The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Columns

June 7, 2014

Bergdahl turns the flame thrower on Obama

President Obama must feel a bit like MUTO 1 in the film “Godzilla,” which is in theaters.

Spoiler alert: Godzilla, the hero, breathes about six rounds of fire down MUTO 1’s throat before ripping its head off.

Yes, Godzilla is the hero this time, which leaves us to wonder who will come out of the Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl scandal in that role. It may even be Bergdahl.

Godzilla has a checkered past. The only reason he gets to be the hero this time is because he is the only one who can bring down MUTO 1 and MUTO 2 — the biggest, ugliest insects since the movie “Arachnophobia.”

From what media reports are saying, Bergdahl has a checkered past. For those who don’t know, he’s the guy who almost got to turn out the lights in Afghanistan as the last American military prisoner of war to be freed from that country.

Getting him home required a deal with the devil himself, currently operating as the Taliban. Members of Congress are complaining they didn’t know about the deal until after it was done.

Hence, Obama’s resemblance to MUTO 1. The Republicans are trying to rip off his head when he’s not trying to rip it off himself.

Obama’s presidency has been a bit like a West Virginia road before the spring paving season begins — lots of holes, soft shoulders and eroded ditches. Just when he thinks he’s got the Honda between the lines, another hazard rears its head and he needs a tow. Problem is, the Democrats are sending their trucks and hooks elsewhere.

The president made a pledge to close Gitmo, the Cuban detention facility where captured terrorists are locked away without the benefit of constitutional rights. It sounded kind of noble when he was a U.S. senator running for commander-in-chief and George W. Bush couldn’t even zip his pants to please anybody.

Some media pundits proposed Obama made the prisoner trade as a last-ditch attempt to sort of keep that promise.

But his presidency’s fits and starts are an object lesson in why Americans should think twice about electing outsiders. Yes, it’s popular to bash incumbents, those nefarious Beltway insiders. During campaign season, that label is uttered with the same vitriol as a racial epithet.

Obama gets snaps for forging ahead and trying to accomplish campaign goals as a second-term lame duck with a Congress so gridlocked that Metamucil couldn’t break through. But his “my way or the highway, I don’t need your help” attitude is turning members of his own party against him.

The Democrats hated cowboy George W. Bush, but they aren’t yelling nearly as loudly now that one of their own is mowing down people at the Not OK Corral.

One of the reasons Obama had to grab his six-shooter is because he has little experience governing. He served seven years as a state senator before resigning after his election to the U.S. Senate. He served almost four years there before moving up to president.

To beat the system, you have to know how it works. Obama doesn’t. Charm and intellect aren’t enough in the bitter partisan climate today.

As voters head to the polls this fall, they should consider a candidate’s experience and record more than whether someone has been in office for a while. Seniority does provide an advantage, provided the person is still working hard.

When the dust settles on the Bergdahl episode, maybe Obama will find his head and find a way to work with Congress.

— Young is a freelance columnist for The Register-Herald.

E-mail: ynerissa@frontier.com.

© 2014 by Nerissa Young

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