Monday, June 08, 2009

I Love Obama!

As the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem goes, "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." Well, it's almost five months since Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, the trees and flowers are blooming, and this young man is indeed smitten (in that utterly heterosexual way). Yes, after eight miserable, depressing, regressive, oppressive years under President George W. Bush, and as the 1955 William Holden hit film gushed, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing."

Full disclosure, I am a recent convert. I am not an Obamaton, nor am I an original member of the Obama Nation, whose members the right wing attack machine vilify as a bunch of kool-aid drunken hero-worshippers who blindly follow their "Messiah." I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. Readers of this blog know that I actually had several major reservations about the relatively young unknown politician who sought the most powerful job in the world.

I worried if the great orator with the big, electrifying stadium speeches could actually connect with the little guy in a small coffee shop in Tulsa given his cool, aloof demeanor. I worried that he was too cerebral and not enough of a fighter, and feared that he could not beat the dirty-playing GOP the way I believed the Clintons would. I worried that America, which had come so far since the civil rights movement began, might not be ready yet for a black president. I worried that the "Hope and Change" candidate didn't have the chops to make it to the finish line. But I was wrong. Since he took office, I get it. I understand now what I didn't then. That this man is a transcendent leader. Someone who comes around like the political equivalent of Haley's Comet.

Unlike his predecessor, who inherited a strong economy and a nation at peace, Obama stepped into the fire with two wars, the fight against terrorism and the worst economy since The Great Depression, in which he's had the banking, housing and auto industry crises dumped in his lap. To his credit, he's implemented policies which have unlocked the credit markets, stabilized Wall Street and resulted in a huge upswing in consumer confidence.

We've also seen Obama tackle tough wedge issues--race, abortion, U.S./Muslim relations--head on with brilliance, passion, sincerity and unparalleled oratory skills. Issues that most other politicians either avoided or exploited. No one before him has simply rolled up his sleeves and said, "Hold on a second, people. What are we fighting over? This is crazy. Why can't we address these issues, our differences, like mature adults striving for a common ground, and do so with mutual respect, humility and tolerance?" The right can mock it as a typical liberal "Kumbayah" moment all they want, but isn't this how real change begins? By opening up a dialogue and bridging social gaps?

How refreshing to have a president who's wickedly smart. Whose intelligence, curiosity and diplomacy--not narrow mindedness, arrogance and disengagement--drives his thought process and decision-making. A leader who thinks before he speaks. Who absorbs information. Obsesses over details. Understands the facts. A president who keeps his emotions in check and exercises incredible judgement and self-control. Someone at the controls who's not impulsive, petulant, smug, cocky. It's nice to have a fucking grown-up in the White House for a change.

To be sure, in the first five months of his nascent presidency, Obama has shown incredible tenacity, resolve, vision and statesmanship. He's truly the right guy for these troubled times, and I suspect the history books will judge him accordingly many years from now. Let's just say he's won me over.

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Anonymous said...

I totally agree, but if you listen to Thom Hartmann you will see how the right wing is setting him up for failure.

Anonymous said...

Obama has completely failed on the important things. No torture prosecutions, telecom immunity, state-secret privileges not only maintained but enhanced, etc. Health care is the only area where the Obama administration differs noticeably from its predecessor, and even there he has failed by ruling out single payor.

Unknown said...

Interesting how the pro-Western party won in Lebanaon a week after the Obama speech (the polls favored Hezbollah) that the right wing media, Krauthammer, Limbaugh, Christopher Clawell etc mocked as being "soft."

Obama's shock and awe has worked... nation building indeed.

howie said...

Good post, Andy, but your man crush quote was actually "Love is a many splendored thing".

kjgp25171 said...

Hey anonymous, do you think you can give the man some time to do EVERYTHING?

Anonymous said...

Hey kjqp25171: My comments were specifically limited to Obama's active failures. There are lots of things he hasn't had time to address yet, and I do not criticize those. The criticisms are for the things he has either already done wrong or unequivocally stated that he will not do (e.g. torture prosecutions).

Anonymous said...

I'm still in love with him, still have his pictue on my wall, although I see anonymous' point. I think he's holding off until Franken gets seated and the Dems have a filibuster-proof majority. He may wait until after the 2010 elections before doing the more "radical" things, after the Dems have like 70+ in the Senate and 3/4 in the House. Then he can REALLY get some stuff done!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:06: I really hope that was a deliberate parody of an Obamabot. If Obama and the Democrats in Congress keep on the way they are going, people will start drifting back to the Republicans. On the other hand, if they do the "radical" things now, that increases the chance of gaining seats in 2010.

Realist said...

I agree that Obama is a mighty orator, but so far I am left wanting by his actions. As others have presented above, there is much that Obama should be doing that remains undone.

Unemployment isn't going away any time soon. 600,000 jobs would barely take care of the UAW and the ancillary automotive jobs about to be cut from the Big Three. Millions of others sweat out the end of their unemployment.

Millions of homeowners (and I personally know one in this condition) are vainly awaiting economic relief from their lenders, newly flush with tax-dollar based IOUs. Repeated requests for refinancing are rebuffed because "you aren't in trouble yet." Is there some benefit for the banks to allow a homeowner to get in trouble before acting?

Hillary's sword-rattling aimed at Iran, and Obama's "allowing" Gitmo defendants subject to the death penalty to waive their rights at trials conducted by their military jailers and speed up the execution process, are going to speak louder in the Muslim countries than has Obama's Cairo speech. Muslims aren't as conditioned as Americans are to blindly accept the presented advertising as fact.

Then there is "preventive detention" - how long before this applies to anyone, US citizen or not? Did the Patriot Act not do enough damage to the Constitution that Obama has to add his footprints onto the trampled "quaint piece of paper"? Once the precedent genie is released from the bottle, it doesn't ever get returned there, and Sotomayor isn't going to rule any differently than Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia.

I honestly wish that Obama ACTED as the leader he TALKS. I had higher hopes that he would have. But as time passes, he demonstrates that he is less Lincoln or FDR and more Harry Truman - manipulated by entrenched interests to act for their benefit at the expense of the nation.

Obama is losing support from those who trusted him, and is helping to rebuild the GOP by not negating Limbaugh's tireless rants with actions that benefit Main Street over Wall Street. He only has about one year left before the GOP retakes the Congress - and don't doubt that it could happen. We'll see how you feel about him then.

Anonymous said...

Andy, we can discuss your love for Obama after he finishes destroying the economy. With unemployment now going beyond his own numbers predicting unemployment if the stimulus was not passed, it is now clear that his policies have made the existing recession much worse. He now owns a portion of this disaster.

Oil prices are also rising thanks to his attack on US exploration his first days in office. If gas prices are this bad when the economy is this bad, they will be disastrous if the economy improves even a little bit.

Last but not least, his heavy handedness in the Auto bailout has leap-frogged socialism to clear fascism.

I guess if the destruction of the economy and capitalism in the US is your goal, I can understand how one might love Obama. Otherwise, I would expect some serious buyers remorse kicking in about this time.

The Ostroy Report said...

Funny how those on the right expect Obama to achieve all his and our goals in just 5 months. The guys was handed two wars and the worst economy in 75 years. Did you really expect it all to be solved in 5 months? You can toss around all the Republican rhetoric that you want, but the facts are the facts. And the facts are: the banking/credit crisis has been stabilized; the housing market is on the mend and construction spending is up; monthly job losses have been cut in half; consumer confidence has risen appreciably; the stock markets on on a 3-month rally. Sounds to me like some solid economic progress since O's taken office.

As for the Israel conerns, give that time too. There is abslutely nothing in the past 5 months to demonstrate that Obama is not a staunch ally of Israel.

pinroot said...

Andy, it's not just the right that is criticizing obama. Read the above comments; lots of them come from people who supported him and are now disappointed or disillusioned. And their criticisms are valid. He was going to cut the deficit in half; instead, he's nearly quadrupled it. He was initially against the war in Iraq; now who knows if or when it will end. The war in Afghanistan has ramped up, which is a total waste of time and money and lives. He's been back and forth on torture, finally deciding not to release details because it would be bad for the troops. No one who makes under $250K was going to see a single one of their taxes go up... unless you smoke or drink (the alcohol tax isn't in place yet, but eventually will be) along with attempting to tax health benefits employees get from their employers, and then there's the VAT which will probably supplement the income tax, not replace it as we are being led to believe.

Do yourself a favor, give up your man-love for Obama, quit drinking the kool-aid, and start facing reality.