I’ll be the first to admit that President Obama isn’t perfect. Then again, who is? History shows us that presidents are most popular during their first few weeks in office, because voters tend to have unrealistic expectations of what they can or cannot do. That’s something that I believe President Obama clearly faced.
As our nation’s first African-American president, following one of the worst presidents in modern U.S. history, with the promise of a lot of “hope and change” I knew before he even won the election in 2008 that far too many Americans had expectations for him that he’d never be able to reach.
That’s exactly how it played out. I can’t count how many times I’ve encountered a liberal who’s “disappointed” in this president because he wasn’t able to do something that he didn’t have the power to unilaterally do, or the Congress willing to give him the ability to do it. When many liberals sat out the 2010 elections allowing Republicans to take control of the House, that put an end to anything truly monumental President Obama could have done. So, in reality, many of his “disappointments” fall on those who failed him when it came to making sure he had a Congress that would work with him. Not that I’m saying all of his flaws fall into this category, but many of them do.
Overall, I’ve legitimately been a big fan of this president. I think given what he inherited, and what he’s had to deal with (most notably Republicans trying to sabotage his presidency), he’s done a remarkable job. Not flawless, but no president ever will be.
But I must say, for the first time since he was elected in 2008, I’ve really questioned his decision and motives on an issue. When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, and the push for the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that would streamline the process of signing these deals, something doesn’t seem right about any this.
I’m looking at this issue where people I trust a lot – Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders – have both come out and questioned the impact this might have on American workers. It’s not that they’ve called President Obama an outright liar, they’ve just said that the American people deserve to see what’s in this deal – and I wholeheartedly agree. But, so far, the details have remained fairly murky – almost by design – as to what all of this really means for the American people.
This whole issue has even led to a bit of a public back and forth spat between Senator Warren and the president. And while it’s passed in the Senate (with a lot of Democratic opposition), it still faces hurdles in the House.
But what really has me worried about the TPA isn’t so much that President Obama supports it, it’s that House Speaker John Boehner has been almost obsessed about getting it passed. His Twitter account is loaded with tweets obsessing over how “great” this will be for American jobs and how this will hold President Obama accountable.
So, let me try to understand all of this. President Obama supports the TPA because he says it’s good for Americans and our economy, but Boehner supports it because it’ll help hold the president accountable and will create jobs?
Something just doesn’t seem right about any of this.
These are two men who essentially agree on nothing. Not only that, but it’s extremely suspicious to see Republicans supporting something that would give President Obama (or any president for that matter) even more power than they already have. Especially considering how one of their big “go-to” talking points for years has been how President Obama is “unconstitutional” and abuses his power.
And the way Boehner is acting about the TPA is the same way he seems to act when it comes to lying about the Affordable Care Act, spending and practically everything else about which he constantly lies. Being that I’m a firm believer in patterns, when someone like Boehner is this insistent about something – especially when it seems to follow his usual pattern of dishonesty – I tend to see it as something that’s going to be really bad for Americans.
That leaves me at the paradox in which I currently find myself. Do I trust President Obama? Yes, I do. Do I trust John Boehner? Hell no. Do I trust Republicans? See my answer for Boehner. But do I trust Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders? Absolutely.
So, as much as it pains me to say it, when it comes to the TPP and the TPA, I’m standing against President Obama. Because at the end of the day, as much as I am a supporter of his, when I see many of the Republicans I distrust with just about every ounce of my being pushing so heavily for something opposed by many of the Democrats I trust most – that’s just not something I can get behind.