Monday, February 15, 2010


A criticism of Obama is that he simply hasn't stepped up to the plate; that he is too cerebral; that he is a lover not a fighter.  The main concern is usually that he hasn't been enough of a leader on health care, and thus largely responsible for its current purgatory.  I think other issues would be pulled in to buttress the overriding lament.  DADT, until recently was infuriating some, escalation in Afghanistan bothered others, Guantanamo continues to be thorn in the side.

The coherent vision is of an Obama administration that is afraid of getting out in front of anything.  Yet the reality seems far from it.  Of course, if HCR were passed, Obama would be hailed as brilliant, regardless of whether it was politically feasible.  What people seem to return to over and over, is a sense of frustration that Obama hasn't just waved his magic wand and produced the "change" they apparently "believed in".  But do they really think the president has that much power?

I've never understood the idea of "cheerleader-in-chief".  I'm suspicious that what people are really saying when they complain that Obama isn't being "tough enough" is that they are angry that what they want isn't happening, but because accepting that the causes are complex (voter ignorance, ideology, lobbying, punditry, electoral politics, etc.) just isn't very emotionally satisfying, they take the intellectually lazy approach of finger pointing. 

I could very well be wrong.  Maybe there are some really good points to be made as to what exactly Obama could have done to get the needed representative & senate votes.  But I haven't heard any.  Incoherent fear and anger in politics is nothing new - what would the Tea Party movement be without it?  But it seems like the immature child to democracy's wise parent.  There are real problems, but pretending they have easy solutions seems nothing but a distraction.

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