Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
During last Saturday's Republican presidential debate, Marco Rubio made what many people consider a campaign-ending gaffe. When NJ Governor Christie accused him of speaking in memorized sound bites, Rubio proceeded to sound like a damaged record and repeated the same statement over and over and over again. It is yet unclear if this poor performance will de-throne him as the latest last-best-hope establishment challenger to front-runners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Most of the GOP Presidential field likes to echo the silly meme that President Obama does not know what he is doing. That the President, like Rubio, is inexperienced and in over his head. While this sentiment may resonate within the far-right media bubble, it simply makes no sense at all to the rest of us. The President is one of the smartest and most effective leaders that we have had in years. With a strong list of solid accomplishments, his approval ratings (at 46%) are lower than Bill Clinton's (55%), but similar to Ronald Reagan's (49%), and much higher that George W. Bush's (30%) at the same point in their administrations.
Rubio's memorized statement, with variations, went like this, "And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world. That's why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America."
While listening to this, I kept thinking, "Yeah, I agree with Marco. Obama does know what he is doing !". He passed healthcare legislation that goes a long way towards fixing our broken system. The rate of the uninsured is at record lows. The stimulus saved the auto industry and brought us back from the brink of a depression. We have had 71 straight months of private sector job growth. With Dodd-Frank, the banks that recklessly pushed the world economy toward disaster have been reined-in.
Yes, President Obama promised change, and that is indeed what he brought. Without a horrific loss of American lives and ruinous expense, the Iran deal halted development of nuclear weapons by that country. We are once again respected around the world. We are winning a war against ISIS with minimal loss of US soldiers and have decimated the leadership of al-Qaeda. People are now free to marry who they want. We reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba. President Obama is a smart leader who indeed knows what he is doing. And that is a good thing.
I agreed with Marco up to that point. However, he continued on, trying to make America's successes under Obama's leadership seem like some malevolent plot, saying "All this damage that he's done to America is deliberate. This is a president that's trying to redefine this country. That's why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake."
That is where he lost me. So Rubio thinks that we should have let the American economy fail. That we should let the big banks continue to play roulette with the American economy. That we should let insurance companies deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. That we should invade yet another country instead of brokering an agreement with it. Sorry Marco, the policies that you are proposing truly would damage America. That is change we neither want nor need.
I know that Rubio was trying to say that he has as little experience as Obama did when he entered office. And that just as Obama was effective in getting his agenda passed, Rubio would be, also. However, Rubio is no Barack Obama. Our President is much smarter than poor Marco. In fact, as I listened to the debate, I couldn't help but compare him to political lightweight Dan Quayle. I kept thinking of the feather that the Doonesbury comic strip used to represent our feckless former Vice President.