Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama



Feeling down about the elections?  Me, too.  I don’t understand the “enthusiasm gap”.  I don’t understand the lack of urgency.  As much as the those holding their tea parties are afraid of where the Obama administration is leading the country, I am afraid of where it will go without him.  Really, doesn’t it keep you awake at night to think about Republicans taking back congress?  Not only was their entire platform the last two years simply “No”, they now vow to undo everything that they said “no” to!

I found the Rolling Stone article The Case For Obama to be a nice salve – and also offers a nice run down of everything those of us left of center should be proud of – and should be fighting to keep.

Buck up!  Vote!

Here is a link:

Here is a pdf: The Case for Obama – Rolling Stone

And here is a excerpt:

Less than halfway through his first term, Obama has compiled a remarkable track record. As president, he has rewritten America’s social contract to make health care accessible for all citizens. He has brought 100,000 troops home from war and forged a once-unthinkable consensus around the endgame for the Bush administration’s $3 trillion blunder in Iraq. He has secured sweeping financial reforms that elevate the rights of consumers over Wall Street bankers and give regulators powerful new tools to prevent another collapse. And most important of all, he has achieved all of this while moving boldly to ward off another Great Depression and put the country back on a halting path to recovery.

Along the way, Obama delivered record tax cuts to the middle class and slashed nearly $200 billion in corporate welfare — reinvesting that money to make college more accessible and Medicare more solvent. He single-handedly prevented the collapse of the Big Three automakers — saving more than 1 million jobs — and brought Big Tobacco, at last, under the yoke of federal regulation. Even in the face of congressional intransigence on climate change, he has fought to constrain carbon pollution by executive fiat and to invest $200 billion in clean energy — an initiative bigger than John F. Kennedy’s moonshot and one that’s on track to double America’s capacity to generate renewable energy by the end of Obama’s first term.

On the social front, he has improved pay parity for women and hate-crime protections for gays and lesbians. He has brought a measure of sanity to the drug war, reducing the sentencing disparity for crack cocaine while granting states wide latitude to experiment with marijuana laws. And he has installed two young, female justices on the Supreme Court, creating what Brinkley calls “an Obama imprint on the court for generations.”

What’s even more impressive about Obama’s accomplishments, historians say, is the fractious political coalition he had to marshal to victory. “He didn’t have the majority that LBJ had,” says Goodwin. Indeed, Johnson could count on 68 Democratic senators to pass Medicare, Medicaid and the Voting Rights Act. For his part, Franklin Roosevelt had the backing of 69 Senate Democrats when he passed Social Security in 1935. At its zenith, Obama’s governing coalition in the Senate comprised 57 Democrats, a socialist, a Republican turncoat — and Joe Lieberman.

In his quest for progress, Obama has also had to maneuver against an unrelenting head wind from the “Party of No” and its billionaire backers. “Obama is harassed as well as opposed,” says Princeton historian Sean Wilentz. “The crazy Republican right is now unfettered. You’ve got a Senate with no adult leadership. And Obama’s up against Rupert Murdoch, Dick Armey, the Koch brothers and the rest of the professional right.” Compared to the opposition faced by the most transformative Democratic presidents, adds Wilentz, “it’s a wholly different scale.”

Despite such obstacles, Obama has succeeded in forging a progressive legacy that, anchored by health care reform, puts him “into the same conversation with FDR and LBJ,” says Brinkley, “though those two accomplished more.” Goodwin, herself a former Johnson aide, likens the thrust of Obama’s social agenda to LBJ’s historic package of measures known as the Great Society. “What is comparable,” she says, “is the idea of using government to expand social and economic justice. That’s what the health care bill is about. That’s what Obama tried to do with the financial reforms. That’s what he’s doing with education. The Great Society was about using the collective energies of the nation to make life better for more people — and that’s what Obama has tried to do.”


Give peace a chance

No one will just come right out and say it, but everyone knows it. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because he is not George W. Bush. People will say he has not accomplished anything, just like the SNL check-list bit. True enough, a lot of things he has started have not been completed. You have the others out there – the birthers, the Glen Beck watchers and those that think he is the anti-christ – who will be seething about this honor. But nothing is going to change those people’s opinion of him short of the second coming.

Then you have the rest of us. Things have changed over the last nine months. Heads of state are actually talking to each other. There has been cooperation and coordination in dealing with the financial crisis. We are actually getting along with France instead of having “Freedom Fries” for lunch. We’re talking to Russia about reducing nuclear weapon stocks. We are engaging in dialog with Iran. Obama is not making slightly veiled threats to Iran in speeches – he is talking to them. He is not calling people out as part of an axis of evil. As far as I know, I don’t think he has used the word evil. He hasn’t used the word “crusade” as Bush did. He hasn’t used verbal riffs that apparently were sampled from a church hymnal like Bush did on numerous occasions. Maybe that doesn’t seem like much to you, but changing the global Zeitgeist to one where optimism is possible is kind of a big deal.

The last guy broke the world, so by comparison the new guy looks amazing.

This will set the bar high for Obama and many will point out every step of the way that he has failed to live up to it. They feel that way now and they will fight to be sure that nothing gets done off that check list. There are others though, both here and abroad, that will see this as added cache and perhaps be motivated just a little bit more.


Across barriers

Last night’s 60 Minutes interview with Michelle and Barack Obama was heartwarming.  There was no news to it.  There was no policy discussed.  It was simply a chance to meet them again.  For all those who are scared at what a Obama presidency might hold, it gave them a chance to see that they are just normal people.  They worry over their daughters and value time together as a family.  They banter and joke.  Talking about his “very modest” apartment in DC and the car he drove when they were dating got the message across that they are not from some privileged class.  Nice.  Barack lobbying for a college football playoff system?  That’s very nice.  Made me smile because I thought that that may be the only thing my brother would agree with him on.  I’ll have to ask him about that – just not at Thanksgiving.

My mother has warned me not to bring up politics over the holiday.  My two uncles are diametrically opposed on all issues.  One is mild-mannered and one is anything but.  I have been warned not to get anything started.  I won’t no matter how much I want to.  Oh it would just be so much fun! 

Instead, I had the fortune of having dinner with my anything but mild-mannered uncle and my aunt last night.  My uncle is stubborn and can be caustic, is socially conservative personally and keeps his personal purse strings tied shut –  and is as dyed in the wool Democrat as you can possible be.  He is also 80.  I really was curious about what he thought.  My mother was with me and she is one that believes in never discussing politics, so I didn’t bring it up.  Halfway through dinner, however, my uncle looked at me with a sideways glance and asked if my man had won.  I smiled and said he did.  He extended his arm across the table, fist first and gave me a fist jab.  That was priceless.


Late Night with Barack

Just finished watching Obama on The Late Show with David Letterman.  At first, I thought it was going to all be about Sarah Palin.  Thought he handled the questions well and gave them about as much weight as they deserved.  He explained the pig/lipstick remark – saying it was about policy.  Then both Barack and Dave pointed out that for there to be the response to the remark that they all had to gather and have a meeting on that.  Funny.  Good.


Dave did ask some serious questions – what Obama would have done if he had been president on 9/11 knowing what we know now, how to help Africa, Haiti.  He did well on the show.  This might not be his forte, but he seemed to be having a good time.  He definitely seemed more at ease than, say, at Saddleback Church.  In fact, he seemed a little goofy at times.  That’s not a bad thing.  He’s a likeable guy. 


LeBron James is on now.  Are they going to play a little one on one?