Friday, September 13, 2013

This president

Since the last fortnight has been "bash Obama" season around here, I feel moved to share this from Kevin Drum:

If you want to give Obama credit, give him credit for something he deserves: being willing to recognize an opportunity [diplomatic openings on Syria] when he sees it. I can guarantee you that George W. Bush wouldn't have done the same. But Obama was flexible enough to see that he had made mistakes; that congressional approval of air strikes was unlikely; and that the Russian proposal gave him a chance to regroup and try another tack. That's not normal presidential behavior, and it's perfectly praiseworthy all on its own.

Agreed. Immersion in the Washington smog may cloud the man's judgement, but compared to recent incumbents, we've still got a mature, conscientious adult in place.

For all I hate about this guy's presidency -- his chummy cave-in to the financial con artists; his "security" fetish that supports surveillance, secrecy, and unending detentions at Guantanamo; his failure to lead on climate change -- he is probably the most sympathetic president I'll get to see in my lifetime. It makes a difference that he recognizes the reality that, if he had a son, that son could be Trayvon Martin. It makes a difference that he sees in his own life experience reinforcement for the country's better aspirational values, even though he cannot afford politically to focus on how narrowly that same progress is shared. He has personal reason to believe in this country as something more than a milk cow to be sucked dry by the slickest hucksters.

It will be interesting to see what he does after his term. He'll only by 55. It looks as if his hair will be completely gray. The last couple of Democratic presidents have probably been more socially useful after their terms than they were when in office.

Meanwhile, three more years of struggle and abuse from all sides to look forward to. And then we'll have to break in the next one.


Rain Trueax said...

His security fetish is somewhat caused by the extreme hate he regularly faces from the right and who would blame him personally for any future attacks. He's not like Bush with no conscience. I have had a hard time with his appointments to economic positions but some of the failure of the economy to move ahead equally has been set in place by those before him who are determined to keep it that way. Also the apathy of many Americans who don't donate or work for candidates who could help make a change. There's always been some hatred of government and politics in the American persona and it's only grown until it's pathological today.

It's a shame that the UN hasn't been able to be more effective because the world, for all its frequent hate of Americans, does expect us to fix things. Americans are having trouble fixing anything at home and except for the military/industrial complex that just keeps gaining power, there is no will to keep being the world's policeman with the reward being more dollars gone and half the world (or more) mad at us for what we did or didn't do. The goal of the UN was to be a place problems could be resolved internationally and instead it's political too which makes sense since it's human run.

Hattie said...

I try to look at the actions, not the words. Only history will show the reality of what is going on now.
Did you watch Maddow's show last night? It was amazing.

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