Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Disappointed and disaffected Democrats believe that the President of the United States should be a cross between the fairy godmother of Cinderella, and Bruce Willis from the Die Hard pictures.
Mr. Obama is, apparently, not tough enough on renegade Democrats like Senator Nelson, or on petulant turncoats like Indy Senator Joe Lieberman.
Left with a big mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama listening to his generals and weighing out all of the political and military implications of our past policies on our future plans apparently offends extreme liberals and a few right-wingers who want us out of both countries now with no regard for either the situation on the ground or the realities of our historic engagements.
We aren’t getting out of Guantanamo to the liking of Liberals.
Even though we might get to insure another thirty-one million Americans, and end some of the draconian policies of the private insurers that have driven hundreds of thousands of people into bankruptcy, and have kept millions stuck in crappy jobs or crappy health care plans to keep their family’s medical benefits, if we don’t get the whole enchilada, guys like Dr. Dean say we should scrap the whole thing and start over again.
When it comes to change, the Left cries: “Too little!” The Right cries: “Too much!” The political punditry opportunistically cries anything that will get them ratings and attention.
There is no magic wand of sweeping change. America has a political system with built-in incrementalism. Other than during a period of war, terrorist attack, or potential chaos, we seldom agree on much of anything.
Anyone who thought that Barack Obama was going to ride into Washington in his pumpkin coach and effect complete change before midnight of the first year was kidding themselves.
Mr. Obama understands incrementalism, our history, and our nature well. He has put tectonic balls forward in major areas of the economy. People can complain about a very high jobless rate, but had a McCain government said “Let them eat cake,” to the auto industry, our unemployment rate might be a good 10 million or more higher.
The Administration has made the right moves. Not all of them will yield magical results, or be met with no opposition. Mr. Obama may have been swept into office by the little guy writing checks for $10 to $100, but he has watched your support for being an active part of the day-to-day change, your support against the Insurance lobbies and the huge defense establishment, wane to the point that he is out there, a bit like Bruce Willis, on his own against the bad guys.
The difference is that there is no Hollywood ass-kicking that you can do in Washington that does not have a Newtonian equal and opposite reaction. Likewise, in a town that operates on co-opting powerful figures with money as much as it does convincing them with reason, you will not find enough money or power behind insuring the uninsured, or cutting back the fat perqs of corporate America.
For Obama to even put these items on the national agenda is revolutionary. We would not be having health care reform this year under a McCain administration, nor could a Clinton (2) administration gain much traction on the subject after the debacle of the 1990s.
Barack Obama has an audacious agenda. Sometimes the road to beginning some of those initiatives is not going to be the five lane highway.
If we can insure 31 million Americans, and keep the health care system from screwing over sick people rather than paying their claims, that is still moving the ball forward in a big way, with no apologies to Dr. Dean.
If we can get a Justice Department that actually prosecutes more white collar crimes, and looks at antitrust seriously, the ball rolls.
Is everything perfect? Hell no! Is there any time though that everything in this country really runs perfectly? Hell no!
Mr. Obama is not rushed. He is deliberative. He weighs the political and social forces, as well as the pragmatic mechanical issues of dealing with his military, and the specialists and experts in any particular sector of the economy, and then renders a decision.
It beats Mr. Clinton’s fly-by-poll system, popular with the press, and W.’s stick my head in the sand and hope it goes away, approaches.
While there is no bippity boppity in Barack’s magic wand, there is a lot of hard work and talking up the right big ideas until change STARTS to happen. It needs, as he has said, you, the general public, to take up the causes because the special interests speak well and loudly via their lobbyist mouthpieces. When you speak, that is the one bit of magic that they cannot control.
That’s what the big lobbying groups fear most.
That’s enough magic for me.