February 3, 2010
With all of the talk of the dreadful lack of results from Obama’s first year as President, I was both heartened and disheartened by recent news reports.
I was disheartened by a piece in the New York Times by Charles Blow naming the widespread and pretty basic political illiteracy in this country. Less than a third of us know that no republican senators voted in favor of the health bill that eventually came to the floor of the senate. Blow says that people don’t care about the process as much as the results. It is certainly hard for me to understand how the democrats, with a supermajority in the senate were unable to sort through the admittedly complex interests that have to be balance in any reform of any system while at the same time taking on the fog created by republican opposition to any reform.
I was heartened by Obama sharing the lowest approval rating of any President since records were kept in the Eisenhower days. He enjoys approval rtes lower than Nixon and Carter after one year. He shares this low number with the Gipper who also inherited a mess and could not get things turned around in a year. According to a recent Newsweek they both come in with about 57% approval at the end of their first year.
There is certainly a lot of handwringing and punditry going on. Timid democrats and obstructionist republicans need to hear that their stance is not working for the country and won’t work for them either. Leaders in congress need to get serious about helping move forward the agenda for which the President was elected. He might have to stop being so reasonable and incorporating republican ideas. He doesn’t get credit when he does. He gets slammed by his friends for being ‘ineffective’. The spin game is keeping us from moving forward even as the economy is showing the faintest signs of survival. I know we need healthcare reform and that paying for insuring more people is a burden that must be shared fairly. (Isn’t it great that corporations are people too?). I don’t’ know about regulating banks, but I do know that de regulation was the change that made the current mess possible (while making some people extremely rich). I am glad that we are getting out of Iraq and have every expectation that we will fail to make real and permanent friends in Afghanistan while we continue to hammer at Al Qaida and the rest. I generally approve of drones in that fight and soldiers living with the people they are serving and protecting. I’m simply not a person of faith when it comes to military action in that part of the world. I can be persuaded that it is the lesser of two evils but I cannot get excited about war as a good thing.
Up to now I have not really come across populist rage in person. Now I seem to be experiencing it in my own person.