Saturday, June 25, 2011


Well, almost everybody, it seems.

His Afghanistan speech disappointed the generals who want to keep the same level of troops for at least two more years, or increase the number, and those to the left (and some to the right) who want to see an instant pullout of all troops there. Instead Obama called for a gradual pullout but also an end to the kinds of wars we've been fighting there and in Iraq and a future of limited engagements with limited troops focused on actions like the one that killed Bin Laden.

He disappointed me and many on the left with his appointments of Wall Street Republicans to hold the power positions on his economic team, and by not endorsing gay marriage and by not pushing for a "medicare for all" healthcare bill, etc.

He obviously disappoints the rightwing Republicans by wanting to limit some of the power corporations have accrued under the rightwing dominated and rightwing politically activist Supreme Court or for wanting to make corporations pay their fair share in taxes and for wanting to end the tax breaks for the wealthiest, while obviously disappointing leftwing Democrats and others by allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to go on for a couple of more years and for not limiting the power of corporations enough, etc.

So we're all pretty much in agreement, or most of us, that Obama has not done what a lot of us would like him to do, though what that is depends upon our political perspective and ideology and allegiance and beliefs etc.

Meanwhile, he got the biggest healthcare bill that covers almost everyone and gets rid of the "pre-existing conditions" fiasco since LBJ and did draw down troops in Iraq (cut the level there in half with all "combat troops"—i.e. actively engaged in combat—withdrawn) and is about to in Afghanistan (and I know he's only starting with the ones he added to that war but those were less than the generals wanted) and his financial team did prevent another Great Depression.

Speaking of which everyone's complaining about "no job creation" though that's actually a misnomer because jobs have been created and continue to be every month (unlike under Bush/Cheney when millions were being lost every month) just not enough, thanks to the almost total destruction of this country's economy by a Republican administration and Congress, etc.

And I think everyone will agree on the seemingly clueless attempt at bipartisanship called "the Golf Summit" where he and John Boner looked like fat cats on the golf course, even those who were yearning for the good old days when Democratic and Republican leaders got along personally and were able to do what seemed best for the country without the horrible gridlocking partisanship of the past decade or so, etc. but still they don't like it when Obama does just that, or tries to.

But those golf course photos that looked so ridiculous were just shots of Obama doing what he has always done best, as a kid growing up as odd man out in Indonesia and Hawaii or as a student at Harvard or even in the U.S. Senate etc.—adapting to his surroundings and trying to find common ground and the best possible—if often compromising—position.

I admit he seems often to be disengaged from the emotional aspects of the problems dominating the public discourse right now, even sometimes unconcerned. But his actions speak louder than the words he may not be saying or feeling. And for my taste, his actions have mostly been leading the country out from the debacle that was the Bush/Cheney era and into something more in line with the goals I voted for him to try and achieve.

Unlike works of art I love, no politicians, even those I most admire, have ever seemed perfect, or even close. But Obama, even with all his failings, has still proven himself to be better than any alternative I see out there right now.


Anonymous said...

Obama is definitely a wimp, but on his worst day he is quantum leaps better than Bush and the other Republicans in the right wing sideshow. Thom Hartman pointed out last week that if the mega rich were made to pay their fair share in taxes, that there would be no deficit by the end of Obama's 2nd term
Robert Slater

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Of course the generals don't want to pull out and end the money train they're riding fueled by, ahem, our tax dollars. The only time I had an inkling of support for GW and Jeb Bush was when they tried, half heartedly, to prevent the judicial murder of Terry Schiavo, which will go down was one of the cruelest, darkest moments of the past decade.

JIm said...
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JIm said...
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Robert G. Zuckerman said...

President Obama has had to deal with prejudice - ("pre" "judice") since the instant he took office, even before. His detractors do not honor the electoral system. They have an agenda because he is "Democrat", because he is of, for and by the people. If Bush did the exact same things Obama has done, he'd be praised a hero.

harryn said...

I think Obama said: 'If everyone is mad, I'm probably doing something right'.

Point by point:

I agree with Robert - the military machine wants the machine well oiled and running at max man-power.
Why would you even consult with a special interest entity to develop policy.
The sub-text here is all about appeasing the military machine and foreign policy while managing the unemployment rate for jobless veterans.

His economic team appointments reminded me of the 'Godfather' credo about keeping your enemies closer. Furthermore, if this delicate balance he's navigating goes awry, blame can be duly shared.

As far as the corporations, the power is with the stockholders - the same people that can manipulate their incomes with teams of attorneys to diversify their holdings through international banks; and switching their investment strategies from domestic to foreign markets. That would be a disaster, but another fine 'white' line he has to balance.

I agree - the golf summit was a joke, but I'm glad it didn't include Mitch 'the turtle' McConnel, or the game would still be going on and in the press.
This is the guy that vowed to make Obama a one term president as soon as he was elected.

I still believe the 'Pres' is one of the greatest strategists in modern history, but he's walking a tightrope between forces that have evolved to a level of mean-spiritedness unlike anything I can recall.
Not to mention playing to a larger population of idiocy connected to social media.