For all the things I write, sometimes I have to look at what people wiser than me have said to convey the point I want to make. So recently I read a Patrick Henry’s speech given on March 23, 1775, where his most famous “give me liberty or give me death” statement was drawn from.
Just after the initial couple of paragraphs, he said: “I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.” Upon reflection, that is as universal a truth as they come. It is that precise notion that should guide voters in their decision-making process during this coming presidential election in November.
Even in foreign policy, (Obama's) ambiguities with both allies and foes have made a world less stable than when he took office.
If we want to know how President Obama will govern in the future, we only have to look at how he has governed in the past four years. If we want to know what he will say, we have to look at what he has said before. If we want to know what his priorities will be in the future, we have to look at what his priorities have been in the past. If we want to see whether he will keep his promises in the future, we need to look at how well he has kept the promises he has made in the past, and so on.
Candidates’ past behaviors, commitments and actions portend what their future governing will look like.
Clearly, when then candidate Obama came to the fore there wasn’t a governing record per se, and whatever little known of him there was, it didn’t receive the scrutiny it deserved. A couple of terms in the state Senate were hardly a governing record, especially because he voted present 129 times. The years as a U.S. senator, when he spent most of the time running for president, were hardly a good sign of governing.
Yet a majority of voters were ready to believe that hope and change slogan. It sounded good; it made you feel good. He was a living symbol of hope. Voters craved change and they got it. It was only after he got into the White House that many supporters began to see what they had bought into. Unhappily for them, all they got was that awful buyers’ remorse feeling.
The president’s record speaks loudly and clearly. He worsened an already polarized Washington since he came in and has presided over the longest and weakest economic recovery in the history of our nation. Even in foreign policy, his ambiguities with both allies and foes have made a world less stable than when he took office, especially in the explosive Middle East. Even the promise to Latinos about immigration reform went unfulfilled, which he now says it’s his biggest failure. Then again, it might just have been simple pandering to Latinos while in an Univision forum; who can believe him?
I don’t know whether President Bill Clinton actually described President Obama as an amateur as recently as last year, but in looking at our nation’s future it gives me no confidence to have a president with such a precarious governing past.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.