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Tougher than one may think to find someone worthy of a person’s vote

If the presidential election were held today, I would find it difficult to vote for Barack Obama. His failure to lead during this long period of economic distress has led me to this unhappy conclusion.

Fortunately, the election isn’t being held today, so there’s still time for the president to show the many who once supported him that he deserves a second term. But it’s now his economy.

I hope this will happen, because if the election were held today, I could not vote for Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry or the lesser Republican aspirants, either, and elections are a choice between two candidates.

What about alternatives? The Democrats will not have the will to support a challenger and if they did, I’m afraid he or she would be perceived as too far to the left to win the presidency. Nor is it likely a strong third-party candidate will emerge.

I’m sure many Obama supporters were taken aback as I was by his remarks following the passage of the bill to raise the debt ceiling, legislation made worse because the president didn’t fight.

“When Congress gets back from recess,” said the president, “I will urge them to immediately take some steps — bipartisan, common sense steps — that will make a difference, that will create a climate where businesses can hire, where folks can have more money in their pockets to spend, where people who are out of work can find good jobs.”

Noble sentiments, with the exception of the first six words: “When Congress gets back from recess.”

President Obama is willing to wait until the dysfunctional Congress takes its well-deserved rest, to be patient while the Congress again campaigns and debates into next year or longer before it deals with this economic disaster. That is not presidential leadership.

Contrast this with Harry Truman in July 1948: With a 36 percent approval rating and facing certain defeat in November, Truman called the Republican Congress back from its summer recess to extend Social Security, establish a health-care program and strengthen civil rights, as the party had promised at its nominating convention.

An enraged Republican Congress blocked all the legislation Truman proposed, thereby making his case that the nation was the victim of the “Do-nothing 80th Congress” and getting him re-elected.

Article II of the Constitution says presidents “may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses” to deal with urgent matters of war or economic crisis. Instead, Obama waits to deal with unemployment, a plummeting stock market and the specter of a second recession until Congress is ready.

Yet, this is the same president who prevented a second Great Depression with his auto industry bailout and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which was needed to restore stability to the financial system. But instead of tackling unemployment, he expended all his legislative energies on health care, long needed but ill-timed and never adequately explained.

Obama shares the blame with possibly the worst Congress in history, and speaking of Congress, if the election were held today, I’m not too enthusiastic about voting for my congressman, either.

True, Chris Murphy isn’t running for re-election in the 5th District but he is running for the Senate and he has to answer for his posturing vote against the bill that was needed to prevent the economic chaos that default would have wrought. So do colleagues Larson and DeLauro, who ridiculously noted they were for the bill before they were against it.

Murphy was pandering to the most liberal Democratic primary voters to shield him from Susan Bysiewicz’s challenge from his left. He claims the bill “places almost the entire burden of deficit reduction on Medicare beneficiaries, middle-class families and the poor.”

It makes one wonder how fellow Democrat Joe Courtney voted for the same bill because it “protects seniors by prohibiting automatic cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries.”

Simsbury resident Dick Ahles is a retired journalist. Email him at dahles@hotmail.com.

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