Failure Of Obama's 'New Maturity', Part I

Obama often pushes his hand forward to simultaneously make a point and to squelch one he has heard as criticism of himself. This is not the sign of a listener. It is the sign of someone trying to win a debate—with whom? Republicans? The media? The American people? His own aides? Himself? Obama has argued with all those and always claims victory—at least rhetorically. But a person who is, allegedly, very cautious and deliberate (so afraid of ever being wrong), and yet one who tends to reject points of view he finds in competition with his own, is only being deliberative to craft a convincing argument affirming the rightness of what he always intended to do in the first place. That's OK, if falsely suggestive of a person trying to work with (instead of use) others; nevertheless if he's effective, who really cares? But when things don't work out, the deficiency of this process and Obama's basic assumptions, can be quite concerning.
Everything about Barack Obama's assumption of power was supposed to be a welcome change from the brash, brazen, puerile policies of the George W. Bush regime. Obama talked about a "new responsibility" or a new maturity that would make him, and make the US government, accountable to the people in a way they had not seen in a long time.

Whereas Bush had deregulated America into a casino for mad men and pirates (who had wrecked the economy of the world), Obama would maturely re-regulate the nation's banks and financial industry, applying mature rules to insure the 2008 meltdown would not occur again.

Whereas Bush operated the nation's spy chambers like the Constitution did not exist, Obama implied he would be working to fix past abuses by the NSA.

Whereas Bush had operated for most of his presidency without much need for bipartisanship, since the Democrats were too few and too cowed by Bush to stand up to him, Obama lectured (a lot) about the need to maturely reach across the aisle to make Republicans feel included in governing.

And, most importantly, whereas Bush/Cheney ran the Department of Defense like a combination of a Crusader army (Bush claimed to be on a mission for his Christian god) combined with a lucrative investment fund for Bush/Cheney cronies, Obama promised to return the USA to a sane, mature use of military force in foreign policy.

Along the way to implementing this worldview, or strategy, Obama would frequently lecture people, especially people on the left who had elected him as his base, about how they needed to "grow up" and realize that getting everything you want isn't how the US government works. By this, Obama meant that "mature" governing had to involve meeting your opponent halfway to work towards a consensus. This textbook understanding of how government should work formed the basis of Obama's talking points against critics on the left and the right. In Obama's world and his conception of himself, he was the great, mature mediator between the hopeless masses of the immature and extremist American people.

This notion gave a hint to one of Obama's main weak points—his elitism. Despite coming from modest beginnings and despite his leftist upbringing, when Obama entered the big leagues, and particularly when he became president, more and more he adopted the values of the ruling class. Yes, Obama talked about the need to care for the millions of Americans who were struggling in poverty or just above that level, but the notion Obama was a man of the people, or that he was a socialist of some sort, was always a ludicrous idea. Instead, Obama always articulated what is actually an incredibly heinous notion much loved by Republicans—that poor people should work hard for their poverty!

Obama never challenged the view he was always looking down on Americans, on numerous issues, piously noting what he viewed as the shortcomings of their character,  rather than encouraging Americans to look up to a better future.

It isn't that Americans don't need a lecture or two on their bad habits. They unquestionably do. But they did not vote for Barack Obama to lecture to them about the necessity of patience and consensus in building the policies and products of government. They voted for him to clean house.

What that meant in practical terms is that they voted for Obama to make everything George W Bush and his Republicans stood for go the hell away. Far away.

But there was a problem. Obama did not believe in that objective. He believed that a sudden, abrupt shift to the left would signal to white America that their new black president was some kind of crazy social-justice radical, who wanted to steal from the rich to give to the poor!

Americans don't stand for that sort of thing. Stealing from the poor to give to the rich? Hey, that's the American way.

Obama made many mistakes in his assumptions about how government works, what the role of compromise really is, and what maturity actually is and what it looks like in action.

In future articles I will start examining point by point the alleged differences Obama claimed for himself and his presidency, and I will look at whether Obama is employing maturity in his policies, or redefining words like "failure" and "weakness" to mean "maturity".

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