I'd like to think, above all, in his speech last night to Congress, President Obama was throwing down the gauntlet to Nancy Pelosi as well as chastising everyone else. The house bill is the only bill actually out there and what he described as what he expected, or assured, is far from H.R. 3200. For instance he assures us illegal aliens won't be covered, yet in H.R. 3200 they are.
Part of trying to do a great deal in a compressed time frame brings problems. Nothing really gets done, or if it does, it doesn't get done well. I won't rehash all the bailout deals, cash for clunkers, nor the stimulus program. All that has been speaking quite eloquently of their shortcomings for themselves.
I still have grave concerns about foreign policy. The Financial Times points out he has yet to take strong action on many of his campaign promises. The Afghanistan war is escalating and the death toll increases on a daily basis. More troops are to be requested for the "war of necessity". Yet, as is the case in Iraq, from where will they come? At one time Obama stressed that we must prevent al-Qaeda from regaining a stronghold yet recent press has us fighting the Taliban. They are not one and the same. Al-Qaeda is seeking safe haven, the Taliban seeks to run the country.
Secretary of Defense Gates states the US goal is to train Afghan security forces to take over and for us to recede to an advisory capacity. We see how well that's working in Iraq. Not so well.
Richard Holbrook, the President's special envoy to Afghanistan, says of U.S. "success", "We'll know it when we see it." Not exactly definitive!
In direct contrast to Gate's assessment, the U.S. has also dedicated itself to such goals as advancing women's rights, improving governance and cracking down on corruption and narcotics. Should this not be the roll of the U.S. Military, but rather the Afghan people themselves?
Pair that with an election fraught with fraud, it parallels the recent elections in Iran which returned a corrupt leader, and the powers behind him, to power. As for Iran, their nuclear ambitions are near fruition. What are we going to do?
Let's not forget Israel where Netenyahu has okayed new building in the West Bank in direct opposition to Obama's demands.
It's not looking good in the Middle East any more than it is on the health care front here at home. It is not only we citizens that are awaiting well grounded leadership rather than soaring rhetoric from the President. The whole world is waiting.