Been incommunicado for two days, away at an overnight camp with my youngest son and his fifth grade class as a chaperone in a cabin with nine boys and two other dads.
There was no news from the outside, no cell phone calls, etc. Kind of a relief in many ways. But before I left early yesterday morning I posted on Obama's Egypt speech which I caught most of before we left, figuring the comments on the post would keep those of you who check into the blog regularly pretty amused until I got back.
I'm exhausted (being a light sleeper in a cabin full of males half of which snored didn't help), chilled to the bone and feeling damp if not wet from standing around or hiking through the woods in at least drizzle all day if not outright downpours.
And I have over half a hundred emails to respond to as well as a few dozen phone messages, a meeting to run to, my son to care for, etc. so this will be a brief post (for me) just saying I wasn't disappointed in the amusing quotient in the comments on Obama.
But I must admit, if I were younger and not as experienced or mellowed, I'd resent not only the outrageous and silly comments of my old rightwing friend Jim, who seems to be unable to do not parrot the rightwing line of the day no matter the contradictions inherent in the line or resonating from the line's origins or from comparison to other day's lines (Cheney for years expounding on the definiteness, the total reality of, the inarguable truth of his contention that Iraq was involved in 9/11 recently admitting there's no proof for that, etc.), but others' insistence that somehow anyone who defends Obama is either some kind of Liberal ideolgoue or just a sucker for Obama's "smooth talk" etc.
If anyone reading this blog or any of my books or essays or reviews or hearing any talks I've given or panels I've been on over the last almost five decades sees me as either a "liberal" ideologue, or as someone who's a sucker for "smooth talkinbg" polticians, they don't read or hear very well.
Obama is a pragmatist, who inherited either the worst circumstances in terms of real world problems of any president since Roosevelt or since Lincoln, depending on which historian you agree with. He is addressing them all as best he can with what he has to work with (i.e. the actual politicians, resources, willingness of others, etc.).
If you dont like the way he's doing that, you can argue for what you believe is a better way. But your argument will be seen, at least by me, as just plain silly if your contention is that things would be a lot better if Obama just repeated the failed conservative policies of the past eight years that created all the problems he inherited.
Or if your argument is that he hasn't done enough to reverse those policies and the results they caused (i.e. unemployment, which by the way goes like this, close to a million jobs lost the last month Bush/Cheney were on duty, and that number has DECREASED every month since, to the point that the latest statistics have many economists saying the recession is either over or close to being over) or hasn't done enough fast enough.
Either you are living in fantasy land, where if only every congress person and every interest group and every voter and every citizen and everyone in the world, basically, agreed one hundred percent with your solution we'd have Paradise on Earth and Obama's at fault for not creating that paradise immediately, or you actually believe the righwingers and think Obama does have the power to snap his fingers and get all kinds of institutions and government agencies to immediately change drastically without resistance or some kind of payback that will cause his plans to backfire (ever hear of Carter, one of the smartest and best intentioned presidents of the past half century, nonetheless...etc.).
I believe he's doing a better job than anyone else has in decades if not in my lifetime, and that some of what he's doing is guess work based on the best thinking he and his advisors can come up with and how easy those solutions are to apply and carry out. I trust the guy. I don't think he's anything more than he presents himself as, a thoughtful, intelligent, calm thinker who approaches problems from a humble point of view that there are no perfect solutions but best case ones and that half the battle is approaching the problems with an honest expression of what they really are and what the possibilities for solving them really are.
If any of my commentors want to present a case for any leader throughout history who did everything perfectly, please, let them make the case. If they want to cede that all humans are imperfect, and all human solutions therefore imperfect as well, than let's do some comparisons. If we use real data for that, Obama will come out ahead of most in almost every circumstance he has faced so far.