A year ago, if we had read in the paper that employers were hiring again, that health care legislation was proceeding without a bump, that Afghanistan had suddenly become a nice place to take your children, we would have known we were being told lies. Back then, we recognized that the problems Barack Obama had inherited as president wouldn’t go away overnight.
During his campaign, Mr. Obama clearly said that an economy that took eight years to break couldn’t be fixed in a year, that Afghanistan was a graveyard of empires and would not be an easy venture for us. Candidate Obama didn’t feed us happy talk, which is why we elected him. He never said America could solve its health care, economic and security problems without raising the deficit. Instead, he talked of hard choices, of government taking painful and contentious first steps toward fixing problems that can’t be left for another day.
Right after Mr. Obama’s election, we seemed to grasp this. We understood that companies would be happy to squeeze more work out of frightened employees and would be slow to hire more. We understood that the banks that had extorted us out of billions of dollars were lying when they said they would share their recovery. We understood that a national consensus on health care would not come easily. Candidate Obama never claimed that his proposed solutions would work flawlessly right out of the box, and we respected him for that.
Today, the president is being attacked as if he were a salesman who promised us that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never made such a promise. It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything.
Long Beach, Calif.