One of my favorite folk bands, The Civil Wars, has a new album that already includes a hit. It’s titled The One That Got Away, and it’s about a woman and her husband. The gist of the song can be summed up in these lyrics, “I wish you were the one that got away.”
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates that the American public is probably feeling the same way about the reelection of Barack Obama. In fact, if the election were held today, 49% say they’d vote for Mitt Romney while 45% would stick with President Obama.
In other words, if the election was in November 2013, Mitt Romney would be president.
Now it’s always easy to imagine that life would be better if we’d actually chosen “the one that got away” but that doesn’t mean necessarily that life truly would have been any better if we had. Romney’s campaign was chock full of cringe worthy mistakes. Probably the biggest faux pas occurred at the very end. Evidently, Romney truly believed on Election Day that he was going to win. Clearly, in that regard, he was utterly clueless and that’s rather disturbing given reality. It’s less so, however, when the person ultimately put in charge via that election seems continually clueless about everything going on.
While Romney ran a poor campaign and didn’t exactly impress at the end, I have no doubt that he would have been a much better president than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Romney succeeded in too many things in his life to have been a complete disaster in the most important job of his life. It’s too bad that we’ll never know what he could have done with his immense business background, but we can’t and we won’t.
In the meantime, we are in for three more years of a president who is currently failing at every metric the public uses to measure an effective president. In the same poll, 56% respond “no” to the question of whether or not Obama is a good manager. Additionally, 53% don’t believe he’s a strong leader and 55% disapprove of the way he’s handling his job. In a final stinging rebuke, 50% don’t believe the president is honest and trustworthy.
The biggest problem for Obama is that he can’t draw on years of experience to correct his course. His only experience of note is giving big speeches. If you’re looking for a professional pitchman, he’s your guy. A president? Not so much.
His current dilemma is reminiscent of the snake oil salesmen depicted in old Westerns. In those, the slick salesman pedals his worthless elixirs, pockets the money in sales, and skips town before his customers discover his “medicine” is nothing more than oil and water. Obama sold ObamaCare and now it looks as effective as Grandma’s Liver Liniment. Unlike “Grandma” and her faux physician son, however, Obama can’t just hop the next train out of Dodge City. He has nowhere to go and will effectively be taking his own medicine the next three years for the mess he’s created.
As a country, we’re not entirely blameless. We elected this president. Granted, every day new shenanigans from that election surface that make it clear we all weren’t basing our decision on the “facts.” Still, there is an important lesson to be learned here.
Just as the kind town folks swindled in the Western vow never again to trust a travelling doctor pedaling miracle cures, as a country we must stand determined to refrain from electing someone President of the United States because he sounds good and is represented by a cool looking bumper sticker we can sport on the back of our car. Instead, we need to carefully assure ourselves in 2016 when we cast our vote that we are choosing someone experienced who is truly up to the job.