snood
 
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 05:27 am
Since I carried a lot of water for Obama from early on here on A2K, thought I’d do a little note every so often on where I am relative to how he is doing …
In general I can still be counted as a bean in the “for” column, if everyone was separated into “for” and “against” beans. Of late, the thing I am not very pleased about is his seeming capitulation on the public option, and holding firm on insurance provider accountability.

It looks to me like his tendency to try to please everyone is counterproductive in this case. I would have been fine with it if he had used the tactic the GOP used to get their tax cuts passed initially " basically ramming them through by reconciliation. I fear that the insurance lobbyists got off too easily, but only time will tell " when the full effects of this compromised legislation are felt in our pocketbooks.

I find the whole discussion about his choices in Afghanistan disingenuous. Let’s recap. Obama was one of the only lonely voices " first as a state senator in Illinois, then as a fledgling US Senator " against the “stupid war” in Iraq. He was foursquare, unequivocally against us going into Iraq.

At the same time, he felt like Afghanistan was the place we should be escalating, and that our resources were being misspent in Iraq that should be going into a concentrated campaign in Afghanistan. He was wrong about the relative effectiveness of a “troop surge”, once we were already bogged down in Iraq. These views are all a matter of public record.
So, he gets into office, and what has he tried to do? He has generally tried to gear down and withdraw in Iraq, and to recalibrate and re-concentrate our efforts in Afghanistan. He is being roundly criticized for this. I can’t help but wonder, what actions could he have taken, given the fact that he did inherit the two wars in the condition they already were? I believe he has been consistent, and I believe the loud anguished voices against his foreign policies are not.

Along those lines, I think those wailing about his “not deserving” the peace prize are ill advised, at best. Obama has pretty much single-handedly done a full-stop and reroute on the cowboy mentality approach of the former administration. I believe he has done much to restore the sense that there is a place in public discourse for diplomacy, and intelligent disagreement. I think those people in Oslo see Obama as a real mover toward the possibility of achieving and maintaining peace on a global scale, and that’s what I think he got the award for, not some “politically correct” notion.
I realize there is room for disagreement about whether he should have gotten the prize or not, but I think those who say yes haven’t been heard quite as loudly or as long.

Truth told, I think he is being measured a little strictly by his detractors, but what else are they to do? Admit he is a big relief of an improvement over his good ole buddy from Crawford? Not hardly.
So, onward…
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Type: Discussion • Score: 16 • Views: 10,606 • Replies: 128

 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 05:56 am
I am in his column. The loyal opposition makes it a national crisis if he so much as wants to advise school kids to get an education. A woman I know was bemoaning Obama when I did a job in her home a few weeks back. The entire time I worked, she chanted Obama's name and made remarks about how he has destroyed her life. "My healthcare is not meeting my needs. It's like Obama's health reform has already been passed." And so on.

On the other hand, the stimulus bill, which had Republican votes backing it, seems more a giveaway to rich people than a help to ordinary people.

He always supported the Afghan War, so I can't say much there, although I disagree with the way it became an entrenched franchise before and after his election.

I am satisfied that he is getting us out of Iraq.

I understand that you can't pass the health care bill without enough votes to pass it. But, without the public option, what have you got? Is it a real breakthrough, or just a further cash cow for the rich guys? I could have used the public option when raising my kids. Once, my son fell out a pickup window and landed on a curbstone with his forehead. I drove him three blocks to an emergency room. They refused to treat him, because I did not have $75 cash. "No checks accepted." With public health care, I could have presented a card and we could have worked it out.

I was pleased with his Supreme Court pick.

He got the Nobel prize for returning sanity to foreign policy. No argument there.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 06:14 am
Hi, ed.
I really liked Sotomayor too. Didya hear she and thomas have already had their first disagreement? I love the fact that she is "openly Latina", just because I know it bothers that putz.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 06:22 am
I continue to wish him well, and to hope that he succeeds. However, i am increasingly nervous about his seeming inability to or unwillingness to take firm positions and maintain them. That would be a leadership issue. I think he is still too much affected by the mentality of campaigning, when a candidate must be all things to all people. If he actually were to take and keep a resolution to serve just a single term (and i'm not saying he should), it might at least free him of feeling a necessity to temporize in order to avoid offending the electorate.

It's not been a year yet--but it's getting close. The first hundred days was, i must say, a disappointment.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 06:24 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
Hi, ed.
I really liked Sotomayor too. Didya hear she and thomas have already had their first disagreement? I love the fact that she is "openly Latina", just because I know it bothers that putz.


Thomas . . . isn't he that white guy on the court with the really, really dark tan?
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 07:06 am
Yeh - Austrian descent, I think...
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  4  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 07:18 am
@snood,
He's doing what I thought he would do, and between the two choices we had, I still think he was the best one.

Surprisingly, he might be a little weak in something G. W. Bush had, which was that "ram it through, I don't care what anyone else says, I'm the freaking president" attitude. Politics requires a certain amount of negotiation, but the president is a leadership role, not just a negotiator role.

Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 07:25 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I continue to wish him well, and to hope that he succeeds. However, i am increasingly nervous about his seeming inability to or unwillingness to take firm positions and maintain them. That would be a leadership issue. I think he is still too much affected by the mentality of campaigning, when a candidate must be all things to all people. If he actually were to take and keep a resolution to serve just a single term (and i'm not saying he should), it might at least free him of feeling a necessity to temporize in order to avoid offending the electorate.

It's not been a year yet--but it's getting close. The first hundred days was, i must say, a disappointment.




The Big Dawg expresses my fellings as well. I'm in the "for" column, but only because the alternative was unthinkable. He is making me very uneasy.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 07:26 am
@rosborne979,
rosborne979 wrote:

He's doing what I thought he would do, and between the two choices we had, I still think he was the best one.

Surprisingly, he might be a little weak in something G. W. Bush had, which was that "ram it through, I don't care what anyone else says, I'm the freaking president" attitude. Politics requires a certain amount of negotiation, but the president is a leadership role, not just a negotiator role.




give rosbourne a cigar.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 07:57 am
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:

rosborne979 wrote:

He's doing what I thought he would do, and between the two choices we had, I still think he was the best one.

Surprisingly, he might be a little weak in something G. W. Bush had, which was that "ram it through, I don't care what anyone else says, I'm the freaking president" attitude. Politics requires a certain amount of negotiation, but the president is a leadership role, not just a negotiator role.

give rosbourne a cigar.

It's also worth mentioning that Obama was a candidate with a brilliant campaign strategy which he (with help) honed over years. I don't think he's yet devised a brilliant presidential strategy, but I think in time he'll figure out how best to fill those shoes as well. It's only been a year, and he's had a LOT on his plate.
blueflame1
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 07:59 am
major disappointment issue after issue.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:02 am
@rosborne979,
one of Hillary's big campaign statements was that the country had too many problems to indulge in the luxury of time for on the job training . She was right. That's no slur against Obama but it's factual.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:15 am
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:

one of Hillary's big campaign statements was that the country had too many problems to indulge in the luxury of time for on the job training . She was right. That's no slur against Obama but it's factual.

My answer to Hillary would have been that she would need on-the-job training as well. None of the candidates had previous experience as President, although they each had unique experiences of their own to draw upon.
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:21 am
there is a certain ring of truth to that... but there is no denying the fact that Hillary had a lot more general experience swimming with the sharks, a greater knowledge of their feeding habits, and has enough shark in her to fight off the others.

as has been said by many... there's a big difference between being a successful campaigner and being a successful President.

I like the guy, don't get me wrong.... but he lacks the mentality and general disposition for the street fight.... and that's what his detractors are ... street fighters. They are cockblocking him at every turn for no reason except that. It is not necessary and indeed not desirable to conduct your life as a street fighter.... but it's an important skill to be able to call upon and successfully execute when needed. IMO.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:34 am
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Hillary would have had her own weaknesses, just as Obama has his. It's hard to say what they would have been. Maybe we'll find out in the future.

Obama's smart, and he's relatively young, so his ability to adapt and learn should be as good as anyone.
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:42 am
@rosborne979,
meanwhile we're as fucked as we have ever been.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 08:49 am
@Bi-Polar Bear,
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:

meanwhile we're as fucked as we have ever been.

Correct. The constraints of the political system itself is now one of the major ineffeciencies that our society has to endure. It's been this way for centuries, but it seems to only get worse, never better.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:24 am
@snood,
snood wrote:
Of late, the thing I am not very pleased about is his seeming capitulation on the public option, and holding firm on insurance provider accountability.

I'm not very pleased either, but that wasn't a capitulation. It has been clear from the beginning that health care reform just isn't that important to him. Remember the campaign for the Democratic nomination? Remember how he was the last of the major candidates who offered any specific plan, and how this plan was much mellower than Hillary Clinton's and John Edwards's? It was clear right then that Obama's urge to be everybody's darling would dominate any willingness of his to take a stand on healthcare reform.

snood wrote:
Along those lines, I think those wailing about his “not deserving” the peace prize are ill advised, at best.

Although I agree with what you say about Afghanistan and Iraq, I disagree with you about the Nobel Peace Prize. If you can get it merely for not being George Bush, will I get it next? Obama did not deserve the prize -- and he was the first to admit it.

Overall ... hey, I'm agreeing with 80% of what you just wrote. What has gotten into you?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:29 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

snood wrote:
Of late, the thing I am not very pleased about is his seeming capitulation on the public option, and holding firm on insurance provider accountability.

I'm not very pleased either, but that wasn't a capitulation. It has been clear from the beginning that health care reform just isn't that important to him. Remember the campaign for the Democratic nomination? Remember how he was the last of the major candidates who offered any specific plan, and how this plan was much mellower than Hillary Clinton's and John Edwards's? It was clear right then that Obama's urge to be everybody's darling would dominate any willingness of his to take a stand on healthcare reform.


Oh pooh. It's important -- the thing is that it's more important to get SOMETHING done than to try to do too much and end up getting NOTHING done. He took the Hillary Clinton lesson to heart.

And that really goes for most of this stuff I think. He's not about doing manly demonstrations of power for the hell of it -- he's about getting stuff done, which includes compromise and big-picture, delayed-gratification stuff.

I haven't been particularly surprised. Mostly pleased. Won't go so far as to say that I'm universally pleased, but for most everything I get why it's being done.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Dec, 2009 09:45 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
I'm not very pleased either, but that wasn't a capitulation. It has been clear from the beginning that health care reform just isn't that important to him. Remember the campaign for the Democratic nomination? Remember how he was the last of the major candidates who offered any specific plan, and how this plan was much mellower than Hillary Clinton's and John Edwards's? It was clear right then that Obama's urge to be everybody's darling would dominate any willingness of his to take a stand on healthcare reform.


The other thing that bothers me about this convenient formulation of yours... Edwards had been doing pretty much nothing but preparing for 2008 since he lost in 2004. Clinton had similarly been working hard on running for president in 2008 for quite a while. Obama got a much later start than those two, and so had to catch up in terms of things like offering specific health plans. Rather than dashing something off just because they had something, he wanted to do it carefully and wanted to do it right -- this served him well in the campaign and is serving him well as a president too.
 

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