Good Job Mr. President (10/26/2011)
President Obama surprised the press, Americans, and in one case, the world, with two major announcements in the last week. I give him kudos for the leadership he exhibited and the specificity of what he put forth. Unlike past political grandstanding, the announcements to withdraw troops and help homeowners with mortgage renegotiation were made without politicking and driven by what was best for others, not his political future. I believe if he can continue to be effective like this his poll numbers will rise and re-election may be possible.
The announcement Monday to help homeowners unable to finance surprised everyone as the President made his way around Las Vegas. Initial reports showed a walk down a typical suburban street with expectations minimized due to the campaign-like presentation. However, by executive order the president bypassed congress and the new rules will take effect. On the surface they appear positive – underwater homeowners who are current on their mortgage may refinance. Underlying this is the risk associated with these loans has been transferred from the homeowner and bank to the taxpayer. But, where the homeowner remains, makes payments, and there is no default I consider this a win for all three parties.
On Thursday President Obama announced all U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year-end, ending the most politically questioned war ever. With this decision a campaign promise was filled. Most Americans tuned out to this war long ago and with more than one trillion dollars spent overseas the real question is “why?” Long ago U.S. presidents learned meddling in Middle-East affairs comes at great expense, both political and through actual blood-shed. This decision is one of President Obama’s highest achievements. It must be foot-noted though, the decision was less a choice by President Obama but more than implementation of a consequence set forth by President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in December 2008 as part of the Strategic Framework Agreement.
I have criticized the President many times over the last nearly three years for “missed opportunities,” leadership opportunities that were easy to implement but overshadowed by politics. When working for the good of the people and with less personal interest all politicians succeed and survive. The decisions made this week may have unintended consequences which only history will reflect, but their intent and immediate impact is important. Good job Mr. President, you deserve our appreciation this week.