Obamanation of Transparency
Another primary over and another GOP nomination swings the Tea Party way. Christine O'Donnell, hard-line conservative Christian radical, didn't just rock the boat but blew the whole thing right out of the water when she trounced Michael Castle – the veteran Delaware GOP incumbent who was previously considered a shoo-in.
Not surprisingly, O'Donnell's win garnered a veritable tidal wave of derision from both sides of the floor. Democrats dismissed her as a religious nut whose comments on masturbation (that it was a sin comparable to adultery), were indicative of her unsuitability. Republicans were equally as stinging. Delaware GOP state party chairman Tom Ross called her "a delusional liar who wasn't fit to be dog catcher, much less senator." and
Firstly, Ross et al are entirely correct. O'Donnell's credentials as a senate candidate are shakier then a card house in a wind tunnel. However, the more I read about her win, and about the Tea Party, the more I believe that the media en masse have missed a vital issue at the heart of recent events: that the average American is pretty darn scared about the future of this country. And the more I consider this, the more I believe that the Obama administration should take notice of this if it harbors any serious intentions of winning a second term in office.
By average American I mean any American whose whole quality of life rests upon the shoulders of the economy – a number significant enough to be considered an average. The reason I believe that there exists such a groundswell of fear amongst the average American, and the main reason why the Tea Party has proven so influential during the primaries, is because the Obama administration has failed a number of times to provide fully what people want to hear most: a no-nonsense explanation of what action the government is taking and what bearing it will have on their lives.
Time and time again the current administration has failed to do this, beginning with the bloated stimulus package. While few level headed individuals would argue that it failed to shore up the economy, there remains a huge amount of skepticism regarding the manner in which the money was apportioned – rightly so.
How many people can say they wholeheartedly believe that at least some of the taxpayer's money hasn't lined the pockets of a few greedy bankers? This is where Obama failed to live up to his pre-election hype of transparent governance. Instead of providing an easily accessible account of how stimulus money was appropriated, the issue fell quietly away, leaving the door open to self-interpretation and rumor-mongering.
Then came the healthcare bill – how can any country purporting to be the world's moral leader leave any of its sick uncared for because basic healthcare was unaffordable? Nevertheless, the typical response to any question regarding this subject revolves around a 1000 plus page labyrinth of a document that may or may not sink the country under debt when it's introduced. Why hasn't Obama taken steps to address the nation until all misconceptions are eradicated?
The Gulf oil spill, immigration, Guantanamo – on matters that resonate strongly with so many Americans there remains a disconnect between what the government does and what the public perceives it to do. The president needs to show a rare kind of dynamism unnecessary during times of prosperity - yet I still truly believe that he possesses the qualities to do just that.
However, Obama needs to act quickly, comprehensively and in a much less opaque manner when articulating his policies because people are genuinely terrified at what the future holds. And during times of fear, reasoned thought is ignored - this is how the O' Donnells of the world are able to gain such a foothold.
Two years is a short space of time in politics, but with a radically different approach, this administration can be looked upon at the next general election with far more leniency. The alternative is a grim one, where "The Origin of the Species" is moved to the fiction section, shotgun wielding mamma grizzlies roam unchecked, and masturbation is no longer one of the last remaining guilt-free pleasures in life.