America Needs More Than Just Words from a President

Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

More than six years ago then-Senator Barack Obama captured a nation with his promise of “hope and change.” In what became a defining stump speech, he told a crowd in Des Moines, Iowa:

I chose to run in this election — at this moment — because of what Dr. King called ‘the fierce urgency of now.’ Because we are at a defining moment in our history. Our nation is at war. Our planet is in peril. Our health care system is broken, our economy is out of balance, our education system fails too many of our children, and our retirement system is in tatters. [1]

Rattling off a list of so-called accomplishments as an Illinois state and US Senator, the hopeful presidential contender declared, “That’s the kind of change that’s more than just rhetoric — that’s change you can believe in.

Yet, six years later under Obama’s leadership and direction nothing has changed for the better. In fact according to public opinion, we’ve taken a step backward on multiple fronts, including what is transpiring internationally with terrorists like the Islamic State who are becoming more powerful and potent – and more of a threat to our national security.

This sobering public sentiment was revealed in an early September Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll where likely voters were asked if America is “more safe, about as safe or less safe than we were before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.” With the White House’s mixed messaging and what appears to be a haphazard strategy, it is no surprise that “only 26% believe we are safer today, while 47% believe we are less safe.[2] Factor in a porous southern border, which the Administration is in no rush to secure, and it only compounds Americans’ uneasiness.

Facing intense criticism from the public and even those within his own party, the President decided to flex his political muscle, vowing to ultimately destroy the “non-Islamic” ISIL (or ISIS, whichever you prefer) in his address to the nation. Despite the new tone, 62% said they still disapproved President Obama’s handling of foreign policy. [3]

As the New York Post points out, The disjointed speech wasn’t really about terrorism and launching a new war. It was about saving Obama’s presidency.[4]

What a difference six years can make. Once the master of eloquence who convinced millions he was the hope for peace, prosperity and unity, the President can’t even persuade Americans that he is able to effectively lead the war, (or not a war), on terrorism. The Post further notes:

“Earlier on, he could have trotted out his teleprompters and turned public opinion his way, or at least stopped the damage. But the magic of his rhetoric is long gone, and not just because the public has tuned him out.

They’ve tuned him out because they’ve made up their minds about him. They no longer trust him and don’t think he’s a good leader.” [4]

President Ronald Reagan was also known for his gift to communicate, but with his

words came sound policy, good strategy, resolute leadership and the political fortitude to face evil head on, something this Administration has failed to grasp and which puts our nation in grave danger.

“Obama’s fecklessness is so unique that our adversaries and enemies surely realize they will never face a weaker president. They must assume the next commander-in-chief will take a more muscular approach to America’s interests and be more determined to forge alliances than the estranged man who occupies the Oval Office now.

So Vladimir Putin, Iran, China, the Islamic State, al Qaeda and any number of other despots and terrorists know they have two years to make their moves and advance their interests, and that resistance will be token, if there is any at all.” [4]

Our nation needs more than just a president that pontificates. We need one who is willing and able to lead our nation out of these perilous times and this economic slump, and into greater safety and exceptionalism.