Monday, August 22, 2011

Second Thoughts about Obama

I, like many people of my age, was caught up by Obamania three years ago. But lately, I have seen enough. My opinion has turned decidedly negative, and I know I'm not the only one.

As a progressive, I have read Obama's books and listened to his speeches, and know that deep down, he is intelligent and true to his beliefs. But if only that were enough to be an effective leader! Now it seems to me that he's better suited to be a college professor, inspiring young men and women to change the world, than to be the leader of the most powerful country on earth and lead the change himself.

We have made enough excuses on his behalf already. Yes, he inherited the worst economic recession in two generations and two unpopular wars on the far side of the world. Yes, the republicans hate him, for his ideas, for his care, for his name, and for his birth certificate. Yes, there are disasters economic, natural, and man-made around every corner. I don't blame him for the things he can't control, but he must take responsibility for the things that he can control and failed to do so.

Obama's high minded ideals are no match for the mud wrestling nature of realpolitik. I while applaud his initial efforts at bipartisanship, it is obviously not going to fly. The Republicans has not, is not, and will never, play ball with him. But Obama's refusal to swing the shovel is damaging not only the standing of the administration, but also the entire progressive agenda. I don't blame the Republicans for acting like IQ-challenged douche bags; they have been consistently that way for years. They spew the same vitriol and espouse the same inane policies as they always have. But instead of forcing the Republicans into a corner and effectively ending them as a viable political force, Obama's conciliatory approach has only lengthened the pain period for everyone.

I do believe that the Republican's shelf life is limited. Lincoln (ironically, a Republican) famously said that "you can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, but never all the people all the time." Eventually America will realize that living standards have not increased in more than a decade, unemployment will never fall below 7% again, and science doesn't care if you believe in it or not. A party that is against change is against the universe. A party for the top 5% will be surrounded by 95% enemies. The demise of the Republican party will not mean the demise of dissent and differing opinions. It just means the demise of stupid opinions.

If Clausewitz is to be believed, that "war is an extension of politics", then we must also conclude that politics is a lot like war. And this war is best fought if the enemy is defeated quickly. This way, we can stop slugging at each other and contemplating hari-kiri with our debt ceiling, and get back to solving problems that matter. Unfortunately, Obama has shown time and again that he is unwilling or unable to do the dirty deeds. In war, this means killing. In politics, it means using leverage until it hurts. Yes, he may gain a few more enemies by doing that, but considering he has plenty already, it shouldn't matter at all. On the other hand, he will inspire and motivate millions to fight on his side.

Unfortunately, I don't believe Obama is the man for the job. If Hilary had won the primary instead, we may have a chance. She seems to have the political experience and the balls for this kind of task.

Come election day, unless Huntsman gets nominated via Devine intervention, I think I'm just going to sit this one out.

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