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I haven't made a political post in a long, long time.

I'd make one now, except just thinking about it depresses me. I was not happy about the results of the midterm, needless to say... and I am even less happy, if possible, about this "compromise" that Obama has made with the GOP on taxes. From where I sit, it smells more like capitulation than compromise. Give a lot, get almost nothing.

Obama is the most intelligent president we've had since Jimmy Carter... and, sad to say, he is looking more and more like Jimmy every day. A good man, but not a good leader. At least not so far. He doesn't seem to have the stomach for a fight. We need another FDR, another JFK, another LBJ. NOT Jimmy II. (And, yes, I know, Obama has accomplished some important stuff. But so did Jimmy. Camp David accords, remember?)

Yeats was writing about his own time in "The Second Coming," I know, but sometimes I think he was prescient:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And could that rough beast whose hour has come round at least be... Sarah Palin?

No, please. Tell me that's just a bad dream. Somebody wake me up.



Dec. 17th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
Devil's Advocate Anyone???
"I say, cut Obama a break, give him a bit of leverage and a chance to recover for a spell, then see if he's willing to throw some punches."

Pardon me, but WHAT?!?! He's the first sitting president in recent memory to have a full majority in both the house and the senate (as in - no filibusters, no blocking, no nothing by the minority parties) for two full YEARS after he entered office. He also entered office as one of the most popular presidents with the media EVER, right up there with Bill Clinton and JFK. Obama had more leverage than anybody could generally dream of at that level. The fact is simply this: Obama can't lead his way out of a paper bag. Period. He's not a leader. He's a bright guy, a great campaigner, and he can deliver a pretty speech to a room full of donors. However, he's finding out the hard way that it's easier to win the office than to actually do the job, and make no mistake, the job of the President of the United States is to LEAD the nation. No, Obama had plenty of leverage. It is leadership that he absolutely lacks.
Dec. 18th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Re: Devil's Advocate Anyone???
Yeah, its easy to point to the largest majorities and say that because he had those he should be successful. But I have to argue that such a narrow view point doesn't take into account the drawbacks of the Dems big tent approach. There's a reason that a radical group of conservatives took measures to start purges in their own party. They know American politics go in cycles and they want their next electorate to be people they can count on. The Democratic political movement has always done the opposite, welcoming all coalitions. In some ways, the Democrats are like a coalition party you'd find in a Parliamentary system. We're a body of many different single issue groups and when you prioritize one of their issues you diminish others. That's why the Dems have a reputation for devouring themselves.

It makes leading this party a difficult job for anyone.

Obama is also only the third president to live in the 24 hour news cycle, and I'd argue only the second to live through its full rise to prominence. You may argue that he was the most popular with the "Media" ever, but the big dog in the Media (bigger than the rest combined) is Fox and I think you'd agree he wasn't exactly popular with them at any point.

Obama used his leverage to gain health care reform that people have been talking about since Teddy Roosevelt, and he did it fighting half of his own party. No one, including the Republicans up to the last week before it was passed, thought it was possible. Excuse me, but yes, I'm still very impressed with that. But it was an expensive buy that cost him supporters even amongst those who wanted health care reform because of the public option debate. And it cost him supporters in both Gay Rights and Immigration coalitions because that issue took precedence and political capitol away from their own.

So now, half way through his term, the same thing happened to Obama that happened to Clinton. The Democrats ate themselves over their own issues and the Republicans reforged themselves into a cohesive unit. I think (as crazy as it sounds) that no longer having the blue dogs to fight with may give the Dems a stronger, more cohesive identity assuming Reid Pelosi and Obama can patch up their differences.

You're discussing an intangible quality in leadership though. And its very difficult for me to prove that he is a good leader (though I do feel its a bit too easy to label him such.) He is, however, very pragmatic and has experience building and rebuilding coalitions. Give him your support (at least outwardly against Republicans) and he might surprise you.

All I can say is there's thus far no one, from either party, I'd rather be running my country.
Jan. 7th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Devil's Advocate Anyone???
To be more precise, due to the deaths of Senator's Kennedy and Byrd and the subsequent appointments and special elections to fill their seats, and the challenge to Senator Franken's election which delayed his being sworn in by six months, the Democratic Caucus in the Senate only had a filibuster-proof majority for 96 days that the Senate was in session. Even on those 96 days, they only needed one member of their caucus to split or abstain to eliminate that 60 vote majority. In a caucus that includes Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and Blanche Lincoln amongst others, good luck to any leadership holding that group together in support of a truly progressive bill.

I wish they had been able to pass more progressive health reform personally, but that said, I was impressed (bordering on amazed) that they were able to pass anything at all given the history of the issue for the past 100 years or so and the hyper-partisan climate in the senate at the time.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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