Competing Disappointments: Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump

One of the biggest criticisms early in the Obama administration was his blaming of George Bush for the many problems he faced. It would seem Mr. Trump doesn’t remember this criticism.

Mr. Trump is leveling blame on Mr. Obama for failing to take decisive action when the evidence of Russian interference in the election first came to light. (

In this, I must concede, Mr. Trump has a point. When President Obama received this most startling memo from the CIA, he had almost eight full years experience (and the gray hair to prove it) of dealing with the difficult decisions facing a President.

When his advisers split on giving the go-ahead on launching the raid which killed Osama Bin Laden, when the odds were about even the information was accurate, President Obama put the political risks aside and decided to go.

An easy decision in hindsight, gut-wrenching in the moment.

Yet, when faced with direct evidence of Russian interference in our election process, President Obama let the potential appearance of partisan interference affect his decision. Worried that unveiling such information might appear he was using the office of the Presidency to sway the election, he kept the information from the American people and took symbolic action against the Russians.

It was a valid concern, but not one that rose to the level of preventing him from doing what was necessary.

It is easy for those of us who’ve never faced such decision to criticize, but in this case, the political consideration should not have affected the decision.

The sad part about this is that the Russians outsmarted us. Say what you like about Putin, he is not stupid.

By manipulating the election they diminished our standing in the world. They feared a Clinton Presidency, with all the experience her background brought (leaving aside the negative baggage of which the Russians couldn’t care less), the continuity of a strong America was likely.

In Trump, they saw an inexperienced and naïve megalomaniac with a god delusion riding on the backs of an angry, but in many cases uninformed, populist trend. They could take advantage of the learning curve of a neophyte on the world stage. Or even better, take advantage of his “I’m always the smartest one in the room” attitude.

Yes, there is plenty of disappointment to go around.

My descent into disillusionment began long before Mr. Trump’s election. It began with the national nominating conventions. Out of three hundred million people, the best we offered was Hillary Rodham Clinton, a career politician who believed she had a divine right to the office of the Presidency and the aforementioned Donald J. Trump who seemed to run on a whim.

But I am an optimist at heart. Despite the trend of many to disparage any source with whom they disagree and to blindly embrace those they agree with, there is hope.

I have unqualified faith in Robert Mueller. His reputation, job performance, and history speak to the highest level of integrity. When he completes his investigation, whatever the results, I believe the findings will be trustworthy.

Despite my disagreement with much of Donald Trump’s policies, he is the President of the United States. Until the evidence and the law demand his removal from office, it is a fact we must accept.

Disappointment is a fact of life. Let’s hope we can also reclaim the pride in our government and the election process despite these past disappointments.

One thought on “Competing Disappointments: Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump

  1. I am also disappointed with the craven dismantling of EPA, State and the other departments. I expected GOP tax breaks for wealthy, but not the Steve Bannon agenda.

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