over.
That’s pretty much how I feel about the Obama administration, and judging by U.S. opinion polls, I’m not alone. I want to hide under the covers and pray for minimal damage to the country before Inauguration Day 2017, which seems an awfully long time from now.
I don’t mean this in a partisan way; I mean it in a citizen way. This administration appears to have gone off the rails, and it’s frightening. There was a time during the Bush administration when things felt similar, between Hurricane Katrina and the 2007 troop surge in Iraq.
The latest — the Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl matter — seems just crazy. I don’t even know what to make of it. When news first came out that five senior Taliban leaders were traded for a possible deserter, I thought yahoos on my side of the aisle had gone overboard with the hyperbole, again. When I found out the story could be real, I was speechless, as, I think, were millions of Americans.
A possible explanation that remotely makes sense comes from Sean Davis at The Federalist, who argues that Bergdahl had nothing to do with the Guantánamo detainee releases. Obama, according to Davis’ theory, was planning to empty Guantánamo as part of his pledge to close the facility, and Bergdahl was spun into the story as a prisoner exchange by White House public relations staff in an attempt to soften public blowback. If that’s true, administration spinmeisters badly miscalculated.
But more than that, there is a deceitful feeling among some people about the Bergdahl story, just as there was with the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack in Libya. And on matters of national security, where American lives are lost, suspicion of cover-up nauseates. It erodes our faith in America itself.
After five and half years in office, the Obama administration appears to have run out of all energy and ideas, which some might argue is a good thing. But a nation adrift, a superpower adrift, is far more worrisome than an administration pursuing a poor agenda. The country looks and feels rudderless, in foreign and domestic policies, and the world can sense it. Here at home, it’s as though we’re looking past this administration, with two-and-a-half-years left in it, and waiting for a savior in the next crop of presidential candidates.
We should choose carefully. Our last two presidents have been totally different. President George W. Bush had no problem leading — whether you liked the way he led is another matter — but he was a terrible communicator. President Obama is a brilliant communicator with no leadership skills. After five and a half years in office, he remains disengaged from Congress, including from some of his fellow Democrats, and the odds of him creating working relationships now are virtually nil.
I’m a conservative Republican. I’ll almost certainly back whomever my party puts forward in 2016. But, regardless of who’s elected, I’m praying, too, for a savior, for both a leader and a communicator. We badly need a plan forward in this country, and we need inspiration, too. It’s been a rough millennium.