Detroit’s Dead, Al-Qaida’s Alive

Detroit’s bankruptcy is an apt metaphor for the Obama presidency.

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Looking at the morning newspaper, reading that the city of Detroit – once the wealthiest in the nation per capita – has declared it is bankrupt gives one pause about the president.

What's the connection? In 2012, as he was running for a second term, he and his political allies made much about how he had "saved Detroit" by arranging to bail out Chrysler and General Motors. They also made a lot of the idea that "Obama Got Osama," meaning he had managed to accomplish what his immediate predecessor had been unable to do and would be bringing the troops home any time now from Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, Detroit's dead and al-Qaida and other terrorist groups seeking to cause great harm to the United States are still alive – thank you Boston bomber brothers It may not be 100 percent fair to place the blame for either squarely on the president's shoulders but it does seem an apt metaphor for the entire Obama presidency.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Elected with great fanfare, Obama has been able to accomplish little except to foster a sense of paralysis and gridlock in the nation's capital. This he of course blames on the Republicans just as he continues to blame on George W. Bush other things that cause Americans to tell pollster they believe overwhelmingly that the country is still on the "wrong track." Indeed, since making himself available to sign the massive government stimulus package pushed through Congress by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., what has he really done?

Upon until a few weeks ago he could always point to the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act but, now that he has unilaterally taken it upon himself to push the start date for the employer mandate back a year it's clear that even that is being messed up. The whole administration reeks of unmet goals and unfulfilled objectives, promises delayed and promises denied. Even some liberals are unhappy that he has not moved the country to the left, at least not far enough that any of the changes he has made to the way America governs itself cannot be undone. He has abandoned Congress and is seeking to rule through administrative agencies and executive orders that, in our system of government, make him as near to a despot as we are ever likely to get – knock wood.

[Read the U.S. News debate: Has Obama Exercised Enough Leadership in Dealing With Republicans in Congress?]

Those who supported him said to anyone who would listen that he would be so much better than George W. Bush, that he would be another Ronald Reagan in terms of how he changed the country. And he did win a second term in office, but there were nine million fewer ballots cast in the presidential contest of 2012 than four years before in 2008. Not all of the decline could have come from fraudulent votes that were deemed needed the first time but not the second. Had the GOP presented a real alternative rather than simply gone negative in most every aspect of its campaigning, the results likely would have been markedly different.

Let's hope the urban bankruptcies stop with Detroit, that there is not another major American city teetering so precariously on the brink of financial ruin that it cannot be pulled back from the edge by sound fiscal management and effective administration. And that the activities of the Boston bombers and others help remind the president's national security team that just because they have stopped using the phrase "war on terror" that it doesn't mean that effort should no longer exist. It's time for everyone, the president included, to face reality.

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