Please don’t get me wrong. While I consider myself a centrist, there are many parts of the Democratic platform that I like. I was living in Moscow, Russia during the 2008 Primaries and it was thrilling to see Senator Obama’s message of “Yes We Can” sweep across the world. In fact, some of his campaign speeches still inspire me.
But during the 2012 Election cycle, President Obama’s iconic image has been tarnished—not by others, but by himself.
Perhaps it started when President Obama opted to appear as a “Celebrity-in-Chief,” rather than a Commander-in-Chief, trading hard media interviews for soft media praise (The View, The Daily Show, MTV, Jay Leno). Or maybe it was when he catered to the demands of his base and came out snarky and swinging during the debates, turning a forum for Presidential topics into a petty mudslinging contest.
No matter how it started, it escalated as President Obama continued to mislead the public about the Benghazi Terrorist Attack (fearing political backlash) and culminated when he, after six weeks of promising a “full investigation” (despite mounting evidence that he knows more than he’s disclosing) had the audacity to call Governor Romney a “bullsh***er.”
To be fair, these kinds of tactics are typical of a political campaign. But that’s just it. It’s politics as usual and I thought President Obama promised to be above that.
Now in saying this, I’m not saying that Governor Romney is a political knight in shining armor (because he’s not), but I am holding President Obama to a higher standard (because he’s the President and he’s an icon).
In 2011, I actually started to like President Obama. No matter what anyone says, I think he’s done more than the opposition gives him credit for: he’s ended the war in Iraq, killed Osama bin Laden, and improved our global image. Most importantly, he inspired hope in millions of individuals (around the world) with the promise of a different kind of politics—a classier, cleaner, more transparent form of government.
But in 2012, sensing a possible defeat, President Obama has abandoned his iconic image of “hope and change” for Washington and has resorted to politics as usual. Either way you look at it, the 2012 Election has brought out the worst in President Obama. Whether or not it eventually costs him the election it has certainly cost him the image of “hope and change.” And that’s a greater loss—for America—than the loss of some election.
Because Washington does need hope and change.