Barack Obama is 50 today and celebrated with a huge party and fundraiser in Chicago last night.
He is an amazing success story, first ever African American president and at a very young age too so much so that it seems certain he will be younger than his 2012 Republican opponent no matter who it is.
The GOP front-runner Mitt Romney already has a dozen years on him.
But when it comes to his political legacy there is precious little to be happy about.
A cartoon in the McClatchy group of newspapers said it all. It showed Obama with a fat lip after being punched by a Republican elephant wearing boxing gloves.
“Read my lip, no new taxes” went the caption.
That pretty much summed it up. Obama was supposed to go fifteen rounds with the Republicans on the debt ceiling but threw in the towel halfway.
In the end it was his vice president, Irishman Joe Biden, who negotiated the bill that passed
But the bill that eventually got passed had only cuts, no new revenues in it.
The net result will be that Obama will be weakened by his inability to bargain with his opponents.
He has been seen as weak, as incapable of standing strong.
It is a deep shame because never has America needed a tough negotiator more.
The most vulnerable in society will be hit by the trillions in cuts now on the way.
And the wealthiest will not pay a red cent more, nor will the oil companies or special interests.
As Warren Buffet, America’s richest man has said, it makes no sense that he pays less tax than his secretary.
But he does.
Americans know there is a deep unfairness in how the rich and the poor are treated.
The recent banking collapse has not led to any convictions of those who caused it.
Yet Joe Six Pack knows that if he were to default his house would be hoovered out from under him.
Obama is seen as complicit in these sweetheart deals that the rich and the mighty have created for themselves.
That Is not the platform he was elected on.
Obama has revealed himself as a surprisingly poor negotiator, intent only on getting a deal, even a bad one so he can move on.
But move on to what? A Democratic president’s major function must be to protect those most needy in this life, the young, the elderly, and the infirm.
Former House Speaker Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill spelled it out when he said it was government’s role to defend those at the dawn and end of life.
Obama has palpably failed to do that
Those are the people who will most adversely be affected by the cuts he signed off on.
Obama tried to put a brave face on it by coming out on Wednesday and demanding taxes on wealthiest Americans to offset citing the income and programs for poor people.
But stable door and horses are the two images that come immediately to mind.
Fact is the Republicans have won this battle and they look likely to win the war too unless Obama manages to don his big boy pants and take them on head to head.
I won't hold my breath.
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