In November 2008 America elected its first black president. Unfortunately, it did not elect an effective president. Those of us who were not beguiled by Barack Obama’s “hope and change” rhetoric were concerned that he wasn’t up to the job and worried about his ability to lead. As anyone but the most ardent of liberals now knows, we were right to be concerned. Yes, Barack Obama is our first black president and there is value in that, but it is some other Obama firsts that should concern Americans about this president.

Writing for The Gilmer Mirror, Robert F. Cunningham and Patrick Rishor developed a revealing list of other firsts associated with America’s first black president. Their list provides a hard lesson in civics for those who voted for Barack Obama for the purpose of making a statement about race in America. The statement some wanted to make in voting for Obama is understandable, but misguided. After all, the presidency is the most important job in the world. Hence, competence, experience, and commitment, not race, should have been the overriding criteria of American voters. It is Obama’s lack of competence, experience, and commitment that have led to the other firsts listed by Cunningham and Rishor. These other firsts include:

  • First president to be photographed smoking a joint. Barack Obama is not the first president to smoke a joint. That dubious honor probably goes to Bill Clinton, except, of course, he “didn’t inhale.” However, Obama is the first president to be photographed smoking pot. During the presidential campaign of 2008, Obama’s joint-smoking photo juxtaposed beside Governor Perry of Texas in Perry’s days as a fighter pilot spoke volumes about the two candidates. Unfortunately, America wasn’t listening.
  • First president to apply for financial aid as a foreign student, then later claim he was not a foreigner. Have you ever noticed that the supposedly most transparent president in America’s history has managed to keep the records of his college years locked up and out of the media. Of course, with the media’s cooperation, this has not been difficult for Obama, but other presidential candidates have not been so lucky. When George W. Bush ran for president against Al Gore, Time ran a cover story on their SAT scores (Bush’s was higher, much to the chagrin of liberals). Typically everything about a president’s life prior to his taking office is an open book for the American public, but this has not been the case with America’s self-proclaimed most transparent president. Somehow he has managed to get away with being a foreigner when applying for financial aid but an American citizen when running for president. On the other hand, his presidency has been such a failure that Kenyans are now claiming he was born in America.
  • First president to oversee a reduction in America’s credit-rating.

Under President Obama America became a country resembling many of its citizens (i.e. buried in debt). As a result of Obama’s bailouts, handouts, entitlements, and misguided investments in so-called alternative energy, America now borrows so much money that we are no longer a top-rated credit risk. We are like a family that is living from month to month on credit cards that are maxed out.

  • First president to squander America’s lead in space exploration. Even Barack Obama knows that at some point bills come due. The bill for his misguided bailouts, handouts, and entitlements has come due. In response, the president has cut everything out of the budget that does not buy him and his party votes in the next election. One of the programs that has been turned into a hollow shell by President Obama’s budget cuts is NASA. Because of Obama’s cuts to its budget, NASA now resembles those ghost towns along Route 66 that once knew better days. Barack Obama has transformed America’s astronauts into space age hitch-hikers, forced to catch rides into space with the Russians. President Kennedy must be rolling over in his grave.
  • First president to cancel the National Day of Prayer and claim that America is not a Christian nation. President Obama’s disdain for the Christian religion was apparent from the start. He occasionally throws a bone to Christians—albeit reluctantly—when he is seeking votes in the next election; his and those of other Democrats. But make no mistake about it, Barack Obama is clearly more comfortable with Islam than Christianity. In fact, for him to selectively pander to Christians for political purposes is nothing short of blasphemy. The president should simply tell the truth about his religious convictions (i.e. he has none). Perhaps the only sensible words Pastor Jeremiah Wright ever said concerned Barack Obama’s religion. To paraphrase the anti-American firebrand who preached to Obama for 20 years, the president’s only religion is whatever serves his political purposes. If he comes to church, he is just looking for votes. If he talks about religion—no matter what religion—he is just looking for votes.

Those of us who did not buy into the Obama mystique in 2008 were consoled somewhat by the thought that his election might at least usher in a new era of racial harmony in America. If Barack Obama achieved only this, he would have a worthy legacy. Unfortunately, racial harmony did not happen, in large measure because President Obama failed to lead on this critical issue. In fact, race relations in America have deteriorated under President Obama, as have other things; things such as the economy, foreign relations, our AAA debt rating, America’s credibility on the world stage, and the safety and security of U.S. citizens.

In electing Barack Obama, a lot of Americans became so focused on having our county’s first black president they forgot what America needed even more was an effective president; someone who could lead the free world in ways that made us safer, more secure, and better able to revive America’s economy. Those who voted for Barack Obama have now learned what those of us who didn’t knew all along: foreign competitors and our enemies don’t care what race America’s president happens to be. Effectiveness and leadership, not race, are what matters in their eyes.

The mainstream media might give Barack Obama a pass on his domestic and foreign-policy failures, but foreign competitors and America’s enemies won’t. Those who view America as a target for terrorism, economic pressure, or military aggression don’t give passes, nor are they impressed by race. Rather, they are like sharks and wolves that are always looking for weakness, then attacking mercilessly when they sense the slightest hint of it. The minute Barack Obama took office, they sensed weakness and, because of his other “firsts” as president, they have been busy exploiting his weakness.