Intellectual Honesty and Barack Obama
by Ryan Sawtelle, Pepperdine University
(reprinted with permission)
Many of my close friends with whom I have engaged in political discourse know that I am no huge fan of President Bush – but I surely do not harbor immense hatred for the man that is seemingly present in the left.
My reasons for disliking George Bush would be the very same reasons to dislike Barack Obama had Barack been the one to make/not make such public policy decisions. Wrong is wrong no matter who says it is right. Bad policies, bad decisions, and improper inaction are just that – no matter what politician it is that is committing the fault.
I, like many others, am drawn to watch the Inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday – but I watch with unease. Unease that so many people who have championed his cause in the past year will be unable to be intellectually honest with themselves regarding the paths he chooses to take throughout his presidency – that is, anything to go right in these next 4-8 years should be credited to Obama and anything to go awry will be blamed on the policies of Bush without any proof or substantiation of either.
This isn’t all speculation.
In any matter of reasoning the result is contingent upon one’s premise. Only if the premise is steady within an argument can correct judgments be made.
Since Bush got into office I have heard outcries that President Bush is to blame for rising gas prices with nothing to substantiate such a claim. For the president to cause a rise or drop in gas prices he or she must enact a policy that affects the supply or demand of gasoline. Economic talk, even in the simplest of terms, is of no use to someone who decries a man because of immense dislike. Proof or any reasoning is useless to those who are ready to champion a certain cause in which they foster strong emotions.
Interestingly enough, gas prices have dropped to amazing lows in the past 6 months yet those who were eager to bash the President evermore as the prices continued to rise are the same ones that have been noticeably silent to voice their affirmation for the President for the drop in prices.
That is not intellectually honest. One cannot have it both ways.
Bush’s inauguration in 2005 was seen by the BBC, AP and various leftists to be too expensive. Democrat Anthony Weiner (NY) suggested the festivities should be “muted- if not canceled, in wartime.” Stating that “as a country we face huge deficits.” The Associate Press’s Will Lester alluded that the money would be better spent armoring Humvees in Iraq.
I agree. Private funds should be used for the full costs of inaugurations – not tax payer money.
Of the estimated $170 million cost of Obama’s inauguration $124 million of that will be paid by the tax-payers. Deficits are bigger in 2009 – armoring Humvees in Iraq would still be appreciated. If Lester or Weiner have continued their sentiments about inauguration expenditures, this time with Obama, I have missed them.
Obviously the left aren’t the only ones at fault. Those on the right commit such wrongdoings at a rapid clip themselves – but the amount of unbridled endorsement that Obama has received makes me weary that one may be blind and fluently accepting of bad policies.
My hope is that when tomorrow rolls around and Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, that we will stand behind beside him and like so many did not do with President Bush and, when deserved, give President Obama credit where it is due and discredit when it is due.
…or we can just listen to Hannity or Maher and regurgitate rhetoric.
I choose the former.