Obama’s Longterm Effectiveness
I have been highly critical of Obama's Presidency on a variety of issues, mostly out of frustration with his negotiation tactics and not his general politics. On far too many issues Obama has staked out a centrist position then allowed the Republicans to pull him further and further to the Right. However, I maintain that given the circumstances, the Left are being completely unreasonable when it comes to attacking him. The current incarnation of the Republican Party is a dangerous hybrid of religious and market fundamentalism, and one breath away from outright fascism. To court the possibility of kicking Obama out for his failures to pass more progressive legislation in favor of a Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry is absolute madness.
I still support President Obama, largely due to his book 'Dreams From My Father', written before he had serious Presidential aspirations. Anyone who doubts his extraordinary intelligence and insight should read it to see where he comes from and how he views the world. I have no doubt that deep down, Obama is extremely progressive. He is also a masterful politician with a keen awareness of power – and more importantly he knows how to manipulate it. Andrew Sullivan looks at some of Obama's achievements in office, reminding the Left to keep the long game in mind when tearing him down:
Here are the political accomplishments: defeating the most heavily favored party machine in decades (the Clintons) while actually bringing his biggest rival into his cabinet, where she has performed extraordinarily well; helping to cement the GOP's broad identity as extremists opposed to compromise; entrenching black and Hispanic loyalty to his party; retaining solid favorables and not-too-shabby approval ratings during the worst recession since the 1930s. 44 percent of the country still (rightly) blame Bush for this mess, only 15 percent blame Obama.
On policy: ending the US torture regime; prevention of a second Great Depression; enacting universal healthcare; taking the first serious steps toward reining in healthcare costs; two new female Supreme Court Justices; ending the gay ban in the military; ending the Iraq war; justifying his Afghan Surge by killing bin Laden and now disentangling with face saved; firming up alliances with India, Indonesia and Japan as counter-weights to China; bailing out the banks and auto companies without massive losses (and surging GM profits); advancing (slowly) balanced debt reduction without drastic cuts during the recession; and financial re-regulation.
Obama is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he is the best hope America has when it comes to steering the deeply troubled Republic back to some semblance of sanity.
March 5th, 2015