HAYWARD | Sept. 17, 2011 | Rep. Pete Stark, one of the most liberal and high-ranking members of Congress repudiated President Obama Saturday with a series of jabs knocking his ability and job performance.
During a town hall meeting Saturday afternoon in Hayward, Stark added to a growing perception among Americans the president has too often kowtowed to Republicans in Congress.
"He is eloquent, well-educated and a thoughtful speaker," said Stark, "but he's a lousy politician."
The sentiment among the group of constituents contained a similar tune. Numerous liberal speakers pleaded for Obama to stand up for the ideals he was elected to push forward.
Stark was not done, though. A few minutes later another speaker said the president needs to frame a consistent bulwark against Republicans who say government is the source of the nation's woes.
"The president should start selling the government as a constructive force in society," said the gentleman.
"Do you think the president is a good salesman for that?" asked Stark.
"Not particularly," said the questioner. "I don't either," Stark replied.
The 79-year-old congressman also heaped criticism on continuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq of which most liberals say they voted for Obama to end. The state of both wars will not change, said Stark, "until we get a president we can pressure to bring the troops home."
Even though Stark says he does not know the details of Obama's job bills, he will likely support it, but was not enthused by its potential effectiveness. "I'm not sure it's going to create a whole lot of jobs," he said.
The most frequently asked question, though, involved Solyndra, which announced recently it filed for bankruptcy despite a controversial $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration two years ago. The Fremont solar company sits in Stark's district.
"I'm happy to say I didn't have anything to do with it," said Stark, regarding the bankruptcy. He called the swift filing causing an abrupt layoff of over 1,100 employees "in bad taste" and "chintzy."
While Stark has been vocal about obtaining severance pay for Solyndra workers, he did not answer any question of whether he was aware of the company's risk assessment which many Washington officials are now admitting was poor. The loan guarantee was announced with great hoopla two years ago with a visit from Obama who used the event to highlight his support of green tech.