President Obama’s speeches always revolve around two things: his ideas for fixing the country (which are always discussed in vague, archetypical terms relating to positive things, like “Hope” and “Change”), and the evil, nasty, bad things stopping him from achieving them.  Often, President Obama refers to these evil, nasty things as headwinds.

For those of you who don’t know the term, it’s a common sailing phrase that means the wind is blowing directly at you, impeding your progress. In short, it’s a problem that you have no control over.

He’s said that rising gas prices are a headwind, even though he advocated for energy prices to skyrocket. Which they have.  President Obama called the Arab Spring a headwind, even though he praised it in front of the U.N.  I could give you more examples, but I think it’s time to get to the point.  President Obama, every presidency has headwinds. There has never been a utopian time when there weren’t any.  Nixon, even before he created the scandal that eventually destroyed him, struggled with the end of the Vietnam War and the Soviet Union’s constant pressure.  Reagan was shot by an assassin, while ending America’s longest war with the most powerful rival America had ever faced. Clinton had Bosnia to deal with, before the self-inflicted Lewinsky scandal.  President George W. Bush, who the Obama Administration has blamed for all of the economic hardship?

He had some of the worst headwinds of all.

You could say that 9/11 was a pretty strong headwind. So was Hurricane Katrina. I mean, the sub-prime mortgage crisis that had been brewing since Carter broke during his presidency. That’s a pretty big headwind.

Bad things happen. Even bad things that are beyond the control of the president. The people accept that. No sane person blamed Bush for the actual weather event of Katrina. They blamed him for how it was handled.  Under Jimmy Carter, 52 Americans were held for over a year. No one blamed Carter for the initial kidnapping. They blamed him for how he handled Iran in the aftermath.  President Obama’s handling of incoming crises has been worse than anyone could have predicted.  He didn’t support the Green Revolution in Iran until it was crushed, allowing Ahmadinejad to remain in power as a constantly growing threat.  However, he did support the Arab Spring, which brought down relatively friendly governments, and replaced them with Islamists who wish America and her allies harm.

He threatened to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline, which could have made energy independence (at least independence from Middle Eastern oil) a reality. All because of Crony Capitalism. (If you want to know more, check out my piece on Keystone.)  Meanwhile, he laments the high price of energy, calling it a ‘headwind’ that he has no control over.

The image of the U.S. president is built on resilience. On strong leadership that, even in the toughest times, can serve as an inspiration to Americans.  Everyone remembers Bush in the aftermath of 9/11, standing amidst the rubble with the megaphone. He stood there, on the site of the first attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor, and he led.  And that is the role that President Obama has avoided.  Instead of standing up and accepting the results of his failed policies, he has blamed everything on generic “headwinds.”  I’ll give him one thing, though. He’s gotten his party 100% behind this strategy.

Whether it’s informing the unwitting public that those thuggish Republicans just want people to “die quickly,” or calling Scott Walker the modern equivalent of David Duke, Democrats have bought into the strategy of full-throated, impressively brazen lies.  The thing is, we’re not stupid.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker inherited a massive deficit, high unemployment, and a strong union presence.  Did Walker just sit and blame the left for the unemployment and skyrocketing deficits that he inherited, in the face of a tough recall election?  No. He fixed the problem, and voters rewarded him by defeating the recall.

President Obama – Your turn.

Luke Stibbs | University of the Fraser Valley | @LukeStibbs