The office of President of the United States, regardless of party diversification, public opinion, global events, or even personal judgment, is an honor granted to the one elected via constitutional parlay to serve the American citizens. It is also a complex, comprehensive, an exhausting life for the four or at times, eight years of the leader of the free world. Currently, Barak Obama holds the right to lead the United States. He is an idealistic leader who has utilized his strong vision to attempt a transformational process of domestic and foreign affairs; he has at times failed to perform within the framework of the Constitution, and his use of the bully pulpit has not enhanced public opinion of his worthiness to hold his office. Ultimately, while he has enjoyed some successes in office, his inefficiencies and ineffective strategies have left the country in such a condition that even the most pressing issues, such as the war in the Middle East, are left nearly unattended.
When compared to a few of his more conservative predecessors, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush specifically, Obama is much more idealistic than realistic or pragmatic. Where Reagan or Bush implement policy and put words into action, Obama has used his rhetoric to incite ideas over actions. Some examples of his ideologies include his concept of everyone needing fair footing regardless of what he or she has done to step into the right place. Health care is a good example of this. Obama was adamant that all Americans deserved access to health care. In and of itself, this isn’t necessarily problematic. However, when ideology spilled over into directive, things got ugly. Those who had health insurance they were happy with lost it. Others ended up paying much more in premiums. Those who had been without health care were often heavily subsidized at the expense of those who had already been paying for health insurance. Another example of Obama’s ideology over rationality is his idea that Congress is an enemy of the office and of the American people. Over and over, Obama has stated that Congress is a barrier to United States citizens getting what they need or deserve. This isn’t productive ideology; it is simply ideological rhetoric.
Of course, Obama cannot be expected to enter the office without bringing his personal beliefs with him. Even though he was elected to represent the citizens of the United States and should be listening to them to determine what it is they want and need, he is human, and it would be impossible to expect him not to have personal beliefs and characteristics that affect his decisions and actions. Among the personal beliefs and actions that Obama packed into the Oval Office are his deep Christian faith, the fact that he believes that all people are connected regardless of gender or race, and the fact that he feels every person has the responsibility to live collectively as well as individually. This last belief is a liberal one not uncommon to any Democratic politician in current times. Obama also preaches tolerance and claims it as one of his personal beliefs, but he has shown in some of his actions that he needs a bit of practice in this area, as he is quite intolerant of the Republicans in Congress, of those choosing an economy where the rich are rewarded for their hard work, and of those he perceives as stepping on any civil liberty, regardless of how loosely that civil liberty is defined.
Obama’s personal belief system underlies his decision-making process. Again, this is not a unique feature of his alone; nearly every person makes decisions based upon his or her own belief system. The difference is that Obama is the leader of the free world and his decisions impact millions of people on a global level. Obama has made policy decisions based upon his personal belief system that have been quite controversial. One of these decisions was, as previously discussed, the health care overhaul and the legalization of a tax penalty for those not carrying health insurance. Fairness of all, he seemed to say, meant having a President who forced his own idea of fairness onto all of the country’s citizens and enforced this idea of fairness in a financial manner with a tax penalty if not followed.
Aside from his personal belief systems and how they affect his duties in office, Obama is a bold leader with a strong vision. He strives for and seems to thrive on transformation rather than transaction. This follows his ideology over his action. He wants his ideas embraced, accepted, and legalized. He doesn’t necessarily want to compromise or be conciliatory; he wants his policy passed his way, and he will use his influential rhetoric to try and force his vision into law. Perhaps because of his ability to put theory into practice, he has difficulty compromising or acting in a conciliatory manner in order to get his programs accepted or passed into law.
This type of force was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution. Obama often forgets that there are policies, protocols, and laws that apply to his office. These laws stem from the Constitution. Rather than adhere to them in a respectful and successful manner, Obama uses his “bully pulpit” to run over the top of those who don’t agree with him or support his views. This is somewhat of an elitist or entitlement attitude, but it isn’t just Obama who suffers from this egocentric syndrome. Most modern politicians, regardless of party, appear to have at least some amount of this unfortunate malady.
Overall, President Obama has used his strong vision to attempt a transformational process of domestic and foreign affairs, but he has failed the American public because he has not adhered to the framework or the sentiment of the country’s governing document. He has also used force and rhetoric over collaboration and cooperation. It does not bode well for tenuous situations in the current state of global affairs, such as the war in Afghanistan or the trouble with ISIS, as Obama has been thus far unable to effectively deal with either.