Friday, August 21, 2009

Obama Apologist Speaks Up - Sort Of

It’s getting rough out there for Obama apologists.

Even we have a critique of what the prez is doing wrong.

So to demonstrate the value of restraint, I’ll just offer some thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head.

First, no matter how politically courageous, principled, clever and bull-headed our new president had been, he still would have come up against the nearly impossible task of imposing center/left solutions on a center/right country.

Americans from various classes are evidently quite willing to put up with considerable risk in return for the opportunity to direct their own circumstances, as they see them, for better or for worse. Isn’t it possible that a lot of Americans are willing to roll the dice on their own health care rather than invest collectively in a federal solution?

Second, if you turn off the mediablog for a minute, you’ll find enormous good will among moderate to liberal-minded Americans who want this president to succeed and will stay with him, even if health reform is highly-compromised. These voters basically like Obama but have some ambivalence themselves about an overly robust problem-solving government.

Third, having worked with unions and on the left for a long time, I can’t shake the sense that we’re at it again; feeling let down, even betrayed and acting out the latest version of “if only….”

… if only our leaders stood for what they believe and stood up to their opponents. If only they didn’t chicken out and sell out. If only they did it our way.

Fourth, consider the possibility that, in modern America, the minute by minute scrutiny of politics and governance exposes the manipulation, errors and weaknesses of everyone engaged, including - and above all - the president.

Barack Obama is thoughtful, capable, disciplined, earnest and only human. He’s under unimaginable pressure. It’s very early in his presidency. He has time to adjust to changing circumstances, including better anticipating republican antics.

Fifth and finally, to my talented and insightful friends, the “thought-leaders” on the left: Please consider the possibility that premature talk about Obama’s crisis or a failed presidency is exactly what the republicans want us – and everyone else – to be talking about.

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