It’s a tough job being president. I know this because Barack Obama says so — all the time.
When President Obama failed to spark the economy in the time promised, he complained that the economy was in worse shape than he imagined as a candidate. It’s a deep hole and pulling us out will be hard, he said.
When he flubbed the launch of a website for the Affordable Care Act — both the English version and the Spanish version — he excused himself, saying health care is complicated and hard.
When whistle-blower Edward Snowden exposed the disconnect between the president’s words and his actions via the National Security Agency, the president told us sophisticated technology makes safety and privacy hard to balance.
Foreign policy speeches do not a safer world make. Our terrorist enemies are on the rise under this president’s limp grip. He tells us stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons will be hard.
Now come the stunning revelations in a book from ex-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that President Obama didn’t believe in his own Afghanistan policy. Men died for a policy Gates says the president was skeptical of, “if not outright convinced it would fail.”
In response to Gates’ memoir, Obama said — wait for it — war is hard.
War is hard? That’s the takeaway?
Frankly, I’m weary of hearing Obama tell us how hard his job is.
It’s not that I fault the president for his deliberate nature. I appreciate thoughtful decision-making over, say, the appearance of bluster for bluster’s sake.
But, Mr. President, hard is no excuse. Get it done or get out of the way.
What is especially irritating about the Obama shtick, as we enter the sixth year of his tedious presidency, is the conceit that he’s somehow uniquely gifted to solve the world’s problems, if only circumstances would give him half a chance.
Consider the summer of 2010. That was supposed to be the “summer of recovery.” It never happened. And Obama’s staff became disillusioned about the unexpected stuff with which the president was forced to cope.
The BP oil spill just wouldn’t stop. Rolling Stone magazine carried a story about Gen. Stanley McChrystal that eventually required the president to fire him and replace him with Gen. David Petraeus, who led the Iraq surge that Obama did not support. It was a humbling moment for “The One.”
Politico carried a story about how “privately, Obama advisers talk of being prisoners to uncontrollable events and deeply uncertain about how all of this will play out.”
To which one can only reply: “Good lord, these guys do drink their own bathwater.”
The Obama crew really believes that if it were not for these darned unexpected events, President Obama could get on track and use his superpowers to heal the planet and otherwise make himself available for the world to touch the hem of his garment.
Well, it’s 2014, and the economy is still on life support. Syria, Egypt, Libya, Benghazi, Snowden, IRS-gate, Associated Press-gate, Fast and Furious and healthcare.gov keep the administration hopping. Some events were self-inflicted. Some stuff just happened, like the bumper sticker warns.
Be it ineptness or fate, this has become the great miscalculation of Obama. His presidency is not a college class in which the curriculum is set. He may want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, but snow-white turtledoves are pretty few and far between these days.
In the real world, an American president’s character is always tested. Some measure up. Some don’t.
The lesson Obama supporters need to learn is that this president is nothing special. He’s not a superhero, nor is he a villain.
He’s just a man who, after five years on the job, still can’t find his footing. He’s largely ignorant of his own administration’s actions, or so he says. Every external crisis catches him flat-footed.
Enough already. We get it, Mr. President. This job is hard for you.
Then work harder and, please, stop whining.
Sherman Frederick, former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, writes a column for Stephens Media. Read his blog at www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/sherman-frederick.