An open letter to Skip Gates:

In a recent edition of the Vineyard Gazette, I noticed the ad for your panel discussion at the Old Whaling Church on August 14. I was saddened to note the topic this year is Race-ing Obama: Unraveling Criticism of the First Black President. It’s unfortunate that you will be focusing on race rather than the president’s dismal record so far. Barack Obama has turned out to be a terrible president and history will not be kind to him.

People projected their hopes and dreams onto candidate Obama; he was supposed to be some sort of messiah, a savior who would end poverty, war and lower the sea level. Half of America actually believed the hype. So did Obama. And the media went along for the ride.

Fast forward to today and we see a very different man in the White House. After nearly six years of the Obama presidency, we have a definitive track record from which to study and critique. The evidence clearly suggests he is failing. His poll numbers continue to drop to record lows. He is mired in weekly scandals. He has grown the welfare state and imposed socialized medicine. Millions have given up looking for work and most new jobs are part time. Watching this administration is like watching a train crash in those old cowboy movies, except real people are being hurt today.

Meanwhile overseas, stability and prosperity are fading, due in part to Obama’s collapsing foreign policy. Leading from behind is no way for a superpower to act. How is that reset with Russia working out? Barack Obama declared the war on terror over, ignoring dramatic evidence of the global rise of Islamic terror networks. At the same time he is shrinking our military. Our allies no longer trust us and our enemies don’t fear us. Then there is Syria, Iran, Iraq and Libya. These are just a few examples where the president has been glaringly wrong.

Barack Obama was and remains an inexperienced politician whose wings have melted and is now tumbling earthward. Some speculate he has actually given up based on his strangely indifferent responses to various crises and his enthusiasm for frequent fundraising trips.

Supporters of the president, the media, liberal interest groups and the Democrat party have savaged ordinary Americans who dared express opposition to Mr. Obama’s progressive agenda. The Tea Party was targeted for special abuse even before the IRS began punishing conservative groups. If you don’t like Obama’s policies, you are labeled a racist. If you didn’t vote for him, you must be ignorant and subjected to ridicule and pity. This from a president who promised to unite red and blue America.

Barack Obama will go down as the most secretive, dysfunctional and divisive president in the modern era. The damage he is doing to the country goes far beyond day-to-day events. He has willingly torn the nation’s fabric in the pursuit of political victory and power. He has promoted, indeed encouraged, division between friends, families, ethnic communities, classes and political parties. He has grown government at the same time he has destroyed our faith in government. He has exploded debt while many families struggle to survive the great recession, which he helped prolong. In doing so, he has weakened the nation. Worse, Mr. Obama has been poorly served by his staff and Democrat leaders in Congress, especially Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. I do not envy the next president who must repair the damage this guy has caused.

The majority of Americans are unhappy with the direction Mr. Obama has taken the country. They favor smaller government, lower taxes, strong borders, a strong military, reducing the debt and transparency. We want to be able to choose our own doctors. We oppose crony capitalism. We are tired of a terrible economy and burdensome government regulations that kill good jobs and prevent small business from getting off the ground. Most of us don’t approve of his numerous executive actions that circumvent Congress. Our disappointment with Obama is based on policy and vision, not the color of his skin. Honestly, playing the race card in 2014 is a cop-out.

I am unable to attend your event in Edgartown, so I decided to write to you instead. I strongly suspect my point of view would not be welcome anyway. Democrats simply blame President Bush and Republicans for all our ills, while absolving the president of any mistakes or responsibility for our current precarious situation.

Peter B. Robb
Holliston and Oak Bluffs